March 20, 2009

Internet Explorer 8 is final

The new version of Internet Explorer has just come out of beta and is a seriously huge step for a company like Microsoft. While it still has problems handling JavaScript (and thus, it doesn't pass the Acid3 web standards test), it has several end-user features that people will definitely like.

OK, maybe most of these features have already existed in the form of a Firefox extension (but some IE8 features were inspiration for some extensions as well) or just derived from several browsers outright (but then again, I'm not complaining about that), but it definitely lays some innovations in the table. And yes, those features just might be worth the traditional reboot after installation.

Web Slices
Just as Safari lets you select a part of a webpage to post into Mac OS X's widget environment, Internet Explorer 8 lets you get up to date on the several parts of a specific website. A fine example of what you can do with Web Slices is shown above.

Unfortunately, you'll have to install this add-on as it isn't built-in with the browser.

Although it's present in specialty browsers like Flock, Internet Explorer 8 gives the masses a more comprehensive list of shortcuts or "accelerators" to choose from. Let's say you don't know the meaning of the word "schadenfreude" and you see the word on a webpage. Double-click that word and several options will appear. It's either you blog it, find it on Wikipedia, etc. etc. etc..

Domain Highlighting
It sounds like a subtle cosmetic change, but it's a rather important security feature. Why? Because usually people don't get conscious of the URL when they could be accessing a fake site, I mean, you can know if a website is phishing you and stealing your information by just looking at the URL, but one will not do this always especially when the domain name isn't even noticeable. OK, Chrome users already know this, but since IE8 is a mainstream browser, it's all for the good.

Color-coded tabs
Complementing the domain highlights are the color-coded tabs. Basically, IE8 gives websites of the same domain the same color of tabs, so you can know whether that website you just accessed suddenly brought you to a fake version of it. In theory, that is.

Compatibility mode
Since Microsoft made Internet Explorer 8 a little more standards-compliant, there is bound to be a few issues involving old websites designed for older Internet Explorer versions. You can access this via a button beside the Refresh button. Just hope that you won't mistaken the two of them.

Individual tab management
While IE8 won't be able to let you rip tabs to form another window, you'll be able to have the benefit of a feature similar to Chrome. Let's say a tab froze up because of a plug-in like Adobe Reader or Flash. Usually, you'll have to press Ctrl+Alt+Del and terminate all important data in all the other tabs, well not anymore. You can just exit that tab and continue the work you've been doing in the other tabs.

InPrivate Browsing
Just like Safari's Private Browsing and Chrome's Incognito mode before it, Internet Explorer lets you surf like a rockstar without leaving evidence. Still, the parents have the upper hand if they are tech-savvy, because they can enable Parental Controls and simply disable this feature.

Cross-site scripting filters
Internet Explorer 8 promises to be the most secure browser in the planet, and the efforts show. With cross-site scripting filters ("cross-site scripting" involves one site sending err, messages to another one, hackers may use this system to put malicious code into genuine websites), Internet Explorer 8 finds out whether this is occurring and stops you from going inside the site.

Smart Search
Now when you type a search term, Internet Explorer gives you results as you type- and they're illustrated too!

Admittedly, I won't go back to Internet Explorer unless I'm desperate, but version 8 is very compelling nonetheless. Download it now.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks, Ive always wondered wha tthe Accelerators were.

    I like using IE for a few things. Actually if it has to deal with my class work then I have to sometimes use IE as they seem to make some of the software only compatible with IE.


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