It’s been a big week here at MIX09, so much so that we thought we’d get the blog going again.
It’s been a long time coming, and hopefully the wait is worth it. Microsoft yesterday released IE8 to the masses, although not to Windows 7 users just yet (see below).
Performance (cheesy rock video about performance here) and safety top the list of improvements, as well as web standards compliance. But it doesn’t stop there – the new version includes some cool new features including:
- Web slices
- InPrivate Bowsing, as well as
- Search Suggestions
- Safer browsing with SmartScreen
If you are a Windows 7 Beta user you’ll have to wait a little longer, as noted on the IE8 site:
Windows 7 Beta already includes a pre-release candidate version of Internet Explorer 8 that is optimized for that release. Windows 7 enables unique features and functionality in Internet Explorer 8 including Windows Touch and Jump Lists which require additional product tests to ensure we are providing the best Windows experience for our customers. We will continue to update the version of Internet Explorer 8 running on Windows 7 as the development cycles of Windows 7 progress and plan to include the final version of Internet Explorer 8 in the release candidate version of Windows 7 later this year. For the latest information on Windows 7, visit the Windows 7 site.
This is disappointing, but perhaps understandable.
The most significant improvement in our opinion is the web standards compliance, as noted by Dean Hachamovitch, General Manager of the Internet Explorer team at Microsoft:
Internet Explorer 8 is Microsoft’s most standards-compliant browser to date, and benefits from work the company is doing with standards bodies to bring increased measurement and consistency. As part of Microsoft’s commitment to supporting standards, the company has submitted more than 7,000 cascading style sheet (CSS) 2.1 test cases to the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) in the last year to help drive easier and more measurable standards adoption for all developers. Moreover, Internet Explorer 8 now passes more of the W3C CSS 2.1 test cases than any other shipping browser and has invested significantly in support for HTML 5.
Source: Microsoft PressPass
Web standards is a big, opinionated area, so it will be worth watching to see whether Microsoft has understood the ‘real’ needs of developers and companies correctly.
All in all this is a pretty big upgrade over IE7, and with a falling market share in the browser space Microsoft needs to lift their game. Time will tell whether IE8 has the firepower they are hoping for.