Announcing improvements to the Enterprise Mode Site List

Today we are adding functionality to Enterprise Mode for Internet Explorer 11 as part of the November update, expanding the Enterprise Mode Site List introduced in April to give customers a new way to mitigate Web app compatibility issues. A new docMode section of the list enables IT to specify the document mode in which a specific Web site should load, without changing a single line of code on the site itself. While the original Enterprise Mode provided great compatibility for enterprises on IE8, this new capability will help enterprises stay up to date regardless of the version of IE currently running in their environment.

Sites can be added to the Enterprise Mode Site List to fix compatibility problems with sites originally written for IE8, IE9, or IE10. Web developers have been able to specify document modes on their sites through the X-UA-Compatible tag, and now we are making the power of document modes available to IT Pros. This expansion to the site list is a continuation of our commitment to help enterprises upgrade to the latest version of IE, while still preserving investments in existing apps.

How does this help enterprises stay up-to-date?

Oftentimes enterprises have sites which are critical for business, but are not in their direct control, so upgrading the site to modern standards or remediating can be difficult and expensive. Other times internal sites and Web apps were written for a particular platform, and often measures are in place to ensure sites works only on the intended platform. Years later these precautions may prevent Web apps from working on newer systems. It is often cost-prohibitive to update sites, which is why Microsoft offers backward compatibility for sites designed for older versions of Internet Explorer. The new Enterprise Mode Site List enables enterprises to specify the document mode in which to load a URL, to help ensure better compatibility. Browser upgrades can be faster and easier, since testing and remediation costs are reduced.

How does it work?

The enhanced enterprise site list enables organizations to maintain compatibility with legacy and orphaned Web apps by specifying a document mode in a central list. Sites that are already on the enterprise site list are not affected by the enhancement, and will continue to load in Enterprise Mode as usual. The enhanced site list has the same ability to selectively target Web sites as before. For example, can be set to use Enterprise Mode, while may be set to use IE9 document mode.

When Internet Explorer 11 navigates to a site on the list, the browser loads the page in the specified document mode just as it would load the page if the document mode were specified through an X-UA-Compatible meta tag on the page, and the UA string associated with the selected document mode is sent. Some customers have told us that they even need to override the X-UA-Compatible meta tag as set by the Web site, so this new functionality does so without needing to change a single line of code on the site itself.

How do I use it?

To set up your environment, follow the instructions on TechNet. If you already have Enterprise Mode deployed in your environment, there is no additional work to prepare your environment for this update. An updated version of the Enterprise Mode Site List Manager tool is available to create and manage lists.

Updated Enterprise Mode Site List Manager

To find out which document mode works best to fix a site, you can easily use the F12 developer tools to find the best mitigation. Go to the Web site and open the F12 developer tools by pressing the F12 key. Open the Emulation tab, which is the bottom-most tab (ctrl+8). Starting with “Edge,” test the broken site. If that document mode does not fix the problem, try IE10 mode. Repeat until you find a document mode that fixes the problem. Use the upgraded site list manager tool to enter the site mitigation into your Enterprise Mode Site List to fix this problem for your organization.

The XML output by the tool for the above example will be:

<rules version="1">
     <domain docMode="7"></domain>
           <path docMode="9">/travel</path>
         <path docMode="10">/about</path>
        <domain exclude="false">
           <path exclude="true">/travel</path>
     <domain exclude="true"></domain>

More resources

We're very excited to help enterprises upgrade and stay up-to-date on the most recent version of Internet Explorer, while maintaining compatibility for existing line of business Web sites. Let us know your feedback via @IEDevChat or on Connect.

- Nicole Berdy, Program Manager, Internet Explorer