Internet Explorer 8 Beta

By | December 20, 2008

With the release of Beta 2 of Internet Explorer 8, Microsoft promises its users a better Internet experience; but for some, it still has a way to go before it shakes off the old stigma attached to previous IE versions. Will it bolster Internet Explorer’s falling market share?

Since the browser is new, there are still many who are not as enthusiastic as Microsoft in adopting it as their main browser. For example, the latest zero day incident served as another reminder of IE’s track record when it came to security. How many of you have downloaded IE8 beta?

From a developer’s point of view, it is hoped the browser would be useful for visitor tracking systems and other add-ons. But, it may end up giving headaches to webmasters wanting to track their site usage and other statistics, because of a new feature with similarities to Google’s Chrome, called InPrivate.

This new version has now implemented an ‘InPrivate’ mode concept which will prevent cookies, history, and other data from being saved in the browser, thereby blurring your web movements. So if you are accessing some important information from outside, the InPrivate mode on IE8 would be useful. When you are in InPrivate mode, your sent information is not shared with third-party web sites without your permission.

These new privacy standards in IE8 again are going to give problems for webmasters with security programs. As the new security features disables many easy browser attacks, they also deactivate many security enhancements. I feel this so called feature of IE8 is going to be a double-edged sword.

Unlike IE6 or IE7, IE8 is touted to be more supportive towards web standards, and is expected to resolve codes more rationally. This has always been a major issue for developers working with previous versions of IE. While certainly going in the right direction, Microsoft may have overlooked the possibility that web pages which have been optimised for IE6 and IE7 – may not perform consistently well in the new version.

That’s why Microsoft has been busy assuring users that web pages optimized for the previous versions of IE, will display well in this new version by it now having an ability to switch between old and new standards.

Microsoft has decided to fix the compatibility problems with a Compatibility View button that switches the compatibility mode of the browser to that of IE6 or IE7. So if a site doesn’t work – switch your browser to an older version. This being a feature indicates that Microsoft hasn’t done enough to erase their now famous “browser incompatibility reputation.” Many webmasters (including myself) still remember how IE was usually the one browser to cough up site rendering issues.

I wonder how many users would be interested in switching the compatibility of their browsers whenever they get problems. Don’t you think users will prefer to have a more compatible browser, rather than a switching machine? It should be quite interesting to see if Microsoft can circumvent these old IE issues, but in the meantime I’m quite happy being a Firefox user 😉

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