New IE8 Crashes The Browser Party

Microsoft's not taking the launch of Chrome lying down, with promising new features like Crash Recovery and private browsing for for the final IE8

The Internet Explorer team is on a roll, with the second beta of IE8 already out and a final release due by the end of the year. As promised, standards support is vastly improved: according to lead program manager Doug Stamper, "We're now 'CSS 2.1 property complete', meaning we've implemented every property in CSS 2.1 and closing in on our goal of complete support for the CSS 2.1 specification by the time we release."

IE8 now defaults to standards mode, only dropping into Compatibility View when the user requests it (or when you are browsing intranet pages, although you can adjust this setting if it annoys you). Compatibility View essentially forces the browser to emulate IE7.

For users, security and anti-phising mechanisms have been improved, there's a Safari-style private browsing feature and a Firefox-style search suggestions feature, plus you can take advantage of Accelorators and Web Slices. The former adds useful services to the right-click menu, such as "define", "map", "blog" and so on, and the latter enables site owners to nominate Slices that users can access from their Favourites bar, without having to load the entire page. To date, the Accelorators are largely based around Microsoft products, but new ones can be created with a few lines of XML.

Under the hood, IE8 promises to be more stable - like Chrome - it uses multiple processes to prevent a problem in one tab from bringing the whole browser down - and offers Crash Recovery to kill and relaunch misbehaving pages or applications. It's not revolutionary, but it's a vast improvement over previous versions and it's good to see that all the talk of standards support wasn't a load of hot air. All Microsft needs to do now is persuade every IE6 user to upgrade. At gunpoint, if necessary.


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