March 19th 2009, Microsoft released IE8 to the general public and made it available for Windows updates. The good news with this version of IE is it includes improved standards support. However for many of you who’s websites were designed with frontpage, word, or powerpoint, you may find that your website no longer displays correctly. Some websites will be viewable by using the compatibility mode, but even that will not solve all the problems.
Microsoft has acknowledged for some time now that IE has not been standards compliant. Most sites have gotten around this by either coding their sites for IE or designing an IE specific website that is displayed when they visit. Now Microsoft’s position has changed, and for those sites that do not display properly it seems the answer is to change your source code. There are some recommendations for changing your code that makes IE8 use it’s IE7 compatibility mode, which I’ll get to in a second, but again and again the recommendations are that if your site is not displaying properly, the problem lies with your code, not the browser.
To IE 8 Users
Now if you are simply browsing the internet and see that some pages you used to visit are now broken, then you have options. Specifically the options are to use another browser such as Firefox, Chrome, or Safari. You could also try emailing the webmaster of the website you are having trouble with to see if they have any recommendations, but most likely they are going to tell you that they are working on the issue and to just keep checking back.
We have also seen an anomaly between different sub versions of IE8, where compatibility issues seemed to be less of an impact, but have been unable to track down the specific update / installer to duplicate our results. If we are able to find any additional information on this we will post that here with links and instructions.
To Website Owners
If you happen to be one of the unfortunate ones who own / operate a web site that is not compatible with IE8, again your option is really to change your code. However, one of the quick fixes circulating is a meta tag compatibility fix that supposedly forces the browser to act as IE7 did. Again you have to edit your source code to apply this.
HOWEVER We have tested this code on a couple of different sites, but have not had ANY luck getting it to fix the problems we were seeing.
Ultimately the best solution for those of you who own websites that are having problems with IE8 is to rewrite your code so that it is also standards compliant. If you would like to read more on the standards IE is now compliant with you can check out this site.
If you need help reworking your website so that it works properly in IE8 then we can help you. Go HERE and enter the code IE8EVAL to have us evaluate your website for free and determine what it will take to get your site back up and running for all browsers.