IE8: standards-compliant AND microformat-friendly?
Since listening (intently I might add!) to Ian Jindall a few weeks ago discussing Microformats as one of the important growth areas of the web in the next 18 months, I have really been digging to truly understand their importance and potential benefits.
This post is absolutely NOT about explaining microfomats and the semantic web to you (I’d rather leave that to far wiser people than me!) but I feel with the launch of IE8 Beta, it is something that people now need to consider now much more than ever before.
IE7 has two modes for showing web page: Standard and Quirks.
Quirks mode allows the browser to still show an old or particularly badly-built page. Standards mode is supposed to show pages that the browser detects were built on accepted web standards.
The issue however, is that the standards by which IE7 was measuring how "Standard" a web page was were not the accepted ones – they were THEIR OWN.
As such, people were designing websites for IE7 NOT the accepted industry standards. Opera kicked off a legal case to bring Microsoft to task on the issue (basically, how can developers build websites to standards when the biggest browser on the market is not standards compliant?)
With IE8 now becoming properly standards compliant, this should mean that websites will be websites, will be websites, the world over.
With this basic framework "agreed", developers can shift their focus onto adding semantic value to the site structure and include microformats at the heart of their build. The agreement on standards itself isn’t enough to create this "new hope", but Yahoo’s recent announcement should provide a significant incentive for developers to begin to build this into their site builds.
So…if my crystal ball isn’t too damaged (!), I would guess that within a year of IE8 launching proper (who knows when but let’s say Q1 2009 ?!) that the semantic structuring of content will be well and truly an integral part of ANY site build.