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Internet Explorer 8 Beta 1 start page.
Microsoft throws out some fresh beta software for everyone to try.

DailyTech reported last month that Microsoft was on the verge of releasing test versions of the Internet Explorer 8 (IE8) web browser. Microsoft made good on that promise today with the public release of IE8 Beta 1 at the MIX Conference in Las Vegas.

The beta browser is available for a wide range of Windows operating systems including Windows XP SP2, Windows Vista and Windows Server 2003 SP2. According to Microsoft, IE8 Beta 1 will not install on "prerelease versions of Windows Vista SP1" or "checked versions of Windows".

IE8 includes a number of new features including the "Activities" contextual data management service, a new Favorites Bar, an improved Phishing Filter, Automatic Crash Recovery and “Webslices”.

Microsoft software architect Alexander Strauss goes on to explain Webslices, stating, “Webslices are simply portions of arbitrary websites to which a user can subscribe to. This enables a user to have updates of sites he regularly visits right at his fingertips without navigating to the respective sites. A webslice behaves just like an RSS Feed. The slice itself will be added to the Favorites bar of IE8 when a user subscribes to a webslice. In order to subscribe to a slice it must be discovered. The discovery is quite easy as IE8 will display a special symbol if a page offers a Webslice.”

IE8 will face some stiff competition from Mozilla later this year. Mozilla's Firefox 3.0 web browser is currently in the Beta 3 phase and has received generally favorable reviews around the web.

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That was quick!
By kibets on 3/5/2008 6:14:04 PM , Rating: 2
Seems like just a year ago they launched IE7 (which I use and love). Now we have IE8 with more features still!

RE: That was quick!
By bunnyfubbles on 3/5/2008 6:48:15 PM , Rating: 5
You can thank FireFox for that. Competition FTW.

RE: That was quick!
By BruceLeet on 3/6/2008 5:35:19 PM , Rating: 2
Maybe so.

We're getting IE8 because of can we expect IE9 with Vista's SP2? Assuming there will be a 2nd service pack with a more 'features'.

Or will "IE9" be released with Windows 7?

RE: That was quick!
By MattCoz on 3/5/08, Rating: 0
RE: That was quick!
By othercents on 3/5/2008 6:56:44 PM , Rating: 1
I still haven't migrated my office over to IE7 because there are websites we use for business that are IE6 only.


RE: That was quick!
By michal1980 on 3/5/08, Rating: 0
RE: That was quick!
By MattCoz on 3/5/2008 7:32:59 PM , Rating: 3
Ok, for Microsoft it's quick. IE6 to IE7 was an eternity.

RE: That was quick!
By Ryanman on 3/6/2008 3:39:06 PM , Rating: 2
I think taht it's insane ANYONE is looking forward to IE. Are you serious? All of their browsers are abysmal compared to Mozilla.
Obviously you're one of those people who never explored a second option when it came to web browsing.

RE: That was quick!
By mechBgon on 3/7/2008 12:28:09 AM , Rating: 2
All of their browsers are abysmal compared to Mozilla.

Try enterprise management, configuration, enforcement and auditing of a fleet of several hundred (or several thousand) browsers sometime. Microsoft can do this using Group Policy, and has been able to do it for the better part of a decade. The "stiff competition" still has nothing, as far as I'm aware of.

RE: That was quick!
By TomZ on 3/5/2008 7:48:10 PM , Rating: 1
What websites are IE6 only? I wonder what would make it IE6 only in the first place?

In my experience, as a user, I haven't come across even a single web site that doesn't work properly with IE7. But maybe I have just been lucky.

RE: That was quick!
By arazok on 3/5/2008 8:01:11 PM , Rating: 2
Anything made for business.

I've developed a few online apps that are IE6 only, although with Vista out, IE6/7 is pretty much a must do now.

You might love firefox, but as far as your system admin is concerned, it's not doing much that IE can't do. Therefore - not installed.

