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Microsoft's Internet Explorer 8 chasing Apple's Safari

post #1 of 60
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Microsoft on Wednesday previewed the next generation of Internet Explorer, promising greater interoperability with modern Web standards that have thus far eluded the Windows-based browser and plagued developers' attempts to author truly browser and platform independent web sites.

Speaking at the company's MIX08 online technology conference, Microsoft browser chief Dean Hachamovitch said Internet Explorer 8 delivers better predictability when designing sites, and will feature full support for cascading style sheet (CSS) 2.1 when it's finally issued to manufacturing.

A beta, due for release later in the day, will also include a handful of new end-user features in addition to several developer-oriented debugging tools, both of which the Redmond, Wash.-based firm hopes will provide an edge in its ongoing battle with rival partners Google and Mozilla (Firefox) for maintained supremacy on the web.

Among the top enhancements for end users is a service-related mapping feature reminiscent of embedded Google Maps called "Activities," and another akin to the Web Clips feature of Apple's Safari browser, dubbed "WebSlices."

Microsoft describes Activities as "contextual services to quickly access a service from any webpage," allowing users to bypass the process of, for instance, copying a street address from one website and then pasting it into the website of a mapping service to bring up its location.

"For example, a user is interested in a restaurant and wants to see the location of it," the company said. "This is the form of a "look up" Activity where the user selects the address and views an in-place view of the map using his favorite map service."



In addition to Microsoft's "LiveMaps" service, the default Activities contextual menu lists about a half-dozen of the software giant's other services, in addition to links for "Share on Facebook" and "Add to Digg."



Meanwhile, WebSlices appear to be a near facsimile of Web Clips without a separate runtime environment like Dashboard: "Internet Explorer 8 Users can discover WebSlices within a webpage and add them to the Favorites bar, a dedicated row below the Address bar for easy access to links. Internet Explorer 8 subscribes to the webpage, detects changes in the WebSlice, and notifies the user of updates."



Other features of Internet Explorer 8 include a links bar (similar to Safari's Bookmarks Bar) that has been renamed the "Favorites Bar," an "Automatic Crash Recovery" tool, and an improved anti-phishing filter.

Also on Wednesday, Microsoft released a beta version of Silverlight 2, its competitor to Adobe's Flash for rich, cross-platform media content on the web, and dropped hints that the software could eventually make its way to Apple's iPhone.

"We're releasing Silverlight on more and more mobile platforms, said Scott Guthrie, Microsoft's Corporate Vice President, Developer Division. "We'll release it on anything with an SDK."
post #2 of 60
Good news! I am all for web standards and Microsoft products that work better! RRRrar!

-Thunk Different

post #3 of 60
barf on MSFTs interface design
post #4 of 60
Why bother with a story regarding a piece of software that does not exist anymore for Mac's OS?
post #5 of 60
Quote:
Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post

Why bother with a story regarding a piece of software that does not exist anymore for Mac's OS?

Well, a lot of Web designers use OS X, and the prospect of cutting development time with complex layouts by 50% (if it really does support standards this time) will allow many to meet the own family again.
post #6 of 60
yuck. ie is so screen hungry. it really annoys me that it takes so much vertical screen real estate. i keep having to redesign my websites after i look at them in ie. it is just visually wasteful.

ditto on the first commentor. i am all for better microsoft products. it is nice that apple can serve as a good example.
post #7 of 60
Just to be fair, Microsoft had a Links Bar, waaaayyyy before Safari did, but it was not turned on by default.
post #8 of 60
'Chasing'? Har. Har.

As a web designer, I'm glad Microsoft is finally working toward better web standards, something they started putting some energy into with IE7. I think it is only because they got scared when Firefox started gobbling into their share. Progression of the internet always seems to be hanging off Microsoft's dragging feet, so any improvements in IE can be considered a good thing.

But there are few reasons to actually use Internet Explorer (unless you depend on a priority site like Paragon, and its web support, even with a lot of work, will still be ages behind Safari. It is all good news for a web designer, but it is only good news for a consumer as potential advancement down the road.
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post #9 of 60
A little history lesson on IE and the Mac found at Wikipedia:

"As a result of the five-year agreement between Apple and Microsoft in 1997, it was the default browser on Mac OS before it was replaced by Apple's own Safari web browser in 2003.

Internet Explorer for Mac remained available for download from Microsoft until January 31, 2006. However, no major updates had been released since March 27, 2000, aside from bug fixes and updates to take advantage of new features in Mac OS X.

On June 13, 2003, Microsoft announced that it was ceasing further development of Internet Explorer for Mac. The browser was not included in default installation of Mac OS X v10.4 "Tiger" which was released on April 29, 2005.

