Microsoft will soon start encouraging users running old versions of Internet Explorer to upgrade to the latest edition of its browser. People running IE 6 and 7 on Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows Server 2003 and Windows Server 2008 will in the third week of April receive a notification through the Automate Update service that encourages them to upgrade their system to IE 8, Microsoft has said. This is not a hard sell, though. IE 8, released last month, won't start automatically installing itself on your machine - you'll have to opt in, by clicking the install button itself on the update message's accompanying screen.
Internet Explorer Archive
Recently, Microsoft released Internet Explorer 8, which boasted much better standards compliance than previous iterations of the browser. While it passed the Acid2 test, IE8 failed miserably in the Acid3 test, and many people criticised Microsoft for it. Microsoft Australia's Nick Hodge has stated that Microsoft purposefully decided not to support Acid3, because the test tests against draft standards.
About a year after the first beta (which was followed by another beta and a release candidate), Microsoft has announced the release of the final version of Internet Explorer 8, the company's newest browser. The focus of Internet Explorer 8 is better standards compliance, security, and making "common online tasks faster and easier".
Details are scarce at the moment, but testers familiar with the recently leaked Windows 7 build 7048 confirm that Internet Explorer 8 is now an optional component in Windows 7. This is most likely a direct consequence of the EU investigation into the bundling of IE. Still, a few questions remain.
PCMag has listed its 10 favorite Internet Explorer 8 add-ons, with an explanation of new accelerators and Web slices, including a Digg Web slice and a Facebook accelerator. It looks like IE8 will make browsing more efficient with these two new useful features.
IE8 has emerged from beta, with the arrival of its first release candidate. The IE development team now considers the browser platform- and feature-complete, but won't say how long untill it goes gold. PCMag.com got an early look and has posted a full review of Internet Explorer 8 RC1. The release candidate differs only slightly from beta 2, most notably in its InPrivate browsing feature, compatibility view, and improved performance. The browser has also been made more secure, and it gives users convenient new ways to use web resources. IE8's color-coded tab system, improved address bar, and enhanced privacy protections are noteworthy.
After successfully battling Microsoft over the company's bundling of Windows Media Player, the European Union is now ready for more. The European Commission has charged Microsoft with violating competition laws because of the Microsoft's bundling of Internet Explorer with Windows.
Microsoft plans to offer one more public test version of Internet Explorer 8 before releasing the final version of the updated browser, the company said late Wednesday. The next test, essentially a "release candidate" version will come in the first quarter of 2009. That means the final release won't hit Microsoft's initial goal of finishing the browser this year. "Our next public release of IE (typically called a "release candidate") indicates the end of the beta period," general manager Dean Hachamovitch said in a blog posting, "We want the technical community of people and organizations interested in Web browsers to take this update as a strong signal that IE8 is effectively complete and done."
Most of the popular browsers these days are based on one of the two open source rendering engines - khtml/WebKit and Gecko. The most popular browser, however, is based on proprietary technology: Internet Explorer. Even though IE made some progress during the past few years, it's no secret that it took Microsoft far too long to counter the success of Mozilla's Firefox. Currently, Microsoft is working (and thus, spending money) on Internet Explorer 8, and this prompted an audience member during a keynote by Steve Ballmer to ask an interesting question: is it worth spending money on IE, with so many open source engines readily available? Ballmer's reply may surprise you.
The IE team at Microsoft has released the 2nd beta Internet Explorer 8. Contrary to the first beta, which was aimed at developers, this one one is aimed at normal people like you and me. The list of new features and changes is decent, all focused around three themes (marketing alert): "We focused our work around three themes: everyday browsing (the things that real people do all the time), safety (the term most people use for what we've called 'trustworthy' in previous posts), and the platform (the focus of Beta 1, how developers around the world will build the next billion web pages and the next waves of great services)." Go get it.