It also makes my life easier, and keeps development costs down.

RE: That was quick!
By LongTimePCUser on 3/5/2008 10:35:35 PM , Rating: 2
Right. Anything made for business that explicitly tests the browser version for IE6 and puts up an error message if anything else is found.

RE: That was quick!
By retrospooty on 3/5/2008 8:01:36 PM , Rating: 2
Some Corporate and financial stuff as well as alot of companies internal Intranet.

RE: That was quick!
By retrospooty on 3/5/2008 8:04:08 PM , Rating: 2
I should have added that its not that it wouldn't necesarily work, its that alot of sites like that are coded to allow IE6, if browser = IE6, continue, if not equal to IE6, halt.

Its generally rule based, not tech based.

RE: That was quick!
By TomZ on 3/5/2008 11:14:42 PM , Rating: 2
There's an easy workaround for that - just use a utility that sends an IE6 user agent string in IE7:

But really, requiring a specific web version, and then not testing and updating for a newer browser version that's been out 2-3 years, is pretty lame on the part of the web developers. Can't really blame Microsoft for that.

RE: That was quick!
By andrep74 on 3/6/2008 3:15:38 AM , Rating: 1
Well, the right way to do it is to test for the specific capability you need rather than for a specific browser.

The "not testing and updating for a newer browser version" is a pretty naive statement: it assumes that the developers are still around to do so, and are being paid to do so. Businesses don't normally pay for an application used in-house and then pay for maintenance of the code when it still works on the browser it was originally designed against. It's the same reason I've seen 3rd party apps being used on a Windows NT 4.0 machine ten years after that OS was released: saying it's lame that it hasn't been updated to run on Vista would be like saying it's lame that your 1996 Camaro doesn't run on ethanol.

RE: That was quick!
By Snuffalufagus on 3/6/2008 3:39:29 AM , Rating: 3
"it assumes that the developers are still around to do so, and are being paid to do so. Businesses don't normally pay for an application used in-house and then pay for maintenance of the code when it still works on the browser it was originally designed against. It's the same reason I've seen 3rd party apps being used on a Windows NT 4.0 machine ten years after that OS was released:

That's exactly what good businesses do. If they cannot afford to then they can always use virtualization or other alternatives to continue using their legacy applications. I can't think of many reasons everyone should need to wait for some outdated tech to come up to speed so everyone else can move on.

RE: That was quick!
By johnsonx on 3/6/2008 12:05:12 AM , Rating: 1
it isn't so much public websites, or even corporate intranet websites that require IE6. It's server based applications that use browser windows to display the application's GUI to the user. In many cases the user might not even realize that it's being done through a browser. These sorts of business apps are the ones that tend to be IE6 specific (though in my experience so far, most have now been updated for IE7). In many cases, they simply won't work in any other browser. These are also the ones that only work with Microsoft SQL Server, IIS 6, etc. Deploying in a MySQL, Apache, Tomcat, Firefox environment simply isn't even an option.

Another example of a program that uses IE that many users don't realize is QuickBooks... my understanding is almost everything displayed by Quickbooks uses the browser's page renderer. If you run Quickbooks, installing IE8 beta may not be a good idea (NOTE: I'm not saying I know that, I haven't tried it, haven't read anything about it; I'm just giving an example). Back when IE7 first came out, Quickbooks would bitch and moan if you installed it, though I don't recall any actual problems with 'normal' functions.

RE: That was quick!
By 3v1lkr0w on 3/6/2008 5:42:58 AM , Rating: 2
The only time i use IE is at work cause the Air Force uses IE...we just moved over to IE 7 a few months ago too...I use Firefox at home on my computers...Firefox FTW!!!

RE: That was quick!
By Shoal07 on 3/7/2008 12:43:36 PM , Rating: 2
We're still on IE6 here at work - come to think of it, I've never seen an IE7 on a work/business machine. Also, while the beta may have been out 2 1/2 years ago, the final "pushed by windows update" version hasn't been out that long.

