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Microsoft Internet Explorer 8 (IE8) Preview

Microsoft Internet Explorer 8 (IE8) Preview - PCSTATS
Abstract: The software giant recently presented the first Internet Explorer 8 release candidate for public download, two years after Internet Explorer 7 hit the web and just in time for the upcoming Windows 7 operating system.
Filed under: Software Published:  Author: 
External Mfg. Website: Microsoft Jan 30 2009   Julian Apong  
Home > Reviews > Software > Microsoft Internet Explorer 8

Code Compatibility and Compliance

Internet Explorer 8 has received several overhauls to its Trident layout rendering engine, not only to make it faster, but also to make it adhere more closely to Hypertext Markup Language and Cascading Style Sheets standards. Internet Explorer has long lagged behind every other major browser in its ability to quickly render web pages. IE's market share and user base is so large that many websites are written with haphazard or deliberately non-compliant coding, breaking standards compliance with other browsers so that web elements can be viewed properly in Internet Explorer. IE8 has made headway in its ability to render HTML and CSS correctly, and it's the first version of Internet Explorer to pass ACID2, a web standards test that gauges a browser's ability to render modern HTML. All other major browsers (Firefox, Opera, Safari, Google Chrome, Konqueror) have already passed the ACID2 test, so Microsoft really had to play catch-up.

More troubling is Internet Explorer 8's performance in the Acid3 test, created by the same compliance team from the Web Standards Project. The Acid3 test focuses on Javascript, Document Object Model (DOM), and XML. Very few web browsers pass this test currently, but Internet Explorer does particularly poorly. IE8 passed two of the sixteen standards that were benchmarked by the Acid3 test, a mediocre improvement over IE7's score of one out of sixteen. Firefox 3.0.5 passes as many as 15 of the 16 tests by comparison.

This problem is something that's more likely to affect web developers and programmers than those who simply surf the internet. However, web browsing software that can't render current website standards correctly will have increasing rates of failure as web developers start implementing the newest coding tricks of the trade.

Has Internet Explorer 8 been worth the wait?

Microsoft has done a lot to make its new Internet Explorer 8 web browser better. Competition from Firefox has certainly pushed Internet Explorer's market dominance down in the last few years, mainly by working quicker and being more flexible. In reality, for Internet Explorer to thrive it has to encourage user extensions and open up its software to the larger open-source development community.

There is no mistaking that Microsoft has watched the development of competing web browsers and implemented some of the best ideas, refined others and introduced new original features of its own. Some of the new features, such as the Accelerator and Web Slices, have increased the functionality of Internet Explorer significantly. Microsoft has also overhauled a lot of IE7 for the current challenges the internet now presents surfers.

There's still a lot of work left to do though. Internet Explorer 8 and the Trident layout engine are in desperate need of an overhaul in order to keep up in Javascript, DOM and XML compliance. Firefox, Safari, Opera and Chrome will continue to chip away at Microsoft's share of the browser market. Time will tell.

For those that have become comfortable browsing with Internet Explorer 7, upgrading to Internet Explorer 8 is an easy transition. It's new features can make your web surfing experience quicker and easier, and there aren't any great shocks to its layout. If you've long since abandoned Internet Explorer for Firefox or Opera, now is the time take another look at Internet Explorer.

End Note: The final release of Internet Explorer 8 may differ slightly from the Internet Explorer 8 Beta 2 version that is freely available from Microsoft as of this writing. Beta software is very close to complete, but may contain bugs here and there. PCSTATS recommends holding off on office wide roll outs until the final version of IE8 is released.

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Contents of Article: Microsoft Internet Explorer 8
 Pg 1.  Microsoft Internet Explorer 8 (IE8) Preview
 Pg 2.  IE8 New Features - Accelerators
 Pg 3.  IE8 New Features - Enhanced Security
 Pg 4.  Changes in function, layout and style
 Pg 5.  — Code Compatibility and Compliance

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