Microsoft discontinued support for the product on December 31, 2005 and removed the application from their Macintosh downloads site on January 31, 2006. Microsoft recommends "that Macintosh users migrate to more recent web browsing technologies such as Apple's Safari."


Given the history, why on earth would anyone using a Mac care to embrace IE (again)? Especially when there are so many more better alternatives.
post #10 of 60
No one using a Mac would embrace IE again because this is about IE8 and Safari for Windows users.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dhandler View Post

A little history lesson on IE and the Mac found at Wikipedia:
Given the history, why on earth would anyone using a Mac care to embrace IE (again)? Especially when there are so many more better alternatives.
post #11 of 60
"WebSlices"
"Favorite Bar"

They didn't even take an effort to think of original terms not similar to Safari's!

I just hope they make the thing run faster and not take forever to start
post #12 of 60
The real question is, is it faster?
post #13 of 60
Quote:
Originally Posted by reallynotnick View Post

The real question is, is it faster?

Feels "Snappier."



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post #14 of 60
Great, the majority of web users are still using IE6, never mind IE7, all for IE8 if it's actually web standards compliant as IE7 was SUPPOSED to be. Looks like I'll be adding yet another IE style-sheet to my clients websites.
post #15 of 60
Quote:
Originally Posted by dreyfus2 View Post

Well, a lot of Web designers use OS X, and the prospect of cutting development time with complex layouts by 50% (if it really does support standards this time) will allow many to meet the own family again.

Well, it will be years before we get all users to use IE 7, let alone IE 8, so don't make plans with the family just yet. You'll still have to ensure backwards compatibility for quite a while after this ships. And when will this ship, by the way? Knowing MS, it'll be at least 2010.

The majority of web surfers are still using IE 6, although that number is shrinking by the day. Can't escape that for now.
post #16 of 60
One of the oddest decisions in IE7 was the removal of the menu bar. What kind of sense does that make? Sure, you can show it again by hitting alt, but thats hardly obvious... Every other windows (or Mac) program ever made has a menu bar (except games etc of course).

I hate to say it, but for me Microsoft's implementation of WebClips seems more convenient - I have my browser open all the time and being able to mouse over (or click?) a button to see a little bit of a website would be quite useful for sites I check all the time...
post #17 of 60
Quote:
Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post

Why bother with a story regarding a piece of software that does not exist anymore for Mac's OS?

Quote:
Originally Posted by dhandler View Post

Given the history, why on earth would anyone using a Mac care to embrace IE (again)? Especially when there are so many more better alternatives.

IE is the most prolific browser. All other browsers are affected by what IE is doing or has done. Regardless of the OS, browser of choice or technical level, this will affect everyone who uses the internet.

The big news missing from the article is that IE8 will be MS' first Acid2 compliant browser. Also, as of this past Monday, MS announced that IE8 will default to standards compliance mode. Where as before, MS developers were expecting web designers to add a tag to their pages to make IE8 render pages according to the open standards it supports. That would prevent it from ever passing the recently finalized Acid3 test.

While a small victory at this point, this is exactly what is needed for open standards to win out.

On Acid 3:
As of today IE8 passes 17/100, Firefox 2 passes 50/100, Firefox 3 (beta) passes 67/100, Safari 3.04 passes 41/100, Safari 3.1(beta) passes 76/100, and the most recent WebKit build pass 90/100,

PS: Oddly, Safari and WebKit have been failing the Acid2 test upon refresh for several months now.
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post #18 of 60
Quote:
Originally Posted by gwilli View Post

Great, the majority of web users are still using IE6, never mind IE7, all for IE8 if it's actually web standards compliant as IE7 was SUPPOSED to be. Looks like I'll be adding yet another IE style-sheet to my clients websites.

Good heavens... why are you using so many?
For the vast majority of work it should be possible to use a single style sheet with only a little bit of trickery to get around problems -- unless you're trying to do some stuff much to advanced for Internet Explorer. Hopefully IE8 will be quite compatible with the sort of styles you would deploy for all the other browsers out there.
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post #19 of 60
Quote:
Originally Posted by Xian Zhu Xuande View Post

Good heavens... why are you using so many?
For the vast majority of work it should be possible to use a single style sheet with only a little bit of trickery to get around problems -- unless you're trying to do some stuff much to advanced for Internet Explorer. Hopefully IE8 will be quite compatible with the sort of styles you would deploy for all the other browsers out there.