Webslice/IE Only WWW stuff
By Ashrac on 3/5/2008 6:13:26 PM , Rating: 4
So these webslices will be IE only again. I really hate IE only features that are so far from conforming to any sort of uniform coding standards.

Nothing makes me more annoyed then being FORCED to use IE to display content on a site. Unless it's a super important site (which I then use firefox's IE Tab for) 99% of the time I will just not bother loading the site at all.

More proprietary IE only site coding/browser features does not make your browser better Microsoft!

By GaryJohnson on 3/5/2008 6:26:00 PM , Rating: 2
It sounds like webslices won't affect the accesibility of the sites they are hosted on in non-IE browsers.

RE: Webslice/IE Only WWW stuff
By TomZ on 3/5/2008 7:52:06 PM , Rating: 5
So these webslices will be IE only again. I really hate IE only features that are so far from conforming to any sort of uniform coding standards.

Innovation trumps standardization in this case. Microsoft seems to be creating something new, and no open standard exists for it; therefore, they are creating a defacto standard. Probably other web browsers will fall in line and implement this.

I love how people bitch and moan about Microsoft not being innovative, and then when they are, people complain that Microsoft doesn't adhere to the least common denominator (web standards in this case).

I think people like you might want to think about your expectations of Microsoft and decide if they really are reasonable.

RE: Webslice/IE Only WWW stuff
By Ashrac on 3/5/2008 8:21:11 PM , Rating: 2
Don't get me wrong Tom, I'm not anti-Microsoft by any means. And my annoyance isn't so much at their innovation as it is by their ignoration(is that even a word) of certain standards. In order for there to even be multiple browsers there has to be some set of standards, now if webslices worked with RSS feeds, or some sort of javascript coding it would be one thing, but when it becomes so particular to IE only it is more a hassle then it is useful.

Now I do feel that part of the problem is in website developer's hands. When they make a site that only works properly in IE, and don't put in coding to use the site functionality within another browser, however stuff like these webslices, and ActiveX controls just make the problem worse.

And as far as other browsers adding the functionality, won't this feature most likely be patented by Microsoft, and aren't they normally not very open with this sort of proprietary coding. ActiveX comes to mind again.

RE: Webslice/IE Only WWW stuff
By TomZ on 3/5/08, Rating: -1
RE: Webslice/IE Only WWW stuff
By Spivonious on 3/6/2008 9:01:47 AM , Rating: 2
ActiveX has been dead for quite a while. Now MS is putting their support into Silverlight, which will work in IE7 and Firefox (no Safari guarantees that I know of, but I'm sure they'll add it to the list).

RE: Webslice/IE Only WWW stuff
By Pirks on 3/5/08, Rating: 0
RE: Webslice/IE Only WWW stuff
By Master Kenobi on 3/5/2008 9:47:48 PM , Rating: 5
Maybe there is a way to do innovative things while adhering to standards and maybe using some help from open source community, like Apple does?

Hmmm, Apple generally ties it down to their own systems. If you want to use the Web Clip Dashboard, you have to buy a Mac. At least Microsoft is just pushing a browser download, until Firefox and Opera include this as well.

RE: Webslice/IE Only WWW stuff
By Pirks on 3/5/08, Rating: -1
RE: Webslice/IE Only WWW stuff
By JoshuaBuss on 3/5/2008 11:09:17 PM , Rating: 2
what? microsoft makes IE for windows, mac, and it runs under linux fine too with wine.

RE: Webslice/IE Only WWW stuff
By wien on 3/5/2008 11:28:08 PM , Rating: 2
No they don't. IE is Windows only. The last IE for Mac was 5.5. Once they got control of the market, support for other platforms suddenly went away.

