Microsoft released its official version of their latest browser, IE 8, on March 19th. Web developers around the world know from experience that this may or may not be a good thing. It's tough to design web pages and applications that are suppose to render the same, no matter what browser you use, when one of those browsers for multiple reasons wants to do their own thing. Web developers have been fighting browser incompatibilities for as long as we can remember.
One of the worse browsers for non-compliance has been...you guessed it Internet Explorer. Almost every web page out there has to have it's work around for those viewers that use Internet Explorer. The browser compatibility issue became such a pain, and not just Microsoft as the culprit, that an independent advocacy group was formed, the Web Standards Project, to try to point out the differences that existed between browsers in hopes of getting some conformity in everyone's web experience.
The Web Standards Project developed a test suite, called Acid, to see if a browser was compliant with what they considered to be the major standards from various sources for web development. For a web developer and web user, this is important for an enjoyable web experience. The current default test that every browser should be able to run is Acid2. You can check your browser out, and take the Acid 2 test yourself. If your browser runs correctly, you should get the below image displayed correctly. Seems like a simple test, but every previous version of Internet Explorer has failed this test miserably, until now that is. Internet Explorer 8 has decided to join the rest of the world's browser experience and now passes Acid 2. Now all we have to do is wait until all previous versions of Internet Explorer die of old age, and we can forget about all those special IE workarounds in our web pages.
By the way, there is a much more strenuous Acid 3 test. This one counts to 100 and depending on how far you get in the count determines how standard compliant your browser is. So far Google's Chrome and Apple's Safari browser are the only ones to reach 100.
In the meantime, we applaud Microsoft on its latest effort, and bid all you Internet Explorer browser users to hurry up and upgrade.