The proper way to get around IE specific problems isn't to write hacks, it's to use conditional comments to pull in different style sheets if your website is having problems with specific versions of IE. Works a treat, and means that you can make adjustments if your site's playing up in IE6 and not IE7 or visa versa, and means your CSS will validate.

http://csstinderbox.raykonline.com/?p=17

IE7 was pretty close to hitting the spot, and transparent PNG's was a big bonus.
post #20 of 60
Oh that's a good one. IE chasing Safari. Watch out Safari ... here comes IE.
post #21 of 60
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

IE is the most prolific browser. All other browsers are affected by what IE is doing or has done. Regardless of the OS, browser of choice or technical level, this will affect everyone who uses the internet.

The big news missing from the article is that IE8 will be MS' first Acid2 compliant browser. Also, as of this past Monday, MS announced that IE8 will default to standards compliance mode. Where as before, MS developers were expecting web designers to add a tag to their pages to make IE8 render pages according to the open standards it supports. That would prevent it from ever passing the recently finalized Acid3 test.

While a small victory at this point, this is exactly what is needed for open standards to win out.

On Acid 3:
As of today IE8 passes 17/100, Firefox 2 passes 50/100, Firefox 3 (beta) passes 67/100, Safari 3.04 passes 41/100, Safari 3.1(beta) passes 76/100, and the most recent WebKit build pass 90/100,

PS: Oddly, Safari and WebKit have been failing the Acid2 test upon refresh for several months now.

Can someone point out to me what is the point of the Acid tests besides bragging rights...
post #22 of 60
Looks like Microsoft is trying to resurrect "smart tags" in IE, after pulling them years ago due to the uproar over copyright, privacy, etc..

Ooh, but now they're called "Activities." Maybe no one will notice/remember...
post #23 of 60
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave K. View Post

Can someone point out to me what is the point of the Acid tests besides bragging rights...

The Acid tests are used establishing baseline interoperability between web browsers. The Acid3 test is testing any open standard that is after 2004. I believe it tests DOMs, HTTP, CSS, Unicode, ECMA, SMIL, SVG.

If you can think of a better way for web browsers to find a common ground then have at it. The good news is that MS is following suit.
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post #24 of 60
Quote:
Originally Posted by gwilli View Post

Great, the majority of web users are still using IE6, never mind IE7, all for IE8 if it's actually web standards compliant as IE7 was SUPPOSED to be. Looks like I'll be adding yet another IE style-sheet to my clients websites.

Not according to our sites stats...

IE6 in green
IE7 in blue



Browser share for good measure

post #25 of 60
Quote:
Originally Posted by tacojohn View Post

Not according to our sites stats...

Wow! I didn't know Safari has so much.
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post #26 of 60
Did anyone notice Microsoft's SDK remark?
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

"We're releasing Silverlight on more and more mobile platforms, said Scott Guthrie, Microsoft's Corporate Vice President, Developer Division. "We'll release it on anything with an SDK."

It seems like they're hinting that once the iPhone SDK is out, they'll build Silverlight for it. Adobe should pay attention to this.
post #27 of 60
Quote:
Originally Posted by gwilli View Post

The proper way to get around IE specific problems isn't to write hacks, it's to use conditional comments to pull in different style sheets if your website is having problems with specific versions of IE. Works a treat, and means that you can make adjustments if your site's playing up in IE6 and not IE7 or visa versa, and means your CSS will validate.

Ah, no argument there. But I was thinking more along the lines of designing pages which are actually compatible with the various browsers without a need for multiple style sheets. And using various conditional selector 'hacks' you can build in support for older IE browsers without losing validation or breaking things up. I guess it depends on the work you are doing.

IE7 finally offers excellent CSS support and implementation, though the box model (as you probably know well) is still jacked up a bit. CSS2 introduced a whole new mess of bugs and Microsoft has a lot of work to get proper support going in that area. There's no sense in talking about CSS3 just yet.
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post #28 of 60
WTF?

Web Slices require website developers to create custom code on their site. It's in no way like Web Clips. You can't just clip out any part of any site.

Activities are nothing like Google Maps. Google Maps is a service. Activities are more like Data Detectors in Apple Mail. Again you have to implement custom code on your site using an XML OpenService (an MS definied standard) file and add an install button to your website the user clicks, which apparently only works when IE8 is NOT RUNNING IN STANDARDS MODE.

Both these new features are described at http://code.msdn.microsoft.com/ie8whitepapers

If Apple were to add Data Detectors to Safari and open the DD API out to 3rd parties so they could add their own services, they'd have a solution that would totally anhilate 'Activities' as Data Detectors would work on sites without having to add special code.
post #29 of 60
Quote:
Originally Posted by tacojohn View Post

Not according to our sites stats...

Here are some statistics for a site that links a few popular video games to historic studies. It has a large following of youth and academics alike. Firefox seems pretty similar, but Safari isn't quite as frequently used. Perhaps due to a percentage of browsing from various schools.

Month-to-date.

