October 13, 2008

Today Internet Explorer 8 Beta 2 is available for downloading. Microsoft will release the final version of Internet Explorer 8 at the end of this year.

All of you know that it will be more standards-compliant in the content rendering behavior. But also a new version of this popular browser will have a lot of features which can be useful for users and web developers.

There are some of them:

  • Accelerators
  • WebSliences
  • Search providers
  • Search suggestions
  • Developer tools
  • InPrivate browsing
  • Deleting data for not favorite sites
  • Browser security settings
  • Ajax navigations
  • DOM storage
  • 6 connections to the host (instead of 2)
  • CSS 2.1 support
  • W3C ARIA support
  • JSON Support
  • Javascript improvements
  • XMLHTTPRequest improvements
  • And others

And I’m going to tell you about the features for developers in detail.

Web standards compatibility

The new version of IE is said to be CSS 2.1, W3C ARIA and HTML 5.0 compatible. And there is good news for developers whose web applications work properly for IE 7 or earlier and they don’t want to rewrite the layout. Using a special meta tag instructions you can choose an engine for your web-site rendering. For example:

<!– Tell IE8 to display in IE7 Strict mode -->
<meta http-equiv="X-UA-Compatible" content="IE=EmulateIE7" />

Javascript improvements

  • Fast arrays handling
  • Strcat now is faster than ArrayJoin for small and large strings
  • All methods for strings handling were improved
  • Garbage Collector improvements.

Developer tools

IE 8 developer tools allow developers to debug javascript and make in place HTML and CSS changes. It also contains a profiling tool which can be helpful for checking the application performance.

Ajax navigations and DOM storage

IE 8 is said to support the development of much better Ajax applications. For example, it now treats windows.location.hash updates as navigation. You can therefore navigate using the back and forward buttons in Ajax applications, as on other web pages, something that was not possible previously and which was a source of irritation for users.

Thanks to the use of DOM Storage from HTML5, the browser can now store large data volumes locally. As the new connectivity events allow developers to check whether the browser is online, applications can be written to like Google Gears, which works both online and offline.

Let’s wait for the release to see IE 8 in action!


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