Microsoft is planning to incorporate a new, opt-in "super standards" mode into Internet Explorer 8:
IE Platform Architect Chris Wilson shared the details of how Microsoft plans to provide the greater standards compatibility, which it has promised for its next browser release via a January 21 posting to the IE Team Blog.
Wilson said Microsoft is planning to offer developers three modes in IE 8: the existing quirks mode, which will be compatible with current IE pages and applications; a “standards” mode, which will be the same as what’s offered by IE 7 and “compatible with current content”; and a third, super standards mode that will require the insertion of a element to guarantee the highest level of standards compatibility.
“We believe this approach has the best blend of allowing web developers to easily write code to interoperable web standards while not causing compatibility problems with current content. We also think this approach allows developers to opt in to standards behavior on their own schedule and as it makes sense to them, instead of forcing developers into a responsive mode when a new version of IE has different behavior on their current pages.”
A number of commenters on the site took issue with the way Microsoft is planning to make IE 8 more standards-compliant. Many said they believed Microsoft should turn the super standards mode on by default (not make it an opt-in choice), as standards compatibility is more important than backward compatibility. Several posters said they believed Microsoft should abolish quirks mode with the IE 8 release.