It’s just data

Namespace Support

Internet Explorer 8 Beta: The Features: Internet Explorer 8 simplifies the use of standards-compliant XML-based webpages that support namespace features like scalable vector graphics, XML user interface language, mathematical markup language, and others.

To see the above text, click on “Faster, Easier”.  Intuitive, I know.

Let’s give it a spin.  First on my full-on XHTML version of my front page, complete with SVG: IE8b2 will helpfully ask you if you wish to download it.

Now lets try another version of that page which is served as text/html to IE, again with embedded SVG, and marked as X-UA-Compatible: IE=7.  Whereas previously, it wasn’t all that compatible, IE8b2 at least attempts to be more compatible (complete with the invisible h1), until it gets to the SVGized W3C logo.  As SVG images go, you can’t get much simpler than this: two consecutive path statements.  But apparently, that’s beyond the limits of what IE8b2 supports, and it basically gives up parsing markup on the rest of the page.  Converting the self-closing path elements to use explicit open and close tags works around the issue.

Finally, lets try something really simple.  No SVG.  No X-UA-Compatible.  Served as text/html.  The result: no CSS support for elements introduced in HTML5.  While one can coax such support out of IE7 — and IE8 will even emulate that behavior when told to do so — I’m not aware of any equivalent mechanism for IE8.

Note: none of these pages were adjusted in any way to make IE8 look bad.  They existed well before the beta was made available, and today was the first day I had access to IE8b2.