Just when Microsoft thought it was on target with its forthcoming Internet Explorer 8 browser, the goalposts have moved.
The Web Standards Project (WaSP) has released its latest browser standards compliance test - Acid 3 - and every browser that WaSP tested failed. IE 8 is, of course, not available for test yet. But given the abysmal performance of IE 7, Microsoft developers have a lot of work to do.
Acid 3 surfaced in January and aims to set a more rigorous test of how browser software complies with web standards. It includes 100 checks focusing on areas such as DOM2 and ECMAscript, and tests a browser's ability to handle "Web 2.0 dynamic web applications".
In an informal Reg Dev test of IE 7 and Firefox using Acid 3 [warning: this could choke your browser - ed] both browsers failed. Firefox at least managed to get half way through (50 of the 100 tests) before falling over. But IE 7 managed only 12 before giving up.
Microsoft's attempts to show it is a good web citizen have been constantly frustrated. Its triumph at passing the Acid 2 test with IE 8 last year was marred by criticism. And now it has to go back to the drawing board with IE 8 and start over.
It is hard to have any sympathy when, as noted by John Resig at Mozilla, Microsoft so blatantly qualified its reasons for compliance with web standards with a desire to avoid possible legal action and sidestep potential regulatory issues.®