Remember the whole crazy Internet Explorer 8 meta http-equiv hub-bub, yesterday? There was one post in all of that mess that was really, really, important.

To sum it up: Internet Explorer 8 will support DOCTYPE switching for new DOCTYPEs (like HTML5).

Steve“: Are there any doctypes that do not require this new meta tag to render with the IE8 rendering engine?

Chris Wilson: @Steve – sure. Any unknown (i.e. not widely deployed) DOCTYPE. HTML5, for example.

This really does change any frustration that someone should have concerning the new meta tag. This means that you can write your web pages in a completely standards-based way (CSS, HTML5, JavaScript) and not have to use a single browser-centric tag in order to do so.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with the HTML5 DOCTYPE, it looks like this:

<!DOCTYPE html>

You’ll note that it’s significantly simpler than most DOCTYPEs that you’ve seen – and that was intentional. A lot has changed in HTML5 in an attempt to make it even easier to develop a standards-based web page, and it should really pay off in the end.

What’s nice about this new DOCTYPE, especially, is that all current browsers (IE, FF, Opera, Safari) will look at it and switch the content into standards mode – even though they don’t implement HTML5. This means that you could start writing your web pages using HTML5 today and have them last for a very, very, long time.

If nothing else, this should be a good excuse to look through the changes in HTML5 and familiarize yourself with what’s in the pipeline for browsers – Internet Explorer included.

I really, really, wish this was made clear yesterday – it would’ve avoided a whole lot of pain and suffering on the part of the Microsoft Task Force of WaSP and of the Internet Explorer team as a whole. I’m really glad that this is happening, though – the future of standards-based web development still looks quite bright.

Posted: January 23rd, 2008

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