RE: Webslice/IE Only WWW stuff
By TomZ on 3/5/08, Rating: 0
RE: Webslice/IE Only WWW stuff
By Master Kenobi on 3/6/2008 8:30:40 AM , Rating: 5
Because it's Microsoft. If it was Firefox or Opera that did this, everyone would cheer wildly.

RE: Webslice/IE Only WWW stuff
By xti on 3/6/2008 10:52:39 AM , Rating: 2

Testing out beta right now
By JamRockaz on 3/5/2008 10:17:05 PM , Rating: 2
writing this from IE8, it seems ok so far. quite fast too, if would have a more clean and streamlined interface I would most def use it over FF. for a beta it seems quite stable. I'm running vista Ultimate x64

RE: Testing out beta right now
By peritusONE on 3/5/2008 10:24:54 PM , Rating: 2
Fast and stable here so far as well on Vista x86 Ultimate, although I've simply done standard web browsing. The Developer Tools (shortcut Alt+Y) is a neat little "app". I was surprised at how much info it gives and how cleanly it presents it.

RE: Testing out beta right now
By Belard on 3/5/08, Rating: 0
RE: Testing out beta right now
By johnsonx on 3/6/2008 12:07:52 AM , Rating: 3
Your check from Opera is in the mail.

RE: Testing out beta right now
By TomZ on 3/6/2008 12:28:59 AM , Rating: 2
Opera only becomes useful when it gets enough marketshare to where web developers regularly test their sites with it, as they do with IE and FF.

Because they don't, using Opera requires you to have a backup browser (IE or FF) ready to go for the sites that don't work properly. And in my opinion, the benefits of Opera don't overcome that inconvenience of maintaining both browsers and switching between the two.

RE: Testing out beta right now
By BruceLeet on 3/6/2008 6:23:39 AM , Rating: 2
Thought Id give it a go as well, my first time navigating to the you-tube-dot-com to try and find the whole world what I was looking for my IE8 suddenly crashed could be Java or my Adobe Flash plug-in.

Yes everytime I try to go to youtube with IE8 it crashes, good thing I have Firefox. I just realized it was two times in a row and I didn't send the error report =o surely they'd make IE8 reports priority?

RE: Testing out beta right now
By spe1491 on 3/6/2008 12:18:22 PM , Rating: 2
I'm am also using the beta right now.
I have found that there are a few sites that will only run if you have the 'IE7 Emulation' turned on.
Windows Update, MS Update, and Hotmail are ones that I have found so far that require this.....
Also, I am on a XP SP2 install, other than the sites that require the IE7 emulation I've not noticed any issues as far as stability - but just installed it about an hour ago.

By Necaradan666 on 4/1/2008 5:42:47 AM , Rating: 2
I tried the beta, but I found it extremely raw at the moment to actually use for anything other than beta testing.

There are alot of important fucntions not implemented that make it hard to use for normal browsing, such as right-clicking on a favourite to open in a new tab.

I don't like the the new favourites bar either, I use Windows Live Toolbar just so I can install the Favourites button to store my favourites online and sync them to all my PCs. With the addition of the extra bar I'm losing too much screen real estate. If they would include the Windows Live Favourites functions onto this bar it would be far better imo.

So what
By Hulk on 3/5/2008 6:47:42 PM , Rating: 2
For me web browser software is like word processor, spreadsheet, or other office apps; evolved past the point I required long ago. Shoot, even video editing applications and other more intense applications are almost there.

Seems like when an application has been developed for about 10 or 15 years all of the big work is done and it's just polishing.

RE: So what
By JoshuaBuss on 3/6/2008 12:39:41 AM , Rating: 2
how can you say that when there are new standards and tools developed for the web every day? Try using a neat web 2.0 app like meebo with a 10 year old browser..

By ncage on 3/5/2008 9:12:24 PM , Rating: 2
Dang and i was wishing we would see an interface change. I guess not. I don't much liked the interface of ie7. I think the interface of ie6 was better. Microsoft has a HUGE budget for the usability studies it does and i don't know if everything things the interface sucks as much as i do. Some of the new features (webslices) seem pretty cool though. I doubt it will ever make me give up firefox. I would miss my favorite extensions like adblock, flashblock,NoScript, Ect.....

