Force Internet Explorer 8 to render like Internet Explorer 7

IE. The scariest two letters in the alphabet to web designers. IE has long been the bane of my humble existence. Why?

Once (1999 or so) IE (version 6) ruled in the browser market with nearly 95% of worldwide web surfers using it. Because of this, Microsoft didn’t bother upgrading it for almost 9 years. 9 years is FOREVER on the web. 95% market share is ridiculous as well.

Today that number has lowered significantly with the new generation of browsers moving in like Firefox, Chrome, Safari and Opera.  All 4 of these browsers easily trump IE in performance and features.

These 4 browsers (there are others as well) are more advance because the way they work has been deeply affected by the Web Standards Movement. This movement makes recommended rules as to how web pages should be built and how browsers should render them on screen for people.

As Microsoft lost their market share they finally gave in and started working on IE7 which admittedly came a long way in supporting many of today’s standards; still far from perfect though.

Because the browser doesn’t follow as many recommended standards as most other modern browsers I find I have to build things twice. Once for standards-compliant browsers and then again for IE6 and a little for IE7.

IE8 is here and now it’s the one I have the most trouble with. I already hear rumors of IE9 on the wind. Sounds like I’ll be building 5 versions of everything pretty soon.

Well, at least here’s a nice little piece of code that’ll make IE8 act like IE7 so I can test one less version!

<meta http-equiv="X-UA-Compatible" content="IE=EmulateIE7">

Ok, forcing IE8 to act like IE7 isn’t a great solution, but it does buy me time.


About Joseph R. B. Taylor

Joseph R. B. Taylor is a humble designer/developer who makes stuff for screens of all shapes and sizes. He is currently the lead UI/UX Architect at MScience, LLC, where he works to create simple experiences on top of large rich datasets for their customers and clients.