The Web Standards Project has posted an IE8 round table discussion with Chris Wilson, the IE8 platform architect, Aaron Gustafson, and a couple of others on the proposed meta tag. This is really the first explanation we have heard from anyone on the IE Team about the opt-in behavior since it was announced.
The funny thing is, they may have brushed upon a solution which doesn’t deal with any meta tags at all.
Towards the end of the conference call, Aaron posed this question:
Do you think that it might be possible or it might be worth exploring whether using a strict mode DOCTYPE as opposed to a Transitional or a Frameset mode DOCTYPE that tends to be what tools are pushing by default when they are auto-injecting this stuff into a document, such as Dreamweaver or the like, content management systems, etc. Do you think it’s worth exploring whether strict mode, or strict DOCTYPEs have enough penetration to warrant them being auto-opted in for IE7 as opposed to potentially IE8 rendering mode?
Chris wasn’t totally opposed to looking into it:
We can look at the numbers and see what the effect of that would be, and it’s possible if other people think that that would be a benefit. I don’t recall having looked at those numbers explicitly, like what the breakdown is between XHTML 1.0 Strict vs Transitional vs HTML4. And of course, there’s whether it has the URL after it or not. I’m not sure that ends up being a more or less explainable message to web developers or whether it’s a better or worse in that sense.
Needless to say, everyone else said that it would be worthwhile to investigate this further. An understatement, to be sure.