The problems with the new solution are many. The ones that concern me:
- After just a few versions, the browser will be hopelessly bloated and bogged down trying to maintain several versions with all of their features and bugs
- The point of the solution is to make browser bugs immortal. But will there be bugs in the bugs? Will the peekaboo bug or hasPosition act differently on the embedded IE6 from the original IE6? My head hurts just thinking about it.
- Like it or not, web design is a craft. The building industry doesn’t give special exceptions to architects who want to build a skyscraper out of wood just because they’ve always built birdhouses and wrap-around decks. Instead, they tell the architects to learn about steel and concrete and glass or find a new industry.
Those issues aside, maybe version targeting is not all bad (God help me, but I trust that Eric Meyer). But I agree with Ethan Marcotte that the solution is elsewhere; and by elsewhere i mean right here.
It’s not complicated. The flaming will die down. The Web will be saved. Our job – our craft will get a little easier and a little better.
Microsoft should release stand-alone downloadable versions of Internet Explorer.
It should also give IE7-8-9-10 the ability to “nest” browsers in the parent browser window, just like Firefox already has. Sure, the
<meta http-equiv="X-UA-Compatible" /> tag could still be used to automatically specify the IE version, and the user could be asked if they want to view the file in the pre-selected X-UA-Compatible version or in the current (IE8-9-10) version they have now. Then, if the version is not installed, they could choose to install it or go ahead and view it in some other installed version.
IE7 has a plugin architecture; IE8 should too. The only thing missing is the standalone IE releases (MultiIE already does it for XP, but it fails horribly in Vista).
I think this gives all of us the best of all worlds: Corporations who need a certain version of IE for their intranet will have it. Users who want cutting-edge compatibility and speed will have it. Developers who need a solution for future-broken sites under IE11 will have it. Standardistas who need those versions to browser-test for backward compatibility will have them.
Freezing all future versions is not the answer; we will be sorry. Let us pick-and-choose the fossilized browsers as we need them and we will all have what we want.