Internet Explorer (h)8

Disclaimer: I am writing this entry from Internet Explorer 8 Beta 1 (for Web Developers and Designers). Already I have a problem, as the Title bar is not showing in Blogger like it should. The button text is cut off, and the buttons don’t line up properly. This text editor behaves different too – using the <em> tag for italics rather than the <span style=”font-style:italic;”>. Fair warning that this is probably just the beginning of my irritations with IE 8 beta 1.

I’m calling this post:

IE (h)8

(and I’ll go back and edit it in using a more stable browser once I’m done.)

Last week, at MIX08, they released IE 8 beta 1. I wasn’t at MIX08, but Jeff Blankenburg was and he blogged a little on it. After reading his post, I figured that I’d at least check it out on both of my computers – my beefy gaming laptop (Windows Vista) and my not-so-beefy, mostly neglected desktop (Windows XP). Both machines behaved similarly, which surprised me a little seeing that they are quite different in their setup.

One of the things that IE 8 is pushing is standards. Now this is a sore topic with me, mostly because they’re called “standards”, but there hasn’t been anything standard about various browsers’ implementations of them. It’s always appeared to be a “pick and choose” implementation or a “choose your own adventure” implementation. So why they’re finally getting on board and trying to implement the whole thing is beyond me. But maybe it’s about time the browsers come closer to putting the “standard” in standard.

Viewing various websites through Internet Explorer 8, I had mixed feelings about it. I like that you can easily see where CSS needs tweaking and where people really need to update their code, without really needing to look at the source. I also have to admit that I like the Developer tools. My preferred browser for web development has been Firefox, with the Firebug add-on. The Developer tools in Internet Explorer 8 have that same feel – with the ability to inspect elements just by clicking on them, changing styles with a simple check, or even debugging Javascript. It’s nice to see Microsoft taking this route – definitely a step in the right direction.

From a web developer’s standpoint, I like that the standards are being enforced a bit closer than before.

But from a user’s standpoint, IE 8 just makes me super cranky. I post on various forums, and textareas act really strange. From horrible lag with textareas that use Javascript (but don’t lag in IE 7) to not being able to see what I have highlighted, it’s frustrating. This is what makes me yell it’s abbreviation – “Aieeeeeeee!” These little frustrations are what reminds me of the key word in this release – beta.

If you’re a developer or a designer, definitely check it out, as the Developer Tools have enough coolness factor for me to recommend it. However, if you use a lot of forums that use textareas for posting, have another browser on hand just in case you run into the same headaches that I have. And if you want to download it, there’s a link to it over in Jeff’s post on Dean Hachamovich’s IE8 Keynote.

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