When I remote connect to my work PC, in IE10, the juniper remote client service which is basically a plugin executed in the browser does not run. I need to turn on compatibility view to see it. My question is what exactly is happening behind the scenes in compatibility view such that such a large number of compatibility problems can be fixed with it? What did they do...make a list of deprecated APIs that was running ok in ie8 but deprecated in ie10 and then on clicking compatibility view, those APIs are supported again?


Basically, IE attempts to find the best compatibility mode first before rendering the page with the newest version of its engine, IE10 in your case. But before, IE more or less follows the given flow:

  1. Checks if there is the meta-tag in the header of the page: <meta http-equiv="X-UA-Compatible" content="IE=IEX" />, where "X" is either 7, 8, or 9. When a page includes this meta it instructs IE to display it with the standards mode of the given browser version, which means that it will use the standard engine of that version.
  2. Checks if the content of this meta-tag is something like <meta http-equiv="X-UA-Compatible" content="IE=EmulateIEX" />, agian, where "X" is either 7, 8, 9. This instruction is for displaying the page with the compatibility mode of the given browser. The difference from the standards mode is that here you basically tell him to use the compatibility engine of that version. It may be useful if you want to display a page as if it were Internet Explorer 5.5, by specifying (IE=Emulate7), since IE7 compatibility mode made it possible to display old legacy pages designed for IE 5.5
  3. If no X-UA-Compatible meta tag is found, the browser renders the page with the newest engine, UNLESS you explicitly chose to load it in compatibility mode... I think that it's your case, because let's face it 99.9999999999999999999% web pages do not specify any compatibility mode :-)

To sum it up, IE either uses the standard mode of the specified engine, OR it completely emulates the rendering of the page with a previous engine, thus allowing for legacy pages to be displayed properly. Since they use a different engine, it may explain why a plugin works in one case and does not in another.

For much more detailed information, check the MSDN article on that subject.

Edit: found that practically the same question is available in Pro Webmasters SE!

  • Should add that the browser checks for X-UA-Comatible in the http header first. If it is in the http header, the meta tag is ignored. – Matthew Jul 17 '15 at 14:36
  • IE=IEn is not valid syntax. Even your link to MSDN disproves that. The correct syntax is IE=n. Also, your description of Emulate modes is very imprecise at best. – underscore_d Sep 11 '15 at 10:00

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.