What’s new in Internet Explorer 8.0
written by craig, 6 March 2008
The battle for browser domination continues and Microsoft have recently announced some of the new features for IE8.0. All in all, things are looking up for IE. Here are a few features that caught my eye…
WebSlices are a little like ‘livemarks’ in Firefox. It allows you to view updates to a section of a webpage without visiting it, e.g. see the latest stock price or auction value.
According to MS, WebSlices use “a combination of the hAtom Microformat and the WebSlice format to describe a subscribe-able portion of a webpage”. It makes me nervous when MS ‘adapt’ existing standards, but it seems like a good idea.
Activities are like a combination of Microsoft’s smart tags and browser extensions. An ‘Activity’ menu can appear next to an item, like an address, and offer several options, e.g. show a map, blog about this, etc.
Activities are defined in XML and must be installed by clicking a link. For that reason, I’m not sure they will catch on … will I need to install a separate mapping activity for every website I visit? The same effects can be achieved on every browser (without installation) using microformats and/or DOM scripting. I’ll reserve judgment on this one until I see it.
A new tool will be available for developers that allows DOM, CSS, layout, and script inspection and debugging. It’s Firefox’s Firebug extension in IE and looks almost identical, which is great news for developers.
It also goes to show that Microsoft are seriously trying to catch up with innovations created by the open source community.
CSS 2.1 compliance
It’s about time – the specification’s been around since 2002!
It sounds like some good enhancements will be available for AJAX and XMLHTTPRequest (which MS invented). Whether it’ll be realistic to use them will depend on other browser manufacturers agreeing to implement the same methods.