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IE 8 beta finally unleashed at MIX08
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Fri Mar 07, 2008 6:35 am Reply and quote this post
THE MIGHTY VOLE has used the first day ofMIX08, torelease its beta of Internet Explorer 8. Be warned, the release is a very earlybeta developer version, for all those eager-beaver developers who want to get ahead start on preparing their web pages for the new browser. Regular usersshould probably avoid it like the plague unless they have some kind of computerdeath wish. Not to worry though, a later beta for us non-developer plebs will beavailable soonish.
IE8's big feature is, of course, its better standards compliance, meaningthat the Acid2 test, for evaluating CSS 2 compliance, renders correctly. But thecrafty boffins down at the Web Standards Project have a newer, tougher testcalled Acid3, which the Vole's Internet Explorer 8 Beta 1 can't quite seem toget the hang of just yet.
Microsoft has additionally developed a group of CSS 2.1 test cases, which itreckons should make it a bit easier to test specific features and see which bitsare supported and which bits aren't; This shows the company is taking thesestandards (or just the various fines and lawsuits it keeps getting slammed with)a lot more seriously.
The Vole has made sure to add an IE 7 emulation button which switches thebrowser back to a standard IE 7 rendering engine, for those who don't like theirbrowsers to be standard conforming. But in order to use this feature the browserneeds to be restarted. Sigh.
A look at some of IE8's brand spanking new features reveals two worthy of amention, WebSlices and Activities. Activities lets users perform actions onhighlighted text within a Web page, similar to the way in which some Firefoxextensions can be accessed by highlighting text and right-clicking.
The WebSlices feature subscribes visitors to a sort of RSS of the particularsite they want a slice of and puts it in their Favorites tool bar. Once aWebSlice is subscribed to, the user can view content from that site from thetool bar or in a sidebar without having to launch the actual site. For example,users can use Web slices to subscribe to a single eBay auction.
Security wise, a "Safety Filter" replaces the old phishing filter. Users candecide whether to it turn on or off. It supposedly checks to see if a specificsite is known to be a phishing or malware site, and also allows users to reportsites they suspect of being malicious. If the filter is turned on then Web siteinformation will be sent to the Vole's servers.

Contributed by Editorial Team, Executive Management Team
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