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Internet Explorer 8's Compatibility List

July 11, 2009

While the browser wars seemed to have picked up again and a lot of technically-oriented people have moved over to Firefox, I've noted that Packetizer still gets a large number of visitors using Microsoft Internet Explorer. And, I'll confess that I also use IE. I really like it, and I appreciate some of the cool new additions in Internet Explorer 8.

That said, there is one feature I absolutely despise: the Compatibility Views feature. If you use Internet Explorer 8, you will note that for many sites you visit, there is an icon at the top of the browser that allows you to select which mode in which to view the site. I found that feature to be terribly confusing and the button was right beside the refresh button, so I often pressed the wrong one.

Not having found a way to get added to Microsoft's compatibility list, I finally decided to figure out how to get rid of that button on IE. I think there is a menu option somewhere to disable it, but I wanted a solution that worked for all visitors to Packetizer. After all, the site should work with Firefox and IE8 and if it does not, people will tell us!

So, I did some searching and found that Microsoft allows control of this feature through an HTTP header. This did the trick for Apache:

Source Code

BrowserMatch "MSIE 8" IE8_support
Header set X-UA-Compatible "IE=8" env=IE8_support

I hope other site administrators will also turn off this very annoying feature in Internet Explorer 8, once they have verified that their sites work. I hate accidentally pressing that button!

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