New Microsoft browser not terrible

Modern web development

Microsoft gave us tech bloggers a sneak peak at their new IE8 web browser the other day.

On the whole I like it. In several areas, IE8 catches up in features to other modern browsers. In other areas, it introduce a few new tricks other browsers could learn from.

IE8 does still retain the bizarre menu button placement introduced by IE7, as well as the generally Vista-ish (read tacky) look and feel of the chrome. This is probably enough to keep me personally from using it. What can you do. The important thing, the really important thing, however, is that a lot of other people start using it.

As far as functionality IE8 is one big step forward for Microsoft. And IE8 should be a good thing for the web. Some people will complain that the browser does introduce a number of new proprietary/non-standard features but you don’t have to use them. On the contrary, IE8 looks to be much more compatible where it counts as far as CSS and fundamental webstandards compatibility.

Modern versions of firefox, safari, opera are really great browsers and have been for years. If you’ve got one of these you are doing just fine. Nonetheless, stubbornly millions of people and far too many IT departments are still stuck way back on IE6. The F&*#&ckers. This is a problem. Maybe a problem only Microsoft can fix.

So it’s great news than, for the first time in many years, MS will have a browser worth using. How they plan to convert all those old IE6 & 7 users I don’t know (the process hasn’t gone so well for Vista you know). But if it can be done, if IE8, Firefox, and Safari can become the new baseline for the desktop web, than we could really get back to building some wonderful things. And web designers everywhere would just have to find something else to spend their time swearing about.

You can play with IE8 beta2 yourself if you like.

graphic: Modern Web development [circa 2006], Alan “IE users must die” Foreman

  • IE 8 is better but it still way behind FF v3. I think the biggest momentum changer for FF might be Firebug. It makes it so much easier to build and debug AJAX/JS development environments. The result is that most people develop for FF first ( Facebook is a great example of this ) and then ‘make it work’ for IE. As long as this is true I think FF momentum will continue. The IE developer tool bar and the IE 8 developer tools are still way behind, if MS were smart they would buy or build a clone of Firebug…

  • IE 8 is better but it still way behind FF v3. I think the biggest momentum changer for FF might be Firebug. It makes it so much easier to build and debug AJAX/JS development environments. The result is that most people develop for FF first ( Facebook is a great example of this ) and then ‘make it work’ for IE. As long as this is true I think FF momentum will continue. The IE developer tool bar and the IE 8 developer tools are still way behind, if MS were smart they would buy or build a clone of Firebug…

  • There’s definitely two sides to it, the developer perspective and the common user perspective. Dev’s may be happy and comfortable carrying on with FF as their main developer environment. However, if certain IE8 features like webslices or what-have-you turn out to actually drive some more and meaningful volume to your site, then you may find yourself wanting to spend more time supporting/coding for IE.

  • There’s definitely two sides to it, the developer perspective and the common user perspective. Dev’s may be happy and comfortable carrying on with FF as their main developer environment. However, if certain IE8 features like webslices or what-have-you turn out to actually drive some more and meaningful volume to your site, then you may find yourself wanting to spend more time supporting/coding for IE.

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