Last week the boys over at Microsoft launched the first beta of Internet Explorer 8, you can download it now from http://www.microsoft.com/windows/products/winfamily/ie/ie8/readiness/Install.htm (be warned its a beta so could go pear shaped yada yada ya)
Reading through the docs, looks like the main new thing with this version is improved compliance. Finally, it might be possible to create a website that looks (and behaviors) the same in all the Major browsers, without having to put in a lot of extra code and css. Only question I have is why the hell has it taken them so long (and were they scared by the impending release of Firefox 3?)
However, not to jump on the Microsoft bashing bandwagon to much, there are a couple of cool new features in there that might prove to be useful. You can read more about them at Readiness Toolkit page, but they are:
- Activities – Now when you click on the IE8 page menu, you get a list of activities you can perform on that page. These include thing like sharing it on Facebook, Digging the page, Translating the page, blogging the page etc. There is a framework for this that allows you to create your own ‘activities’, so you are not limited to what they want.
- Webslices – This for me is the most interesting new function. You can add some code to your websites so that the user can subscribe directly to content on your page. Its kind of like a better version of RSS integration with the browser. You can do things like subscribe to Friend status’s on Facebook, when you hit the webslice (it lives in the favorites bar) a drop down appears with pics of your recently updated friends, there status and the time of the status. I am going to try and code a simple one for this website hopfully this week, and ill post my findings up.
Something else that occurs to me is that are they trying to take on traditional RSS feeds with there webslice function, and how long will it be until there is a Firefox extension that will emulate it?