The second BETA version of Internet Explorer 8 has been released.  If you recall my experience with BETA 1, you'll note that it was slow and a standards failure.

Stunningly enough, BETA 2 is actually a huge improvement.  After a remarkable 11 years, IE8 BETA 2 finally properly renders that 11 year-old standards test for inline padding.

The bizarre random hang-ups from IE7 and BETA 1 where the entire would just lag completely out are now resolved.  Also important is the big improvement on JavaScript performance, now reasonably similar to the competition to be tolerable.

The developer tools are further improved and are now very nice.  Features are extended, including a new private browser option, which is basically a quick way to block cookies to keep your browsing completely within the browser itself and not appear anywhere on the harddrive.

Accelerators are new extensions that allow you to quickly reference content in other sites, such as highlighting a word and choosing the accelerator to find the Wikipedia entry on it.

This blog would not be complete, though, without my continued problems with the browser.  While IE8 has finally fixed the inline padding glitch, it still doesn't fair to well at the Acid3 test:

While browsing is faster and JavaScript improved, the HTML draw speed is still sluggish.  When scrolling, the page can't keep up.  Customization remains an ugly amalgamation of add-ons and Internet options and ultimately little in terms of usability to personalize.

It's not a reason for Firefox or Opera users to jump ship, but it at least puts IE back on the radar.  All things considered, BETA or not, every stubborn IE user should absolutely upgrade.  Internet Explorer 8 BETA 2 is the biggest improvement in IE since IE5.

Posted by Ellyoda Sat, 30 Aug 2008 05:30:22 (comments: 5)
Sat, 30 Aug 2008 07:25:07
I just installed it, and it seems to be working quite well. I'm going to keep using Opera for most of my browsing, though.
Sat, 30 Aug 2008 07:50:04
Oh, cool! IE8 allows for adding RSS feed subcriptions to the Links bar. Now, when you click on an RSS feed, it drops down a list of all the most recent news articles. This is much faster and easier than it is in IE7.
Sat, 30 Aug 2008 07:58:53
I hadn't tried the RSS, but that does sound like a nice feature, particularly for the heavily active feeds like Slashdot.
Sat, 30 Aug 2008 08:27:53
IE8 also has the ability to "preserve favorite website data" when you delete your browsing history. This allows you to "keep cookies and temporary Internet files that enable your favorite websites to retain preferences and display faster."

I just deleted all of my cookies and restarted IE8. Normally, I would have to log into this site again, but with IE8, I didn't have to! Very nice. Happy
Sun, 31 Aug 2008 13:12:02
This site wasn't working at all for me on saturday. What happened?

I hear that IE is going to finally get an anonymous browser?
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