Internet Explorer 8 beta 2 arrives, adds new features

Yesterday afternoon, a blogger at Microsoft-Watch put up a post asking readers whether they cared about Internet Explorer 8. That pretty much highlights the disinterest surrounding Microsoft’s upcoming browser. Lack of excitement or not, though, Microsoft has just released the second IE8 beta.

You can grab IE8 beta 2 for Windows Vista, Windows XP, and Windows Server 2003. Although the download only weighs in at 13-23MB depending on the version, Microsoft has packed in a surprising number of features, including the new “standards-compliant” rendering engine that debuted in IE8 beta 1.

In the features department, Microsoft touts new privacy functionality, a search box that shows suggestions and pictures, a dynamic “Suggested Sites” bookmark for users who don’t know where they want to go today, “Web Slices” that let you subscribe to content within a page, and “Accelerators,” which can serve up maps, translations, or dictionary definitions when you highlight a piece of text. There are many more smaller features, some of which look like they’ve come straight from Firefox 3—check out the IE8 tour for all the details.

We gave Microsoft’s latest browser a go, and the new rendering engine very much remains a work in progress. IE8 kept randomly collapsing the TR front page’s leftmost column to an arbitrary height, sometimes hiding the entire column, other times displaying it fully. That’s OK, though. Microsoft has added a button right next to the address bar so users can switch to a less-buggy “compatibility view” when they run into such problems.

Comments closed
    • jsncable
    • 11 years ago

    I love how people whine about free stuff… yes IE does suck.. but it’s worth every penny you paid for it. Firefox is an alternative that is the same price, and is slightly better at a few things, and slightly suckier at a few things. I don’t bother using any others…. i don’t need to use 3 web browser.. I use IE as a primary.. and when it doesn’t work with something I use Firefox, and hope it works.. if it doesn’t then the content provider doesn’t want me using thier website bad enough..

      • toyota
      • 11 years ago

      thats exactly what I do. FF is main browser then IE7 for things that dont consistently work on FF like youtube.

    • Philldoe
    • 11 years ago

    I’ll stick to Opera kthnxbi

      • nstuff
      • 11 years ago

      The better MS makes IE, the better, I say. At least, i won’t be having to deal with something too archiac when i’m forced to use it on someone else’s PC.

      Opera FTW.

    • alex666
    • 11 years ago

    Reading some of these posts, I decided to try the newest Opera and it’s killer, I really like it. Very fast, intuitive controls, great image. If you don’t use it, try it. I’ve tried it off and on over the years, the last time about a year ago and I found it so-so. But this version is terrific.This may become my primary browser. No problems loading pages at all. Thanks to all who suggested it.

      • Usacomp2k3
      • 11 years ago

      I switched a few months ago, and am ready to switch back. There are too many unsupported sites.

        • alex666
        • 11 years ago

        Noted. Thanks.

          • Usacomp2k3
          • 11 years ago

          You might not encounter them yourself. Things like Meebo or my online banking just don’t work right.

          FWIW, I found that there were probably just as many sites that Firefox didn’t render right.

            • Hance
            • 11 years ago

            The question is though whos fault is it. Opera and FF both get much higher scores in all the acid tests. So is it the browsers fault because they do their best to render the broken IE code that most sites are written with or is it the developers fault for writing the broken code for IE in the first place ?

            • indeego
            • 11 years ago

            “FWIW, I found that there were probably just as many sites that Firefox didn’t render right.”

            The reason I like FF is I can really make sites render how *[

    • WaltC
    • 11 years ago

    /[

      • Flying Fox
      • 11 years ago

      q[http://www.techreport.com/discussions.x/13303<]§

        • Meadows
        • 11 years ago

        Exactly, and I’ve been quoting that blog post of his ever since, here and there.

      • Meadows
      • 11 years ago

      Beta software can be exciting, particularly in the case of games, where you might find fun stuff regardless of whether you’re attempting to enjoy it, or are hunting bugs.

      Take a look at World of Warcraft, there’s so much hype around the next expansion that beta keys have been sold for hundreds.
      No more of course, as Blizzard has henceforth tied beta keys to accounts to prevent selling their property, and if the key is traded, both the owner and the user get banned. Still, games are a very good example where even betas can be “exciting”.

      Everywhere else though, beta testers will probably be the minority.

    • onlycodered
    • 11 years ago

    Until I see “awesome bar” functionality in IE, I won’t be switching anytime soon.

