MDSN has a blog post outlining some of the changes that Microsoft have made in IE11 on their latest Windows Phone 8.1 update. It says that the update improves the experience when using IE on many common web sites. This was a problem that I often noticed when I had a Windows Phone: Windows Phone didn't have enough market share so wasn't explicitly supported.
Now, it looks like Microsoft is working hard to increase compatibility. This includes changing the User Agent string and supporting a whole lot of WebKit features.
I find this interesting for two reasons:
- in the past it was always the other way around, with IE at the top of the heap and many web sites expecting you to be running IE6 and complaining if you didn't. Those really were the bad old days.
- if cares me that the web is so non-standard and so fragile that unless you are using one of the more popular browsers, you need to pretend to be something else. Whatever happened to web standard?
I've experienced these issues with my phone and also on my Mac: sometimes I need to set my UA string on Safari to "iPad" just so video works as I'd rather not have Adobe Flash installed. This should never be necessary and is just sloppy coding.
I look forward to the day when the web is more responsive and cares less about the User Agent string but I expect that day is a long way off!