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
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
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
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
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