      • Meadows
      • 11 years ago

      Care to show your current browser’s “awesome bar” then?

    • Hance
    • 11 years ago

    I ran the Acid3 test on Opera 9.51 (9.52 is out) and got 83/100
    Internet Explorer 8 got 12/100 in normal mode and 6/100 in compatibility mode.
    Firefox gets 71/100

    edit: the score for IE8 should have been 21 not 12. I ran the test twice last night and didn’t get a popup to run an active x control. Today I got the popup and when I let it run IE scored 21.

      • SomeOtherGeek
      • 11 years ago

      And IE6 gets 12/100 too… So, MS is really improving here!! Great job, MS!

      But tell me which browser gets 100/100, I can’t find one…

        • Meadows
        • 11 years ago

        They did fix Acid2 in between, however. I expect the final version to score 2-3 times better, and probably patches will surface later on, as well.

        Besides, my IE8 beta 2 scored 21, not 12 – not saying that’s much more of a miracle, though, but it’s a chance to prove your judgment wrong.

          • Hance
          • 11 years ago

          what did you change on IE8 to get the 21 score or did you go to a different site than the one I linked to ?

          edit: Never mind I got 21 that time. I ran the test twice last night and never got the popup for running the active x control this time I did.

    • pogsnet
    • 11 years ago
      • Usacomp2k3
      • 11 years ago

      Care to elaborate on any of that, or just fanboy response?

        • pogsnet
        • 11 years ago
          • ssidbroadcast
          • 11 years ago

          Fanboy response it is, then.

            • TheEmrys
            • 11 years ago

            Yep. He must be an individual. Just like everyone else.

    • grantmeaname
    • 11 years ago

    could anyone with this beta tell me how well it does on acid 3?

    • Tumbleweed
    • 11 years ago

    #8:
    <i>IE8 may not do really cool stuff other browsers can do like SVG Animation, but at least it will finally render most basic web pages properly (decent CSS 2.1 support).</i>

    We don’t know that yet. That’s what MS *claims* they’re going to do, but we’ve heard that many times before (just look at IE7 for the most recent example). Don’t believe it until you see it.

    • herothezero
    • 11 years ago

    q[<#1, IE is already a slow bloated piece of crap. Try Opera sometime.<]q If they ever fix that abortion they call a user interface, I might reconsider Opera.

      • Hance
      • 11 years ago

      That part is debateable. I have been using Opera for years so what seems to be a goofy interface to most people seems normal to me. When I use IE or FF the interface seems like its screwed up. It really all comes down to what you are used to I guess.

      I will probably grab the beta to try on a machine that I dont actually need incase IE8 nukes something. I got burned by the IE7 beta and ended up formatting a “production” machine because of it. Since that happened beta stuff stays off machines I actually need working all the time.

        • no51
        • 11 years ago

        Opera has the best UI out of the 3. For the skin, I use Breeze Simplified Micro to maximize browsing area. I wish that there was a way to hide the menu bar.

          • BlackStar
          • 11 years ago

          There is: §[<http://operawiki.info/CustomButtons#menu<]§ I always hide the menu bar into a drop-down button, since it's more or less useless. I wish I could do that with Fx...

            • IntelMole
            • 11 years ago

            Tiny Menu is your friend.

    • albundy
    • 11 years ago

    yeah, thats gonna be another big N O for me.

    • alsoRun
    • 11 years ago

    I am using it now. First impression: very fast. As fast as Firefox 3.

    • hubick
    • 11 years ago

    Although I am a Linux/Firefox user, as someone who does web development, this is extremely exciting, and I can’t wait for IE8 users to replace IE7 users. IE8 may not do really cool stuff other browsers can do like SVG Animation, but at least it will finally render most basic web pages properly (decent CSS 2.1 support). The sites I build are simple enough that I shouldn’t have to constantly bash my head against the wall at how stunned IE is.

      • dragmor
      • 11 years ago

      Your in lala land buddy. It will be another year at least before IE6 market share drops below 20% on the www. Much, much longer if you count corporate intranet applications.

        • hubick
        • 11 years ago

        Did I imply I thought it would happen soon? I just said I can’t wait, I have no illusions about adoption rates.

        At least with my personal fun sites, I can say “upgrade to a standards compliant browser or bugger off” in a year or so after IE8 is released.

