What’s New in Internet Explorer 8 Beta 2?
For those of you who have been waiting to see what Microsoft has been cooking up for the standards-based Web, dinner is served! Released to the Web in August 2008, Internet Explorer 8 Beta 2 delivers much more than just a snack for today’s ravenous tech-savvy users. Internet Explorer 8 Beta 2 dispenses a four-course meal guaranteed to please even the most discriminating of palates.
All of this talk about food makes me hungry, so let’s dig in. Internet Explorer 8 Beta 2 is the latest installment of Microsoft’s Web browser and includes new features for end users and developers alike. From in-box Developer Tools, to Web Slices and Accelerators, to improved performance and a platform built for today’s Web 2.0 applications, there is plenty to feast on in Internet Explorer 8 Beta 2.
Internet Explorer 8 Beta 2 represents the third release of Internet Explorer that I have personally had the privilege to participate in and it outshines any browser we have shipped to date.
The Microsoft Internet Explorer team’s goals for the final Internet Explorer 8 Beta 2 release remain: to fully support CSS 2.1, to improve script performance, to enable new Web scenarios by including early HTML 5 support, to ship built-in developer tools, to integrate Web services into the user’s workflow through Web Slices and Accelerators, and to strengthen Internet Explorer’s foundation in the security and privacy realms.
This article briefly introduces the features included in Internet Explorer 8 Beta 2. For more in-depth discussion, see the other articles written by the Internet Explorer team in this issue of CoDe Focus.
Heaping Helpings for the Developer
Top this meal off with our integrated Developer Tools. Debugging and profiling your content or script has never been so easy.
Predictability: Interoperable Version Targeting
Improved standards support in Internet Explorer 8 Beta 2 makes developing sites that work across different browsers simpler and less time consuming. Internet Explorer 8 Beta 2 includes upgrades to the Web platform, compatibility, and functionality designed to keep you on point creating high-quality interactive experiences, not debugging browser interoperability issues.
Internet Explorer 8 Beta 2 interprets Web content in the most standards-compliant way it can. This simple statement turns out to have complex ramifications. Thankfully, Internet Explorer 8 Beta 2 delivers a model that both protects current content from client changes and enables adoption of new exciting features.
In addition to the “Standards” and “Quirks” modes widely understood from past versions of Internet Explorer, Internet Explorer 8 Beta 2 ships with a third layout mode-Internet Explorer 7 Standards mode. With this layout mode, Internet Explorer 8 Beta 2 renders pages in the same way that Internet Explorer 7 renders its “Standards mode” pages. It’s also the quickest option for getting existing content to display correctly in Internet Explorer 8 Beta 2.
You tell Internet Explorer 8 Beta 2 to display a site or page in Internet Explorer 7 Standards mode by simply adding a meta tag. No additional changes are required. <meta http-equiv="X-UA-Compatible" content="IE=7">
Upon page load, Internet Explorer 8 Beta 2 reads the tag and switches the browser to interpret all content on the page as Internet Explorer 7 Standards instead of Internet Explorer 8 Standards. For more details, see “Making Your Website Compatible Across Multiple Versions of Internet Explorer” in this issue.
Power/Performance: AJAX Improvements
One of the great benefits of implementing AJAX-and really, one of the main reasons it exists-is the ability to update page content without navigating to a new page. With this convenience, though, come drawbacks that can confuse users. On an AJAX-heavy page, the Address bar is not updated with each update. Subsequently, the browsing history isn’t updated either.
To enable AJAX navigations, Internet Explorer 8 Beta 2 in Internet Explorer 8 Standards mode treats updates to the window.location.hash property like traditional navigations. When the hash property is updated, the previous document URL (which may be from the previous hash fragment) is updated in the Address bar and the travelog. At the same time, a new hashChanged event is raised, and the hash URL fragment is saved before navigating away from the page.
On AJAX-enabled pages that take advantage of this new functionality, when AJAX content changes, navigation is as seamless as usual, but the user can back up and go forward as if the AJAX navigation was a traditional navigation.