Microsoft's Internet Explorer 8 chasing Apple's Safari

Posted:
in Mac Software edited January 2014
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."
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 59
    Good news! I am all for web standards and Microsoft products that work better! RRRrar!



    -Thunk Different



  • Reply 2 of 59
    tacojohntacojohn Posts: 980member
    barf on MSFTs interface design
  • Reply 3 of 59
    anantksundaramanantksundaram Posts: 19,040member
    Why bother with a story regarding a piece of software that does not exist anymore for Mac's OS?
  • Reply 4 of 59
    dreyfus2dreyfus2 Posts: 1,070member
    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.
  • Reply 5 of 59
    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.
  • Reply 6 of 59
    bdkennedy1bdkennedy1 Posts: 1,459member
    Just to be fair, Microsoft had a Links Bar, waaaayyyy before Safari did, but it was not turned on by default.
  • Reply 7 of 59
    '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.
  • Reply 8 of 59
    dhandlerdhandler Posts: 14member
    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.
  • Reply 9 of 59
    bdkennedy1bdkennedy1 Posts: 1,459member
    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.



  • Reply 10 of 59
    nasseraenasserae Posts: 3,153member
    "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
  • Reply 11 of 59
    The real question is, is it faster?
  • Reply 12 of 59
    kasperkasper Posts: 941member, administrator
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by reallynotnick View Post


    The real question is, is it faster?



    Feels "Snappier."







    K
  • Reply 13 of 59
    gwilligwilli Posts: 24member
    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.
  • Reply 14 of 59
    mrjoec123mrjoec123 Posts: 223member
    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.
  • Reply 15 of 59
    eaieai Posts: 417member
    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...
  • Reply 16 of 59
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    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.
  • Reply 17 of 59
    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.
  • Reply 18 of 59
    gwilligwilli Posts: 24member
    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.
  • Reply 19 of 59
    Oh that's a good one. IE chasing Safari. Watch out Safari ... here comes IE.
  • Reply 20 of 59
    dave k.dave k. Posts: 1,306member
    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...
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