Thoughts on Internet Explorer 8 from the Technical Director

27 April 2009 - 12:00am -- Room 108

Because he took the plunge before me I asked Darren, the technical director here at Room 108, about IE 8.

How long have you been using Internet Explorer 8?

I have used Release Candidate 1 since its release at the end of January 2009 and have been using the final release since 19 March 2009.

What is the biggest difference between IE 7 and IE 8?

  • Accelerators which allow access to several features such as search from the right click menu
  • URL highlighting which shows the main URL in black and the rest of the URL in grey. This allows you to see the main site you are on easily and helps prevent phishing attacks.
  • URL predication when typing in the address bar is significantly better, you can delete directly from the drop down list which means you can tidy miss spelt URLs quickly.
  • Built in developer tools, no more downloading a separate application
  • Colour coding of tabs opened from another web page
  • If tab crashes it recovers the tab and will automatically switch to IE 7 compatibility mode if that was the reason.
  • Reload previous session
  • Compatibility button next to address bar, this allows user to switch into IE 7 compatibility mode

Fundamentally the browser is the same and the user experience is not significantly different.

How did you find using IE 8 when you first installed it?

I had some issues with plug-ins not being enabled, which meant I had to download new versions. The main issue is visiting old sites that break in IE 8. This seems to be mainly due to the use of Flash or JavaScript.

What features do you like best in IE 8?

Being able to select a word in a web page and search Google using the right click menu

Are there any features that have been removed from IE 8 that you now miss?

None that I have missed so far.

Have you been facing any issues with websites not rendering correctly under IE 8 that are working correctly in IE 7?

Yes, predominantly sites using Flash but I have also seen some sites which do not work at all. There is a button in the address bar which will reload the page in compatibility mode and web designers can make a small change to an existing page which forces IE 8 to use IE 7 compatibility mode.

Some sites also show JavaScript errors but I have not seen as many of these since installing the final version.

Would you recommend users upgrade to IE 8?

Yes, the URL colouring will help with security and the browser is supposedly faster although I cannot comment on that.

IE 8 also has In Private browsing which enables users to surf without leaving a trace of the websites visited on the computer, although this may break most sites due to it disabling items like cookies and plug-ins.

IE 8 is also more standards compliant then previous versions meaning that more websites will render as the web designer would want.