Sign of the Apocolypse: IE8 Passes Acid2!

closePlease note: This post was published over a year ago, so please be aware that its content may not be quite so accurate anymore. Also, the format of the site has changed since it was published, so please excuse any formatting issues.

Web developers around the world are raising their voices in cheer today because of the IEBlog’s grand announcement: Internet Explorer 8 passes the Acid2 Test.

Readers of this blog who are not web designers are probably wondering what all the fuss is about. Simply put, Acid2 tests how browsers work with some specific features across several different web standards. Go ahead and put your own browser to the test; chances are, it won’t pass (here’s how it’s supposed to look).

Pretty much every web designer in the world has made fun of Internet Explorer 6 over the years, but when Microsoft put IE7 together, they genuinely listened to what we (web designers) had to say. IE7 fixed a lot of the problems caused by IE6, and although it caused a whole new set of headaches, it’s rare to build a page that works in Firefox, but not IE7.

It’s important not to get too worked up over this – the Acid2 is only one test and there are other technologies that the Explorer team will have to stay up to date on. I’m just glad that they’re developing IE again. Now if only we could get rid of IE6 altogether…

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  1. I’m a little bit skeptical about IE8 passing the Acid2 test, because the Acid2 test itself seems to have suddenly changed almost the same exact time IE8 has been reported to have passed it.

    Previously, WebKit (Safari 3), KHTML, and Opera were all confirmed by the makers of the Acid2 test to have passed it, and rumors were Firefox 3 also passed the test.

    However, sometime within the last few days, all of the above browsers/engines now fail the Acid2 test, which means something with the test has changed.

    The question now is… what changed, and why?

  2. Oh, and just as a correction to your post… it’s incredibly easy to build a page that will render correctly in Firefox, but not in IE7. There are still numerous numerous hacks to get things to work in IE7, many of which are completely different than the hacks to make it work with IE6.

    Tons of popular CSS2.1 and basically all of CSS3 is a good example of this, as is a lot of Javascript DOM issues (which are becoming very common now as web pages become more dynamic).

    If you want to see a pretty horrendous example of how badly IE7 can render a page compared to Safari/Firefox/Opera, simply look at my web site (its in Chinese, but you can still see the layout, menus, etc). The main page might not even load at all in IE7 right now, because I have a flash element embedded into a WordPress post using swfobject (to make it standards compliant). The layout is also horribly borked, although at least the drop menu works in IE7 (it fails badly in IE6). If you go to the pictures (照片) link and click on an album, you’ll see how IE7 also fails to update CSS borders on click and mouseover actions.

  3. Sure, it’s easy to intentionally build a page that works in FF and not IE – especially if you’re using things like CSS3, which isn’t even a full recommendation yet.

    And by “works in Firefox, but not IE7,” I didn’t mean that IE7 would render the page identical to FF, just that it would be similar and not completely wonky.

    That the IE6 hacks screw things up in IE7 is definitely problematic, and that’s one of the things I was referring to when I said that IE7 causes new headaches.

    Surely, though, you can agree that IE7 is leaps and bounds ahead of IE6, and that this news about IE8 is exciting news for web developers (although the Acid2 test having possibly been changed is pretty suspicious).

  4. Tom

    I read here: “As of December 19, 2007, the ACID2 test is broken and does not pass in any compliant browser, see here for bugs: A working version of the test can be found here:

  5. Rob

    IE8 does NOT pass the Acid2 test and Microsoft does not claim it does. It only “renders” the smiley face using a local, doctored copy of the Acid2 page. IE8 cannot and will not pass Acid2 when it is released. More smoke and mirrors from Microsoft.

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