Internet Explorer 8 Passes Acid2 Test

Internet Explorer has been a source of chagrin to many Web developers over the years due to less-than-perfect W3C standards support. This problem was pervasive with Internet Explorer 6, considering how badly the aging 2001-era browser renders modern CSS-driven layouts.

Over the past few years, these shortcomings led many developers to code for alternative browsers with better standards support, such as Mozilla Firefox. Internet Explorer 6 compatibility was achieved through a variety of hacks and workarounds that often broke a site's CSS and HTML compliance.

Internet Explorer 7 was better than the previous version, but it still did not have support equal to many of the alternatives.

However, Microsoft Internet Explorer 8 finally passed the Acid2 test, which is designed to test how well a Web browser can deal with invalid code and still render a Web site correctly. This feat provides evidence that Internet Explorer has significantly improved in standards compliance.

Proper rendering of the acid2 test (which is supposed to look like a yellow smiley face) indicates full W3C HTML and CSS2 compliance. However, Acid2 is a test put out by a standards advocacy group, instead of the W3C itself. Therefore, it is not used to certify standards compliance. In this instance, passing the Acid2 test simply indicates that Internet Explorer 8 will have far better standards support than its Internet Explorer predecessors.

Passing Acid2 is quite an accomplishment. Few browsers today can do it. The chosen few include Konqueror 3.5, Opera 9, Firefox 3 Beta 1 and Safari.

Note: At the time of this writing, the official Acid2 test is broken, meaning that no browser will pass. Those wishing to try the test themselves may do so here.

About the Author

Will Kraft is a Web designer, technical consultant and freelance writer. He can be reached at Also, check out his blog at