IE8 is here.

Windows Internet Explorer 8 is here. This is the first launch of IE that I’ve been excited about in a long time. Why? With full support for CSS 2.1, it’s now a standards-compliant browser. (It also supports CSS 3.0 in a limited capacity.) Sure, it’s now one more browser to account for, but if your site works properly in newer versions Firefox, Safari, Chrome, Opera, etc… chances are it will work in IE8. If you’re unsure of how to fix any issues your site might have in Internet Explorer 8, but it works fine in previous versions, forcing legacy rendering is as easy as adding a meta tag:

[html]

[/html]

OR, on a per-site basis, add the HTTP header: X-UA-Compatible: IE=EmulateIE7

For more information, please see: Standards by Default: What Does it Mean?

More thoughts on the changes in IE8

UPDATE: IE8 Beta 1 is now available for download. I’d recommend installing Virtual PC and then grabbing the latest Internet Explorer Application Compatibility VPC Image (Virtual Hard Disk Image for testing websites on IE on Windows XP SP2). That way you can conduct browser testing in a more controlled environment, as opposed to eradicating your local install of IE6 or IE7…

Some people will say Microsoft caved; others, that they listened to public opinion; some may even buy the company’s own explanation, which is that, given a company-wide reorientation away from proprietary winner-take-all competitiveness and toward interoperability, “web standards by default” takes precedence over “supporting all those badly made websites that were created specifically to work in IE.” Jeffrey Zeldman

Did Microsoft cave, or did it see the light? It’s hard to imagine a company as large as Microsoft “getting it” all of a sudden, but stranger things have happened. Zeldman’s post gathers many of the arguments for and against IE8’s proposed version targeting. It’s definitely worth a read. I for one am glad that Microsoft has chosen to go the more difficult route and support standards first.