IE7: Piggy in the middle

I wonder how Microsoft will deal with IE7 when IE8 becomes shippable. Will IE7 automatically be upgraded to IE8? Microsoft is putting a lot of effort in IE7 compatibility mode in IE8, so it seems like an obvious thing to do.

I can also imagine that the IE team would like this to happen but will it? Microsoft as a corporation has in the past made the mistake of underestimating the importance of the web. IE8 does seem to be focussing on getting their other products to work together. Visual Studio is still a bit of problem child when it comes to web standards compliance out of the box. No wonder that an intranet will default to IE7 mode in IE8. It’s an admission of sorts that Microsoft’s desktop product divisions are lagging behind in innovation and modernisation compared with it’s online ‘Live’ efforts.

For now IE7 is still very much a reality and IE6 is more like the Bush administration, unpopular and on it’s way out. It’s time to start making IE6 obsolete. Thoughtful work-a-rounds are my exit strategy for the geriatric web browser.

The MOSe technique is becoming less attractive and isn’t really effective with the new crop of standards compliant web browsers. So, realistically, I’m left with the Microsoft’s proprietary conditional comments. In my view it’s also worth considering using JavaScript for adding classes in IE6 that match the CSS sibling selector. jQuery and I are quite chummy these days.

I’ve not yet encountered the need to create a separate conditional comment for IE7. Hopefully that will stay that way. If specific compliance is needed for, lets say, an intranet then something like version targeting in IE8 may work very well. I hope it doesn’t come to that because it will create a strange situation that IE7 ends up being a ghost in the machine when the actual IE7 browser is no longer used. Due to the slow uptake of Vista we will not see any change. As soon as XP is no longer shipped or Window 7 is released IE6 will evaporate very quickly and IE8 will be there waiting. For some IE7 will have never have happened.

So far IE7 hasn’t thrown a spanner in the works in where I’ve needed to implement a work-a-round. It sits between the awfully outdated and the web compliant and capable. In fact, IE7, it’s not a bad web standards browser.

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