Microsoft is changing the way its Internet Explorer 11 (IE11) browser works for enterprise users, making it easier for IT departments to support a broader range of legacy web-based applications while still getting the benefits of a more secure, up-to-date browser.
Starting from November, the Enterprise Mode Site List for IE11 will include all document modes, according to Microsoft.
This will enable corporate customers to force web app rendering in any document mode, including IE10, IE9, IE8, IE7 and IE5, without having to change the website or application code.
The feature is required because many enterprise web apps were designed to work with a specific version of Internet Explorer during the previous decade.
This has left many IT departments unable to update employees to a newer version of the browser without breaking compatibility with a key corporate application, while older IE versions have increasingly been seen as a security risk.
Enterprise Mode, which was introduced for corporate users earlier this year, enabled the browser to emulate the older IE8, but this has proved insufficient for many customers.
"We listened to customer feedback, and the list will now give better control over which document mode will be used for remediating web app compatibility," said Fred Pullen, senior product marketing manager for Internet Explorer, writing on Microsoft's IEBlog.
Microsoft has also pledged that the next major update of IE will build on the backwards compatibility features in IE11, including Enterprise Mode, Enterprise Site Discovery and document modes, to ensure continued compatibility with websites and help with Windows 10 deployments.
"The work that customers do to upgrade to IE11 today will ease migrations to Windows 10, and help future-proof their browser environments," Pullen said.
"We will continue to improve support for modern standards and legacy compatibility to make it even easier for customers to stay up to date with the latest browser."
Earlier, Microsoft promised that Enterprise Mode will be supported for the duration of the operating system lifecycle, at least as far as Windows 7 goes. This means that Enterprise Mode will be supported until at least 14 January 2020.
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