IE8's Compatibility Mode for Firefox


Microsoft Internet Explorer 8 and later offer the option to view pages as they would appear in older versions of IE. However, when you browse an older website with Firefox, you may not see the page the way its designer intended. Without a "compatibility mode" option, you have to work around this problem to view the page correctly.

Older HTML Pages

  • Older versions of Internet Explorer included proprietary HTML tags and interpretation of standard tags that sometimes differed from the established Web standards. While pages created using these tags display correctly in IE, they sometimes looked very different when viewed in a standards-compliant browser like Firefox. Some designers also incorporated browser-specific code so that each browser displayed the best possible version of the page. Other designers coded for IE only, sometimes including a disclaimer suggesting the page was best viewed with IE.

Compatibility Mode

  • As opposed to older Internet Explorer versions, Microsoft created IE8 and later to be standards-compliant, displaying pages in the same manner as other standards-compliant browsers. To address the large number of pages coded for older IE versions, the newer browsers include a feature called "Compatibility Mode," or "Compatibility View," which enables you to click a "broken page" icon and see the older page as it would appear in the previous version. Web designers may also include code that automatically switches IE8 and later to Compatibility Mode.

Firefox and Compatibility

  • While IE became standards-compliant with version 8, Firefox has been standards-compliant since its early versions. However, pages composed for viewing in IE6 and earlier may not display as the designer intended in Firefox unless the designer also includes browser-specific cascading style sheet code. When you use Compatibility View in IE8 or later, the browser actually uses the older browser engine to parse and display the HTML. Unfortunately, the older browser engine is not available for Firefox or other browsers.

Compatible Viewing

  • One option for viewing older pages using Firefox is the extension IE View, which enables you to launch IE to view a page that isn't rendering correctly in Firefox. You still need IE and its Compatibility View to see the page correctly, but this solution allows you to continue browsing in Firefox until you need the Compatibility View function. With fewer than one percent of U.S. Internet surfers using IE6, Microsoft is encouraging designers to update their sites with standards-compliant code so that Compatibility View is no longer necessary.

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