"Poor Microsoft. This week, the Redmond, Wash., giant is gearing up for the next big release of its Web browser, a leap from Internet Explorer 7 to IE 8. When open-source competitor Mozilla released its last update of Firefox in June, the Web went wild: People downloaded more than 8 million copies in 24 hours. Microsoft's release might not have such a frat party feel. Even as it gears up to release IE 8, the developers behind the Firefox Web browser are experimenting with a new technology that sharpens the threat their browser software poses to Microsoft's most valuable businesses. The new technology, dubbed TraceMonkey, promises to speed up Firefox's ability to deliver complex applications." While many have abandoned Microsoft's browser offerings, Microsoft will be introducing an innovative new type of selective privacy mode called InPrivate with IE8.
"Internet Explorer 8 is set to be Microsoft's most standards compliant browser ever. After originally stating that IE8 would default to the same non-compliant behavior exhibited by IE7, Microsoft relented and plumped for standard-by-default. The first beta of IE8 was released in March and it did indeed default to standards compliance. Web developers have been clamouring for standards compliance for a long time; IE is a long way behind the competition, requiring considerable hacks and workarounds to get pages working properly. IE8 should make things a lot better - but it will still fall far short of the standards set by Firefox, Safari, and Opera. Some of these problems are technical, but others are cultural. Where the other browser developers are open and communicative, Microsoft is still leaving web developers in the dark."
Microsoft plans to make a key Internet Explorer default change to thwart attackers trying to hack into its Web browser. The software maker will enable DEP/NX by default in IE 8 when the browser is running on Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008, a major tweak aimed at mitigating browser-based vulnerabilities. DEP/NX (Data Execution Prevention/No Execute) is already available in IE 7, but it's turned off by default because of compatibility issues.
Ars takes a closer look at the Internet Explorer 8 beta (released yesterday), and concludes. "Niggles aside, IE8 is shaping up quite well. Clearly, a lot of work has been done on standards compliance, and it looks like it's paying off. If IE8's development continues down the path it's on, it will finally be a version of Internet Explorer fit for the 21st century."
Microsoft has released the first beta release of Internet Explorer 8 just a few moments ago. "Download Internet Explorer 8 Beta 1 and put the web at your service for you and your customers. This beta is aimed at web developers and designers to help them take advantage of new features in Internet Explorer 8 that will enhance their websites. Download the beta version of Internet Explorer 8. Internet Explorer 8 is currently available in English and will soon be available in German and Simplified Chinese. Please continue to monitor this page for updates and availability of other languages."
Microsoft decided that due to their new interoperability initiative, they would reverse a previous decision to make IE8 default to the IE7 engine, instead of supporting standards-compliance by default. No article or musing I have yet read has delved into what is increasingly likely, the reason for this sudden change in decision -- and that is this: the mobile web is coming.
"We've decided that IE8 will, by default, interpret web content in the most standards compliant way it can. This decision is a change from what we've posted previously. Microsoft recently published a set of Interoperability Principles. Thinking about IE8's behavior with these principles in mind, interpreting web content in the most standards compliant way possible is a better thing to do. We think that acting in accordance with principles is important, and IE8's default is a demonstration of the interoperability principles in action. While we do not believe any current legal requirements would dictate which rendering mode a browser must use, this step clearly removes this question as a potential legal and regulatory issue. As stated above, we think it's the better choice." Ars has more.
Microsoft has sent an e-mail to a select number of its previous beta testers regarding the upcoming release of IE8 beta 1. "We are nearing the launch of Windows Internet Explorer 8 Beta 1 and we will be making it available for the general public to download and test. IE8 Beta 1 is focused on the developer community, with the goal of gaining valuable feedback to improve Internet Explorer 8 during the development process."
There's been quite the noise on the internet that Microsoft would be supposedly forcing IE7 on customers via Windows Update. Ars dove into the issue, and hands out milk and cookies to everyone while explaining there's nothing to worry about. "They key to understanding what's happening in two weeks is WSUS. WSUS is not synonymous with Windows Update. WSUS is a management tool that works alongside Windows Update to allow IT admins to control how patches and updates are applied across a deployment. If you're an IT shop, run WSUS and have it configured to install update rollups, then you'll be getting IE7 that day. However, by default, WSUS is not set to automatically approve update roll-ups. Equally as important, users who aren't in tightly managed business environments (e.g., most users) will not wake up to find that Internet Explorer has been installed on their Windows XP SP2 systems without their say-so. Fret not: Microsoft isn't making you do it. They're not making anyone do it, not even WSUS users."