As Yuki told us in a previous article, after Microsoft browser's development process has arrived to an end, Internet Explorer 8 Final version is out and available for download for users all over the world. So, I downloaded, installed and tried it in depth. Today I'm going to share with you all the novelties IE8 brings. I will go point by point through the highlights of this browser, reviewing new and interesting ideas such as web slices and accelerators, tools, safety and speed.
After two beta releases, a Release Candidate version and a lot of noise from supporters and detractors, we have the final version of Internet Explorer 8. The truth is that this is one of the most used browsers in the world so all that evolution can't go unnoticed by us. Another fact that can not be denied is that the IE8 developing team has made great efforts both in ideas and in the purification of an important project for the Redmond Company.
Microsoft has attempted to develop a more secure browser, ready to block threats before they reach our computer without the need for third party software. They were also looking for a more user-friendly browser (a bit of the Windows 7 spirit), applying innovative solutions like accelerators, Web slices, visual search... According to Microsoft not only original but also contributing to a better user experience and saving clicks away from putting all you need in the mouse. Point by point will review all these developments to see if they deliver what they promise.
Let's Look Under The Hood
There are two tricky issues that are perhaps the most contentious, they are compatibility and performance. Internet Explorer 8 was born with a "compatibility mode" which lets you view Web pages which use non-standard “tricks” (according to Microsoft) and that IE8 therefore does not properly display. The main problem seems to lie in the fact that IE8 works in standard compatibility mode at its maximum by default, while other browsers are more permissive.
As far as compatibility with Acid 3 still we find the same problem as in RC1. The result is 20 out of 100, although this means some improvement over previous versions, it remains a surprising gap, especially when rival figures compatibility is very high in contrast.
More Functionality with Fewer Clicks
One of the most carefully built aspects in the new Internet Explorer is the user experience. The aim is to provide more powerful features easy to access without the need to open more windows or browsing tabs as well as providing new tools to facilitate it.
The most outstanding fact is that many of these usability enhancements have been made through small ideas, new proposals in functions that seem to have been developed from scratch. One of the objectives is to reduce the number of clicks to access the utilities and used functions without opening new windows or tabs. More features are accessible with fewer clicks.
Using the address bar has changed a lot over time. Once the area where we restricted ourselves to write the URL of the page we wanted to visit has become one of the more developed parts of current browsers, Internet Explorer 8 address bar has also went through significant evolution.
If we begin to write part of a direction, a list of suggestions classified by types will appear (suggestion of URL, historical, favorite, RSS feeds...) that can expand. Moreover, as a novelty, we can delete some of these suggestions, to "clean up" this list and make it more useful the next time we use it.
In general, the searches have received a complete review. To begin with and responding to the popular request, the search dialog box inside a page is no longer is a floating window that covers part of the page and besides it shows the results. Now the dialogue appears under the scoreboards. On the other hand, the search bar has been improved with new functions. In the first place we can add different search engines and manage them. Besides now upon writing a term it will appear a list of so much suggestions of the search engine as of the history. Always to save clicks.
Want more? Visual Search!!
An absolute novelty is the visual search. Upon introducing a term utilizing a search engine that is able to carry out visual searches, not only suggestions will appear in the shape of text but they will show associated images. This is absolutely useful for terms that can be easily associated to its image than to its name.
New Tabs functionality, Accelerators and Web Slices have not been changed significantly since IE8 RC1 and you can see how they work in this article.
The first thing that comes to my mind is to recognize the effort and above all the originality of some of the solutions of proposed navigability by IE8. The proposed complement, the improvements in the searches, the visual searches... all has functioned in an impeccable form. The access to the new functions is intuitive and does not alter the normal browsing habits.
I my opinion, there is some saturation in the menu bar, too many things: Web Slices, favorites and other complements. Something that generates some conflict with the flatness of the navigation window. The possibility to place the different bars and even the tabs in a vertical way should be taken in account in next versions.
Another possible objection is the compatibility, many web pages which are supposedly not so “standard" are incorrectly visualized. Nevertheless, it is true that in comparison with the beta versions, this problem has been highly reduced.
The small improvements as in the tabulation or the search within the page are really welcomed. In final few, very few negative issues in terms of functionality.
Stay tuned, security aspects will be reviewed in an upcoming article.
Have you given Internet Explorer 8 a try? Please, tell us what you think.
Author: Lucas Artigas Review on: Internet Explorer 8.0