An internal build of IE8 is reported to have passed the Acid 2 test. This is great news, as Microsoft is showing more and more progress towards incorporating web standards into Internet Explorer, even though IE7 has remained dormant since it's release back in October 2006.
The entire post was a breath of fresh air, but I was very impressed by one statement in particular:
With respect to standards and interoperability, our goal in developing Internet Explorer 8 is to support the right set of standards with excellent implementations and do so without breaking the existing web. This second goal refers to the lessons we learned during IE 7. IE7's CSS improvements made IE more compliant with some standards and less compatible with some sites on the web as they were coded. Many sites and developers have done special work to work well with IE6, mostly as a result of the evolution of the web and standards since 2001 and the level of support in the various versions of IE that pre-date many standards. We have a responsibility to respect the work that sites have already done to work with IE. We must deliver improved standards support and backwards compatibility so that IE8 (1) continues to work with the billions of pages on the web today that already work in IE6 and IE7 and (2) makes the development of the next billion pages, in an interoperable way, much easier. We'll blog more, and learn more, about this during the IE8 beta cycle.
A lot of people argue Microsoft's ability to create a browser that is standards compliant, but the preceding paragraph highlights a few important points. Whether they want to or not, Microsoft has an obligation to make their software backwards compatible. This is understandable to a reasonable degree, especially considering the fact that a significant number of websites would suffer considerably if they didn''t.
I am also pleased to hear that Microsoft believes "publicly available code" is a great idea, but we won't find out more about what they actually mean until MIX08.
A Beta version of IE8 is expected to be available in the first half of 2008.