Thursday, March 6th, 2008
Microsoft has released the first beta of Internet Explorer 8. I won’t give a final assessment of its standards support and whatnot until the final release, but here are some of my impressions on the beta so far:
- It’s really really slow. I feel almost like I’m using Amaya. In particular, the Web Devout site is nearly unusable because the heading backgrounds take forever to render (they are just tiled 2×1 alphatransparent PNGs).
- Switching to IE 7 mode requires a browser restart. That’s a little annoying, especially since it doesn’t gracefully restore your session like Firefox does during addon changes.
- It broke the Web. I took a run through Alexa’s top 20 sites (cue rant about Alexa’s methodology), and about half the sites had big glaring display glitches. Yahoo is busted up, CNN is bleeding content… even Microsoft’s own Live.com looks like it has seen better days. I predict that the Web is about to have a lot more meta tags.
- Web Devout’s headings are standing tall, but not very proud. It looks like IE 8 has a problem with negative margins in generated content. In fact, IE 8 seems to have lots of problems with generated content (which I pretty much expected). Other than that, it’s actually making a good effort at rendering Web Devout properly without any IE-specific rules that apply to IE 8. Still not up to scratch with the other browsers, though.
- IE 8 still fails 9 tests in the brief CSS test suite I made for IE 7 a while ago.
- Did I mention it’s really slow?
Keeping in mind what IE 7 beta 1 was like, I’m hoping IE 8 will improve a ton before the final release. But for now, the browser is too slow and buggy to actually use, and it doesn’t help web developers much because there will probably be a lot of additional changes before anything in the engine is final. I’ll dive into it more once Microsoft announces that it’s layout-complete.