Light up your website with Internet Explorer 8

Microsoft presented the first public beta version of their new Internet Browser at the Mix’08 of Las Vegas: Internet Explorer 8.

Here at NSDesign we already started to give it a look and discovered many new interesting features. Apart from a few problems when opening up many tabs together, the browser seems to work pretty well, and the navigation interface, even with the addition of new functionalities, is simple to understand and doesn’t create so much confusion about how to use it.

Two functionalities that we found quite interesting are the crash recovery and the highlighting of the visited URL (to provide more security especially in the case of complex domain names that can trick the user).

 IE8 URL highlighting

These are not only the only new features, there are even more new features that developers can discover, in fact Microsoft, quite late (but never to late for something important like this), decided to pay more attention to the web standards making Explorer strictly standard compliant and other interesting features for developers.

Due to the fact that IE is the most used browser, this is a great news, in the future we are going to see more and more websites developed properly, providing completely accessible information contents. But not all good news come by their own, from another point of view a stricter browser can create some inconveniences to those people who own an old websites or those who have a website structured with not standard code, breaking their websites on the new browser. Explorer 8 offers versioning (backwards compatibility to make a website work like on older browsers versions, like Explorer 7, Explorer 6 and Explorer 5), it is an interesting functionality for a short term solution, but it doesn’t have to be considered a definitive solution to compatibility problems. The best way is always to use the correct standard codes, keeping separated content, structure and style.

Definitely the new Microsoft browser is optimum and can compete with other major ones like the new Firefox 3.

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6 Responses to “Light up your website with Internet Explorer 8”

  1. Scott

    “backwards compatibility to make a website work like on older browsers versions, like Explorer 7, Explorer 6 and Explorer 5”

    There’s an IE 7 Emulation option (which annoyingly requires a browser restart, unlike the Firefox plug-ins which give the same options) but I’ve not come accross IE6 or 5 compatability modes?

    Wishful thinking on your part of burried functionality that I’ve missed?

  2. admin

    Hi Scott,

    I’ll let Martin reply in more detail next week (he’s unavailable till then, as he’s getting married tomorrow!!) as he’s the one here doing most of the testing and elavulation of Internet Explorer 8, but I do know that it has has three different Layout modes, one called “Quirks” which provides backwards compatibility with IE5 rendering behavior.

  3. Scott

    If Martin’s getting married tomorrow, why is he unavailable today? Slacker – get him fired! 😉

    In all seriousness, good luck to Martin.

    As for ‘quirks’ (sounds like a bar in Star Trek), Quirks Mode is prevalent in all recent browsers and is triggered by either a manipulation of the doctype or an inclusion of a non-standard object under the doctype declaration. It is not an option within the browser to allow the viewer to decide how he wants the page rendered.

    I was hoping Microsoft would have done more than this and introduce true emulation of older browsers, if only for development testing purposes, especially as there is no ‘official’ way to have multiple installations of different versions of IE on a machine.

    Sure, they’ve made virtual PC a free application and provide (short-lifespan) disk images for testing, but this requires quarterly downloads of a few hundred MB rather than the 5 – 10MB a browser should require. The IE devs would do well to take a look at the functionality and usability of some of the plug-ins for Firefox which allow different tabs to render the same page in different ways – without a restart!

    Microsoft have done a lot right with this browser, but they have also done a lot wrong. The idea of webslices is great, but involves taking the wonderful semantically correct microformats and bastadising them with proprietary Microsoft class names and extra divs, rather than allowing the user to decide what would be a useful slice (as per Safari on Leopard). This adds unneeded whitespace on a page rendered without styles, as well as causing confusion by basically competing against RSS.

    Sadly (and I accept this is still a Beta) Microsoft have not yet delivered a browser which will tempt me back from Firefox. I applaud the embracing of web-standards and the innovation of some of the ideas, but I’m disappointed at the implementation of it all.

  4. admin

    >>If Martin’s getting married tomorrow, why is he unavailable today?

    It was tomorrow yesterday, and today it’s today.. so I think tomorrow it’ll be yesterday. Either way I’m goint to his Party tonight (i think…).. 😉

  5. martin

    Thank you Scott!
    I am a proud user of Firefox too, and, exactly like you, I am sure that for quite a long while it wont be easy that I will abandon it for Explorer.

    Regarding how to make a website render like in previous versions of IE you can give a look to the following white-paper
    Obviously, I agree with you, it’s not the best solution, but it surely will help many of those who have a website that relies on “bad written code” that was relying IE 5, 6 etc…

  6. Duncan

    Someone pointed out that the so-called “security” feature of the new site specific url highlighting, instead of being useful, actually causes more confusion for irregular/ sporadic web-users (basically the sort of user that uses IE).
    I think it’s yet another example of generations of bad design at Microsoft, and personally, in my eyes, they can never redeem themselves, especially when they continue to spew out lies and propaganda in the wake of new releases (IE8 passes Acid 2 anyone? No it doesn’t…)
    It’ll be interesting to see what bugs this version throws up for sure.
    They(Microsoft) have it in their power to turn IE into a “good” browser, they just don’t.
    It’s gotten to the point now that it’s just shameful.