So IE is the first browser out of the gate to do something sane about rendering engine locking to content…and good on them for it.
Now we need to know a couple more details to see if it’s going to have real legs:
- What is the precedence for resolution of conflicting rules? If the compatible rule is provided as an HTTP header and as a meta tag, which wins? If multiple tags occur, is it first or last wins?
- If a rule is provided that ignores IE (assuming other renderers follow suit), and a subsequent meta tag shows up which specifies a rule for IE, will IE handle it correctly?
For instance, if the following occurs in a document:
<meta http-equiv="X-UA-Compatible" content="FF=3" />
<meta http-equiv="X-UA-Compatible" content="IE=8" />
What policy will IE use?
- Will there be any way to specify the box-model behavior on a sub-page basis?
- Will the IE 8 rendering engine now be distributed to users of the IE 7 chrome, invoking itself only when the right meta flags are thrown? And what is Microsoft’s policy toward distributing renderers now that they have logically cut the chrome/renderer chord?
- Where will you be standardizing this convention? When?
These questions need to be answered, and soon. If the IE team has just replaced one scarce resource for another, we’re not much better off over the long haul. It’s great news that the IE team is really implementing the “renderer selection switch” which many of us have dreamed of for so long…but having it continue to be global to the page or in other ways encourage contention on yet another single element in the document wouldn’t be stepping forward enough.