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Internet Explorer 8 Beta Launches At Mix

Microsoft launched the first beta of Internet Explorer 8 today at MIX. IE8 comes with a lot of web standards improvements and some good efforts to make sure pages look the same in IE as they do in other browsers. IE8 has a new mode that adheres closely to web standards, and if a site refuses to load because it expects IE7, you can click a button to make the site think you are running that browser.

There are some new features in IE8. “Activities” are data providers that you can use to get information related to the page you are currently reading. They’re sort of like a combination of RSS feeds and toolbars. You can use them to submit sites to Digg and StumbleUpon, blog about the current page, share on Facebook, send an email, translate a web page and more, all without installing a bunch of browser add-ins. Anyone can develop Activities, and if the page you are currently on offers one, an auto-discovery button will light up.

Another new feature is WebSlices. With this feature, users can choose a part of any webpage and subscribe to it, sort of like an RSS feed, and view that part of the page with automatic regular updating. You can add a Slice of the weather, friend status updates on Facebook, headlines from a news site, or anything you choose or a web developer offers to you.

IE8 has some improvements, like the three layout modes, CSS 2.1 compliance, fixed cross-browser inconsistencies, improved namespace support, performance improvements, and built-in developer tools.

Some things to be concerned about from the Release Notes:

  • IE7 will not install on pre-release versions of Vista Service Pack 1 and debug versions of Vista, Vista SP1 and Server 2008.
  • Internet Explorer 8 Beta 1 will add a new page to the home page set. This page will be automatically removed from the home page set two weeks after you install Internet Explorer Beta 1. You can remove this additional home page from your home page set at any time. Uninstalling Internet Explorer Beta 1 earlier than its automatic removal will not remove the additional home page. In that case, you can remove the home page manually.
  • This is hilarious: The new Activities for Hotmail and Spaces won’t run on IE8 in IE8 mode. You must click the button to have IE8 pretend to be IE7, even though the feature the Activities are for is IE8 only. That’s weird coding. Apparently there are a lot of problems with Activities in IE8 mode.
  • Pages will always print in IE7 mode, even after being viewed in IE8 mode.
  • Links to portions of a webpage (using # anchors) may not work in IE8 mode.
  • IE8 is not compatible with a lot of accessibility software.
  • Some add-ons don’t work with IE8, or even crash the browser, including Skype, the Google and Yahoo Toolbars, RealPlayer 11 and QuickTime Player.
  • The maximum number of simultaneous connections has been increased, and will be automatically increased if you are on a broadband connection.

As noted above, users who installed Vista Service Pack 1 can’t install IE8. You’ll need to uninstall SP1, or install the final release version of SP1, to get IE8. If someone wants to show me how to get SP1 so I can uninstall the pre-release and get IE8, I’d love the help.

Long Zheng has photos from the Mix keynote

screenshots by vscarpenter and JT Ray under CC license

March 6th, 2008 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Internet Explorer, Applications | 5 comments

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  1. […] geleden bracht Microsoft het nieuws naar buiten dat een testversie van Internet Explorer 8 was geslaagd voor de ACID2 test. Deze test geldt als dé test om te kijken of een webbladeraar voldoet aan de standaarden. In de […]

    Pingback by Internet Explorer 8 Beta 1 beschikbaar | March 6, 2008

  2. Can’t help you with uninstalling SP1, but perhaps a better, safer way to test IE8 is by using Virtual PC:

    - Michael

    Comment by Michael Schaap | March 6, 2008

  3. How to uninstall ie 8 beta? please!

    Comment by Erkan | March 7, 2008

  4. how do we report errors? it doesn’t work with and google calendar, etc.


    Comment by Benjamin | March 9, 2008

  5. […] Internet Explorer 8 Beta Launches At Mix - View article… […]

    Pingback by » Blog Archive » IE8 Released | March 30, 2008

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