IE8 RC1 Not just for Microsoft Partners, Preview Internet Explorer 8 Here
Article by George Norman
On 16 Dec 2008
Microsoft plans to bring out Internet Explorer 8 Release Candidate 1 (IE8 RC1) in the first quarter of 2009, but some of its closest partners have had the opportunity of putting the software through its paces ahead of the public release. Find out what changes Microsoft made to IE8, what new features it has to offer, and in what areas works still needs to be done.

In terms of features, IE8 can boast about things like enhanced accessibility, overall reliability and private browsing (just like Firefox 3.1 Beta 2). In terms of performance and browsing speed, IE8 still cannot compare to Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox , or Opera .

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If you are the kind of person that takes privacy seriously, you will appreciate the “InPrivate Browsing” feature. When it is turned on it will automatically disable all IE add-ons; turning the feature on and off is a pretty straightforward process since there is an “InPrivate Blocking” button placed in a high visibility area. For administrative purposes there are also InPrivate Browsing related group policies.

If you have limited vision or mobility, Microsoft has taken this into consideration when coming up with Internet Explorer 8 (translation: improved accessibility for the impaired, visually or otherwise, just like you get in airports). IE8 will feature support for ARIA, IAccessibleEx, WinEvent, caret browsing (replace mouse use with keyboard shortcuts), improved Find on Page (fixed toolbar, not a floating dialog box), high DPI and Adaptive Zoom, and a few other minor tweaks.

From a visual point of view, you will notice that the Favorites bar looks a bit different, and you will certainly notice the changes to Compatibility View, IEAK (Internet Explorer Administration Kit) and AJAX. Getting back to the Favorites bar, Microsoft addresses IE9 ease of use by setting up an import wizard which lets you easily transfer your favorites from Firefox or Safari to IE8.

Browsing speed – it is the thing that made Google Chrome such a big hit, and it is the one thing that Internet Explorer never actually had working in its favor. It must be said that with IE8 RC1 Microsoft has addressed this issue, and even though it cannot boast about having the fastest JavaScript engine on the web, browsing speeds have increased considerably compared to IE7 and IE8 Beta 2. Speed isn’t the only disappointment – in Acid3 tests (which Opera 10 Alpha 1 passed with flying colors, getting 100/100) IE8 got only 12/100, meaning it failed.

Please keep in mind that this Internet Explorer 8 version is a partner release; according to the feedback that Microsoft gets, IE8 RC1 may suffer some changes (minor ones, nothing fundamental).



Tags: Microsoft, Internet Explorer, IE 8
About the author: George Norman
George is a news editor.
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IE8 RC1 Not just for Microsoft Partners, Preview Internet Explorer 8 Here
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