RE: interface....
By andrep74 on 3/6/2008 3:19:37 AM , Rating: 2
Try IE7 Pro.

They can release IE10
By electriple9 on 3/6/2008 8:20:53 AM , Rating: 2
Even if they released Internet Explorer 10, I am still going to use Firefox, and even I will go to Opera before Internet Explorer.

RE: They can release IE10
By majorpain on 3/6/2008 8:51:59 AM , Rating: 2
unless they get a working version of IE that runs under linux without using wine, i will hardly test any IE version...
Cant really imagine giving up all the addons of FF to use IE anyway.

IE8 beta.
By peritusONE on 3/5/2008 8:01:11 PM , Rating: 2
Just installed the beta, and so far so good. There's definitely some visual quirks at some of my favorite websites already, but I'm looking forward to trying it out. The new Activities feature looks pretty awesome, I hope to get some use out of it.

SP3 beta
By neihrick1 on 3/5/2008 8:58:39 PM , Rating: 2
if you have XP sp3 rc1 installed, this wont install. i uninstalled sp3 and it installed, seems pretty neat. Installing xp sp3 rc2 now and see if it breaks.

Another IE, more bugs to hack around
By wien on 3/6/2008 12:15:57 AM , Rating: 2
Great. Another IE version and another slew of bugs I have to work around. Not one of the quite significant number of sites I've made this last year works correctly in the beta. I get everything from minor rendering errors to complete Javascript meltdown. These are sites that work perfectly without any browser-specific hacks in Firefox, Opera and Safari.

You know, for a while there I actually believed them when they said IE8 would be a major step forwards in terms of standards compliance, but I see now how foolish that was. It may support ACID2, but what good will that do when the features not covered by that test still are horribly wrong? This time they can't even blame it on backwards compliance like they did with the mess that was IE7. This time it's just pure incompetence.

This now makes three separate versions of IE I will have to create elaborate workarounds for so as to not come off as an incompetent fool to people who have no idea what a rendering bug is. If the site looks bad it's obviously my fault as it's my name down at the bottom of the page. Must be great to be Microsoft and have an army of web-developers working their asses off to cover for your failings.

At least this time I can use the new "act like IE7" tag as a quick fix until they actually manage to write a somewhat compliant engine.

Fingers crossed for IE9?

Opera 9.2x is still better...
By Belard on 3/6/2008 6:19:44 AM , Rating: 2
While the basic Opera is a bit bland, it takes seconds to change its skin to something quite a bit nicer.

The functionality, the ease of use - Opera is easier to use than IE7/8. Geez, Microsoft forgot HOW TO MAKE A MENU bar... it goes along the top below the TITLE BAR! Not between the address bar and the TAB buttons. And its locked in. And you have buttons over on th left...

Opera's TAB management smokes IE7 (unless you're just that HARD used to IE7). It has a NEW TAB button that doesn't move. You can completely customize the look of the browser, including the general color. At the bottom, I turned on the VIEW bar, which gives me a FIND window which SMOKES IE/Firefox in locating words on a webpage. Try it, you'll love it. Also this bar has a quick button for turning graphics on and off and the ZOOM function.

Opera properly displays web-site logos in TABS and address bar that I NEVER see in IE. The TABS in Opera include Thumbnail views, quite handy.

If you try out OPERA (its 100% FREE, no ADS, about a 5mb download - TINY) Select the LIX 1.5 skin, it LOOKS great with WindowsXP Media Center Edition. Built in Search for Bookmarks when using the PANEL function (Left side panel, like in IE). Opera is easy to find, the website name is the same... opera ;)

“So far we have not seen a single Android device that does not infringe on our patents." -- Microsoft General Counsel Brad Smith
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