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IE8 goes on an Acid2 trip; beta due in first half of 2008
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Thu Dec 20, 2007 10:01 am Reply and quote this post
Since getting Internet Explorer 7 out the door in October 2006, Microsoft has kept mostly silent on the topic of its successor. That changed today, as Microsoft made a couple of significant announcements about IE8.

Gates: Next IE to be IE8




Internal builds of Internet Explorer 8 have passed the Acid2 test,a complex rendering test designed to demonstrate a browser's compliancewith the letter of the HTML and CSS specs. Currently, Mac OS X browsersOmniWeb and Safari and cross-platform Opera pass the test, as do the betas of Firefox 3.0.
Internet Exporer 8.0 Screenshots and Features

Although Acid2 has become a significant benchmark for standardscompliance, it's not really a true standards compliance test. In 2005,IE developer Chris Wilson referredto it as a "'wish list' of features" the test's authors would like tohave supported in a browser. Still, it's an important milestone for theIE and its developers, as the application has been criticized over theyears for its lack of compliance with standards—including by Opera inits antitrust complaintfiled with the European Commission last week. (In fact, if the releaseversion of IE8 supports Acid2, Microsoft could argue to the EC that itis at least as standards-compliant as the competition.)
Better interoperability and support for web standards are highpriorities for the IE8 team, according to IE general manager DeanHachamovitch. "The key goal (for the Web Standards Project as well asmany other groups and individuals) is interoperability," wroteHachamovitch on the IEBlog. "As a developer, I'd prefer to not have towrite the same site multiple times for different browsers... Withrespect to standards and interoperability, our goal in developingInternet Explorer 8 is to support the right set of standards withexcellent implementations and do so without breaking the existing web."A laudable goal, to be sure, but the millions of users still on IE6ensure that the problem won't be going away anytime soon.
The IE team has to walk a fine line between tight support for W3Cstandards and making sure sites coded for earlier versions of IE stilldisplay correctly. Hachamovitch notes that web developers have had todevelop sites with two audiences in mind: IE users and everybody else."We have a responsibility to respect the work that sites have alreadydone to work with IE," he says. Microsoft's goal with IE8 is a browserthat renders the same pages that work in IE6 and IE7 while making "thedevelopment of the next billion pages, in an interoperable way, mucheasier."
Microsoft will reveal more information on IE8 during its annual MIX Conference in March 2008. The company does plan on releasing a public beta of IE8 some time during the first half of 2008. If the dev cycle for IE7 is any indication, the final version of IE8 should ship 9 or 10 months after the first beta arrives.
Internet Exporer 8.0 Screenshots and Features

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