Earlier this year, Microsoft controversially indicated that many of the eagerly anticipated features of the Internet Explorer 8 browser were to be disabled unless a webpage was specifically edited to make a request to turn them on.

The idea was that this could allow the large number of websites built to to work with Microsoft's (buggy) browser, but not built to industry best practices (notably corporate intranets), would continue to work by default. However, by manually opting into webstandards, it makes it too easy for websites to be lazily built without adhering to best practices, not to mention complicating web development and Microsoft's browser development and creating lots of debate.

Molly Holzschlag recently announced at the recent Webstock conference (pictured above) that Microsoft were toying with other ways to make it easier to enable IE8 in "true" standards compliance mode (with a meta tag, using an HTTP header, or using the prospective HTML5 doctype), although developer concern prevailed and Microsoft have changed their mind.

The IE8 blog has reported that their change ("interpreting web content in the most standards compliant way possible is a better thing to do") is based on a major recent PR exercise titled "strategic changes in technology and business practices to expand interoperability". It is good to see any major organisation encouraging the general developer community to work towards industry best practices, and we look forward to more of the same, given even Apple could be doing more.

Update: Microsoft have released a beta of IE8.

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