Browser - Hits - Share
MS Internet Explorer\t469159\t63 %
\tFirefox\t237989\t31.9 %
\tSafari\t14550\t1.9 %
\tOpera\t11448\t1.5 %
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post #30 of 60
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

Wow! I didn't know Safari has so much.

I wouldn't say our stats are the end all be all- every site is different...

BTW- IE8 is out for download if anyone cares.
post #31 of 60
Quote:
Originally Posted by JDraden View Post

Did anyone notice Microsoft's SDK remark?
It seems like they're hinting that once the iPhone SDK is out, they'll build Silverlight for it. Adobe should pay attention to this.

Seems very likely. They had Silverlight for OS X at the same time it was available for WIndows. I can't remember MS ever doing that.
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post #32 of 60
http://marketshare.hitslink.com/report.aspx?qprid=3

Here's a good tracker of browser marketshare. On their estimations IE7 overtook IE6 in December 2007.

Standards are a good thing. Glad MS is moving slowly slowly slowly in the right direction. (While they seem to be doing their old proprietary tricks in other areas! argh...)
post #33 of 60
Quote:
Originally Posted by CommodityFetish View Post

http://marketshare.hitslink.com/report.aspx?qprid=3
Here's a good tracker of browser marketshare. On their estimations IE7 overtook IE6 in December 2007.
Standards are a good thing. Glad MS is moving slowly slowly slowly in the right direction. (While they seem to be doing their old proprietary tricks in other areas! argh...)

The amalgamated IE browsers show that they are losing a little marketshare each month. Just a few 10th of a percent, but it's consistent. I have no desire to see MS lose there majority share in the browser market so long as they as conform to open standards. Unfortunately, it seems the only way they will conform is to lose marketshare.

I think WebKit based browsers will beat out FF over the few years if MID become half as popular as the iPod. There just isn't another engine that works well on the mobile platform.
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post #34 of 60
why no css3 support?

post #35 of 60
Quote:
Originally Posted by mariofreak85 View Post

why no css3 support?

I don't believe IE7 has full CSS2 support. In usual MS fashion they will add some of the more common and popular CCS3 support, but that is it. I can't even find evidence that IE8 will fully support CSS2.
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post #36 of 60
Quote:
Originally Posted by mariofreak85 View Post

why no css3 support?

I'll be happy if they can get CSS2 working.
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post #37 of 60
Quote:
Originally Posted by Xian Zhu Xuande View Post

I'll be happy if they can get CSS2 working.



I found this funny except when looking for IE8's CSS2 compliance...

"A coworker and I were talking about IE & CSS (or perhaps I should say cursing it) one day, and we agreed upon a projected timeline of when Microsoft would get it right. In IE8, CSS2 will finally be fully implemented. In IE9, the CSS2 implementation will be fixed to actually work properly. In IE10, some CSS3 will be supported, and by the time IE11 is released we will have gotten enough people to use good web browsers that it won't matter anymore."

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post #38 of 60
Quote:
Originally Posted by dreyfus2 View Post

Well, a lot of Web designers use OS X, and the prospect of cutting development time with complex layouts by 50% (if it really does support standards this time) will allow many to meet the own family again.

Wrong! Unfortunately we have to code our pages for yet another browser because all the deployed sites with IE workarounds will now be broken, so a lot of stuff will need to be re-tested/re-coded. And, who ever heard of computer technology enabling more time with the family - that went the way of the paperless office back in the 80's. No time off for you!

Life is too short to drink bad coffee.

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post #39 of 60
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post

Wrong! Unfortunately we have to code our pages for yet another browser because all the deployed sites with IE workarounds will now be broken, so a lot of stuff will need to be re-tested/re-coded. And, who ever heard of computer technology enabling more time with the family - that went the way of the paperless office back in the 80's. No time off for you!

I think the major hack breaking took place with IE7. That shouldn't be as great an issue with IE8, especially with it following so close on the heels of IE7. And if people have been version targeting in the way Microsoft suggested nothing much should break. IE7 is a pain, but it isn't too hard to get working properly (as long as you don't get too ambitious).

But yeah... nobody in the technology field will get to see their family any sooner.
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post #40 of 60
Quote:
Originally Posted by gwilli View Post

Great, the majority of web users are still using IE6, never mind IE7, all for IE8 if it's actually web standards compliant as IE7 was SUPPOSED to be. Looks like I'll be adding yet another IE style-sheet to my clients websites.

7's not perfect, but I markup in XHTML Strict and and I'll only occasionally have to use another sheet for 7, it works 95% of the time for me. Hoping 8 pushes that to 100. But as odd as it sounds, thank goodness for Microsoft's conditional comments if it doesn't work.
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