One of the major changes that Microsoft introduced with Internet Explorer 8 was to make the browser more fully compliant with World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) and Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) standards . Because earlier versions held dominant market share, however, many web developers designed their sites in conformance with Microsoft's proprietary methods, rather than with established web standards . As a result, certain sites designed to look good in, say, Internet Explorer 7, might generate displeasing layout errors in Internet Explorer 8 . To deal with problems of this kind, Internet Explorer 8 includes a compatibility mode. Switching into this mode on a given web domain causes the browser to display that domain's pages as though it were Internet Explorer 7 .
Internet Explorer 8, by default, displays pages in its most standards-compliant manner. If a page "expects" noncompliant behavior, you might see misaligned display elements or elements that overlap one another. To display such a page in Compatibility View, click the button that looks like a torn page; on any webpage where Compatibility View is available, this button sits at the right edge of the address bar:
Alternatively, choose Compatibility View from the Tools menu When you display a site in Compatibility View, Internet Explorer adds its domain name to a list and displays all pages from that domain in Compatibility View. Unless you go to the Compatibility Settings dialog box (see Figure 6-1) and remove the domain name from the list, all visits to the domain, in this or subsequent sessions, will also trigger Compatibility View. To show that you have already triggered Compatibility View for a site, Internet Explorer gives the Compatibility View button a pushed-in appearance .
Microsoft also maintains a list of domains that it believes should be displayed in Compatibility View, and it updates that list periodically, adding new sites that it becomes aware of and removing sites that have updated themselves to comport with the new browser's behavior. If you opt in, Internet Explorer will check any domain you visit against this list and switch automatically into Compatibility View as appropriate. Your computer's local copy of this list is refreshed approximately bimonthly via Windows Update.
If you're curious about what domains are included, you can download Microsoft's current Compatibility View list, in Microsoft Office Excel spreadsheet format, from w7io.com/0601. You can also inspect your system's local copy, in XML, by typing res://iecompat.dll/iecom-patdata.xml on Internet Explorer's address bar.
To configure Compatibility View, choose Tools, Compatibility View Settings. In the Compatibility View Settings dialog box, shown in Figure 6-1, you can, among other things, tell Internet Explorer to ignore the list of domains that Microsoft considers candidates for Compatibility View or display all sites in Compatibility View.
Here are some other noteworthy details about Compatibility View:
• Intranet sites (sites in your Local Intranet security zone) are, by default, in Compatibility View. To change this behavior, clear the Display Intranet Sites In Compatibility View check box, in the Compatibility View Settings dialog box.
• Internet Explorer assumes that most nonintranet domains not included on Microsoft's Compatibility View list are standards compliant, but it makes the Compatibility View button available in case you need it.
• Certain sites (those that include the tags IE=EmulateIE8 or IE=EmulateIE7) are always displayed in specific modes; for these sites, the Compatibility View button is not available
• When you visit a domain included in Microsoft's Compatibility View list, the Compatibility View button disappears from the Command bar.
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