Flash: Internet Explorer 8 Available in Beta. Mac Developers in State of Shock
The latest version of Microsoft's browser for Windows XP and Vista is available for download. Oh, the horror.
While earlier versions of Microsoft's browser played fast and loose enough with standards that an entire generation of web site designers came to despise it for forcing them to waste time kludging workarounds for its behaviour, things became a little less desperate with version 7, which showed a real commitment to not making life a living hell for developers and designers. The good news is that the beta of 8 shows even more of this laudable commitment, while introducing some interesting twists for developers and adding valuable functionality for the end user. Really.
In the area of new features, "activities" are worth noting. These simplify the process for site visitors to move information from one page to a different location—for example, pushing text on one site to a blog on another. They can also perform such functions as displaying the results of a search on a page by popping up a map displaying the results. Handy stuff (yes, I know Firefox plugins can also add such functionality). Microsoft has also introduced "WebSlices," the idea being here that visitors can subscribe to content directly within a webpage and get updates via the Favorites bar (the new name for the old Links bar). Also new is Automatic Crash Recovery, which will try to restrict crashes and hangs to just the offending tab, as well as an improved Phishing Filter.
Coders will want to head to the developer section of the Explorer 8 area to find out how to make a site "light up." Here you'll learn that one of Internet Explorer 8’s main goals is CSS 2.1 compliance but with a look ahead: "Internet Explorer 8 hopes to implement some of the most requested CSS3 features by web developers and designers." Well, let's all hope together, then. All kidding aside, it's good news that by default, Internet Explorer will attempt to display content using its most standards compliant mode, the IE8 Standards mode. We just hope the Explorer 8 development team will keep the immortal words of Yoda in mind: "There is no attempt, there is only do."
More information and the beta are available on the Internet Explorer 8 Readiness Toolkit area of the Microsoft site. Last one to install it is a rotten egg.