    • PRIME1
    • 11 years ago

    I was happier with FF3.0’s performance increase over any feature. The JS bump should be great to.

    I think that’s where IE needs to focus. Slow ass POS.

      • A_Pickle
      • 11 years ago

      I agree…

    • Krogoth
    • 11 years ago

    Who cares?

    Browser wars was so 1990s………..

    Web standards are uniformed and consistent that being a web developer is child’s play. Oh wait.

      • A_Pickle
      • 11 years ago

      Yeah, but… I don’t mind added features…

      • Meadows
      • 11 years ago

      You posted the exact same nonsense like 8 times in a row now.
      Apparently you know nothing, because browser makers continue to disregard your opinion. There is money in advertising and, most importantly, you should care since they’re trying to please you a bit more with every new version. Users really only experience benefits, but if you don’t even care, then you’re welcome to use Internet Explorer 3 or something and see how much you enjoy it.

        • Krogoth
        • 11 years ago

        Wow, sarcasm and humor are utterly alien concepts!

        Therefore, everything I read and hear must be taken literately and within context!

          • Meadows
          • 11 years ago

          It would be easier if I could understand your English.

            • Zhaine
            • 11 years ago

            It would be easier if you weren’t so incredibly hostile all the time. I read here a lot though I rarely post, and every time I see your name in a comments thread I sigh, and tend to give up reading because I know it’s going to turn into a flamefest.

            Regardless of whether I agree or disagree with you, you just compelled by some higher power to be a jerk. . . Why?

          • tfp
          • 11 years ago

          When most of your front page posts are of this nature what should people think?

    • leor
    • 11 years ago

    l[<"Suggested Sites" bookmark for users who don't know where they want to go today,<]l i like the reference to the old 90s microsoft tag line.

      • Usacomp2k3
      • 11 years ago

      I saw that too. Brings back memories.

    • aleckermit
    • 11 years ago

    two words:

    Fire

    Fox

      • toyota
      • 11 years ago

      thats one word not two. lol. anyway until Firefox and Flash learn how to work together like they do in every browser I will still use IE7 for youtube vids and gametrailers.

        • axeman
        • 11 years ago

        That has nothing to do with Firefox AFAIK, it’s just that the Flash ActiveX for IE sucks less than the Netscape-style plugin.

          • toyota
          • 11 years ago

          it doesnt matter because the important thing is that it doesnt consistently work. in fact it screwed up tonight while trying to watch a vid so I had to copy paste to IE7 to watch. its ridiculous and Flash and FF need to sort this shit out. there have been shitloads of threads about this issue on Mozilla forums and all they do is blame Flash. well guess what we NEED Flash so fucking sort it out with them…

            • BiffStroganoffsky
            • 11 years ago

            Install IEtab and tell it to spawn whenever you are on youtube.

            • toyota
            • 11 years ago

            not sure exactly what that means…

        • maroon1
        • 11 years ago

        Flash videos work perfectly fine on my Firefox !

        I’m not sure why you are having problems

          • aleckermit
          • 11 years ago

          Flash works in FF for me too…

          • toyota
          • 11 years ago

          its not just me as there have been tons of threads about this in their forums. it happens randomly so its not every site and its not every day. youtube videos work about 20% of the time. its been a MUCH bigger issue on Vista and it doesnt matter which version of FF I use.

    • Kent_dieGo
    • 11 years ago

    In a choice between fancy new features vs. speed and reliability I will always choose speed and reliability. I like IE7’s clean functional look but I turn off features such as phishing filter for speed and reliability. Lets hope IE8 does not deviate from Microsoft’s design philosophy and become a slow bloated piece of crap. Leave all the fancy features for the competition.

      • Hance
      • 11 years ago

      IE is already a slow bloated piece of crap. Try Opera sometime.

        • ScythedBlade
        • 11 years ago

        Actually Opera is a slow bloated ******* piece of **** …

        I know … don’t you ******* give me fake benchmarks, because **** …. 4chan animated gifs load faster in IE than in Opera …

        And to think I would be convinced about Opera’s speed …

        On the other hand, firefox did a decent job loading gifs …

        Edit: Oh yea I forgot about the front page … sorry about the words …

          • Hance
          • 11 years ago

          Cussing on the front page is a really bad idea mkay.

      • 5150
      • 11 years ago

      What, you’re on TR singing the praises of IE!? Blasphemy!

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