Web Standards has won

It’s over. The struggle of convincing anybody that web standards is more than ideological piety is behind us. Microsoft, the last obstacle to industry wide compliance, has changed their stance on what might seem to some to be a minor reversal in how they will cope with browser specific web pages. In actuality it’s one of the most profound statements I’ve seen from Microsoft in a long while.

“We’ve decided that IE8 will, by default, interpret web content in the most standards compliant way it can.”

If this isn’t a slam-dunk for the web standards community then I don’t know what is. I personally was happy to see version targeting; it will be able to give us more control on botched web sites by freezing them in a particular browser version. Luckily, it also looks like this maintenance solution will be still available. Don’t kid yourself, crappy front-ended web sites will never ever go away and with each browser iteration there will be maintenance issues. Maintainability is still a very poorly understood and expensive issue, even within the web standards community.

I still believe that version targeting is a great solution, except for defaulting to IE7. Their other option was obviously to drop version targeting all together. It was one or the other because I never thought that Microsoft would default to web standards, ever.

Ray Ozzie even stated;

“After weighing these very legitimate concerns, we have decided to give top priority to support for these new Web standards.”

In for a penny, in for a pound.

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