meta http-equiv=X-UA-Compatible: Brilliant!

Volume 11, Issue 16; 26 Jan 2008; last modified 08 Oct 2010

Well played! Spectacular! Five Stars! Home run! Perfect!

Microsoft rolls out a new bit of technology that they can legitimately pitch as a solution to a problem (or problems) that real customers already think they have.

It's a solution that encourages vendor lock-in: if you're generating those special meta tags for IE-bugs-du-jour, why not tell your readers that they should only use the “right browser” for your site? That should help shore up IE's sagging numbers.

It's a pitch-perfect presentation of FUD. Afraid customers won't buy your insert-product-or-service-here if your website doesn't work? (Why yes, of course, we worry about that every day!) Are you unsure about the experience your customers are getting now? (Well, yes, we don't really have the resources to test every possible combination. Who does?) Do you doubt that the existing mechanisms are working, that they'll continue to work in the future as we deploy newer and better browsers? (Gosh, now that you say it, I know there have been problems.)

It potentially raises the bar for competitors because they have to support every conceivable collection of bugs indefinitely!

And, for extra bonus points, they got respectable people in the web standards community to go along.


Technically, maybe it's a bad solution to the wrong problem. But who cares, it's win-win-win in every other respect!

[The author isn't generally prone to wearing a tinfoil hat and ranting conspiracy theories, and he has had a rotten day. We fear he may regret this posting tomorrow. —Ed.]


It is amazing,how one can easly bash somebody else... First it is not lock in to one browser,but rather a info what render is to be used!If the site is accessed by other like FF ,they are free to ignore and render as they wish.Even if this won't be implemented by others it is still usefull as long as bad webmasters are and compability with old unmaintained sites is wanted.And webmasters including texts like "You are using IE,switch to FF like cool people here!" are bad as well(specialy when they put it in javascript,which puts that on top and moves entire content down).

Klimax Danielix

—Posted by Klimax on 27 Jan 2008 @ 01:56 UTC #

Of course it is lock-in... Or you do not know what lock-in means. If IE would obey public standards what is the reason of using special rendering hints?

Think twice before writing...

—Posted by lady.mutant on 28 Jan 2008 @ 09:14 UTC #

Think you missed the point. IE8 breaks compatibility with IE7 and 6 by providing more standards support. The point of X-UA-Compatible is to allow the majority of websites and applications which sniff IE out and render in a special way to run as they currently do without breaking. Then if you happen to want that full-on standards experience, you can just drop a header into your response.

This will work great providing that IE8 doesn't once again have a strange concept of what pass for standards. At least if it does, we can just carry on as normal and never send that header.

—Posted by Matt on 29 Aug 2008 @ 09:58 UTC #

Another version of IE to support means more developer headaches. But this new header is a bit of magic that helps ease the pain. I wrote about it here:

Web Developer Tip: X-UA-Compatibility Header Simplifies Life with IE8

—Posted by F. Andy Seidl on 20 Mar 2009 @ 09:20 UTC #