Internet Explorer 8 passes the Acid2 mark

From silence to the grand opera, finally Internet Explorer will join the league of a handful of next-generation web browsers that passes the Acid2 test.

Whilst remembering Acid2 is not a standards test – in fact it breaks a few standards to test how browsers handles malformed code, passing the test represents the browser will properly support a range of next-generation CSS 2.1 features that opens up a range of creative opportunities for web designers. It doesn’t test everything, but these are probably the most useful features.

Acid2 TestThe major CSS capabilities tested includes,

  • Transparent PNGs — The eyes are encoded as transparent PNGs.
  • The object element — The eyes of the face are attached to an object element. Being able to use object (which can have alternative content) is one of the oldest requests from web designers.
  • Absolute, relative and fixed positioning — Being able to position elements accurately is important for advanced page layouts.
  • Box model — The original Acid test focused on the CSS box model. Acid2 continues in this fine tradition by testing ‘height’, ‘width’, ‘max-width’, ‘min-width’, ‘max-height’ and ‘min-height’.
  • CSS tables — There is nothing wrong with table layouts. It is a powerful layout model which makes sense on bigger screens. However, the table markup is troublesome as it ties the content to these screens. Therefore, being able to specify table layouts in CSS is important.
  • Margins — CSS defines accurate algorithms for how margins around elements should be calculated.
  • Generated content — The ability to add decorations and annotations to Web pages without modifying the markup has long been requested by authors.
  • CSS parsing — Acid2 includes a number of illegal CSS statements that should be ignored by a compliant browser.
  • Paint order — We test that overlapping content is painted in the right order. This is not a feature in itself, but a requirement for other features to work correctly.
  • Line heights — The Acid2 test checks a few key parts of the CSS inline box model, upon which any standards-compliant Web page depends.
  • Hovering effects — One of the elements in the face changes color when you hover over it. Which one?

It’s one thing for Firefox, Safari and Opera to pass the ACID2 test, but it’s another for the default browser of the most widely used consumer operating system to support it too. And not only is it a web browser, the rendering engine is used in thousands of third-party applications to draw interface elements.

Imagine when Internet Explorer 8 is pushed out via Windows Update to every Windows user as a recommended update, then web developers and designers will sleep like a baby knowing their standards-compliant code should work on any browser and any platform without a single hack. Wouldn’t that be nice.

In other news today, a decade-old game is also breaking expectations by showing its face. Coincidence?

14 insightful thoughts

  1. Cant wait for MIX to see what alse will IE team demonstrate. All this stuff with standards is cool, but it would be nice to enjoy preview release with new end-user features.

  2. Well, so I was right saying on your last IE post, that they will talk about IE8 when it is standards-compliant (more or less). ;) Good news for web devs!

  3. From their channel 9 interview, I got the impression that is more than simply passing Acid2. What the IE team has to handle is all those sites that expect IE to view them as if it’s IE 5, 6, or 7…in addition to sites that code to some ideal standards vision. In other words, it would have been one thing to code a browser to render the Acid2 correctly, but that IE8 did so within code that also took into account all those other issues (added difficulty). Is this correct?

    I guess my question is why is it so important for the IE to account for these past issues when presumably other browswers don’t? Is it because while there’s a segment that will ignore problems with sites that require IE and use Firefox or Opera, etc. that there’s also a segment that will stick with IE for the exact same reason? Corporate users with intranet sites or something? If anyone can comment on that, I’d appreciate it.

  4. Take a look here: http://vasudevg.blogspot.com/2007/12/internet-explorer-8-q.html. Most of it is useless but they’re saying IE8 is going to have an “opt-in” IE8 standards mode (besides the normal standards mode and quirks mode). More testing hell for developers which they were already ranting about on the IE blog. Guess, it’s better in the long run, otherwise they couldn’t bring IE up-to-date without breaking the web. They’ve also got a UI question, so probably they’ll fix IE7’s UI problems. In the last question, they don’t even acknowledge Opera which is the most standards-compliant browser today. Given MS’s slow pace of IE releases, I’m guessing IE8 won’t come till 2009.

    Firefox 3.0 FTW for its addons!!

  5. quote:
    It’s one thing for Firefox, Safari and Opera to pass the ACID2 test, but it’s another for the default browser of the most widely used consumer operating system to support it too. And not only is it a web browser, the rendering engine is used in thousands of third-party applications to draw interface elements.

    Firefox and safari does not pass acid test fully
    only opera and konqueror (now ie8)

  6. IE8 DOES NOT PASS THE ACID2 TEST. Microsoft only claims it “renders” the smiley face. In fact, what you see is an offline doctored version of the actual test. IE8 cannot and will not pass the actual online test. More smoke and mirrors from Microsoft.

  7. Of course, Rob seems to know all of this because he works at either Microsoft or the CIA.

    So, he can claim anything he wants, and it must be true, but if MS claims something, then MS is lying.

    Does it even remotely smell logical?

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