IE8 Beta 2 – Initial thoughts

I have installed IE8 and given it the once over. Surprisingly (for me) my initial thoughts are quite positive.

Once I had battled through the install process and IE had confirmed I didn’t have any nasty gremlins lurking on my machine I eventually got presented with the typical “you need to reboot now” screen. Quite why Microsoft products seem incapable of installing something without a reboot is beyond me, but reboot I did.

I loaded IE8 and up came a barrage of screens trying to take over everything I used and rebrand it Microsoft…. it wanted to be my default search provider, IE to be my default browser, live maps to be default for location based things, and Encarta to be my default reference… all a bit much I think, but I guess that’s a different issue.

Being from a web design background I am fully aware of the compatibility issues between IE and well, everything else! As some of you may know, one of the major issues revolves around white space, especially in the vertical plane. I loaded up a few sites side by side in IE and Firefox and they looked surprisingly similar. I then pressed the “compatibility mode” button, new to IE8 and low and behold, in popped the dreaded IE white space. Another press and it was back to normal. Wow, are Microsoft actually getting there with this product? I don’t wish to tempt fate but I must say I am slightly impressed. Whether they succeed in their quest for CSS 2.1 compliance is another matter, but they certainly seem to be off to a good start.

I can’t say I ever see myself using a Microsoft browser as my default choice, but I applaud any effort to prevent us designers from having to design around the quirks of Internet Explorer.

I would be interested to hear what others have to say about this new release, good and bad.

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