Since Microsoft's Internet Explorer team woke up from its several-year-long slumber and started releasing new browsers again, development seems to have been going along at a reasonably rapid pace. Internet Explorer 7 came out late last year, and now a post on the official IE blog reveals that Microsoft is preparing to release the first beta of IE7's successor, Internet Explorer 8, some time in the first half of next year.
The software giant hasn't talked much about what kind of features and improvements users can expect in the upcoming browser release, but it did reveal something that might make web developers happy. In the blog posting, Microsoft claims that IE8 successfully passes the Acid2 test—a benchmark of browser standards compliance. Currently, both Internet Explorer 7 and Firefox 2.0 fail to render the Acid2 test properly, whereas Safari, Opera, and Firefox 3 beta releases successfully do so. Or at least, they did until recently: according to this entry in Mozilla's bug tracking system, the Acid2 page is currently "broken" and fails to render properly on any browser.