Microsoft: Explorer 8 'Complete And Done' - InformationWeek

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Microsoft: Explorer 8 'Complete And Done'

The software maker says its latest browser is close to final form, but users would like some improvements.

Microsoft's preview version of the Internet Explorer 8 Web browser, released this week, isn't likely to differ much from a final version that's expected to be shipped later this year, according to a company official.

"The technical community should expect the final IE8 release to behave as the Release Candidate does," Explorer general manager Dean Hachamovitch wrote in a blog post. "The IE8 product is effectively complete and done."

Some users who have downloaded the Release Candidate, however, say the browser could still use some work. Posters responding to Hachamovitch's blog reported that IE8, in its present form, has, among other things, problems rendering tables and print views, and trips over tabs in some instances.

"The install of IE8 RCI has been a complete mess," wrote forum user Steve Webb.

Some enterprises may also not be ready for IE8 when it finally ships.

That's because the new browser adds support for Web standards long ignored by Microsoft. "Some of today's Web pages might expect the old, less interoperable behavior from IE," Microsoft Explorer program manager Scott Dickens wrote in a recent post.

"These Web pages might not function correctly, in ways from just looking a bit misaligned to not working at all," wrote Dickens.

While standards support is generally viewed positively in the software industry, most Web developers design sites with Explorer in mind because of its overwhelming market share. Pages built for Explorer 7 or previous versions of the browser might not support the standards that will be built into IE8.

Microsoft testing has revealed that CNN.com, Facebook, MySpace, and BBC.co.uk are among the sites that, in their current configuration, won't display properly in IE8. "Despite all the outreach to sites, we saw from telemetry data that that IE8 Beta 2 users still have to use Compatibility View a lot," wrote Dickens.

Compatibility View is a tool that IE8 users can employ to view pages designed for IE7.

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