Microsoft Released Internet Explorer 8 Today
Microsoft released Internet Explorer 8 today after a somewhat long period of betas and release candidates. After trying out the browser I have to say that I am pretty impressed; the browser has taken a big leap forward since the previous version. There are many great new features, and the support for web standards has increased remarkably. I would seriously consider switching over to IE8 as my primary browser, if Firefox did not have all the great plug-ins I have gotten used to and a great database for bookmarks.
One of the new features that impressed me the most is the new Developer Tools. This feature is heavily inspired by the Firebug plug-in for Firefox, which is essential for web designers. I have not had a chance to play much with this feature yet, but from what I can tell so far it looks like it will be an invaluable tool for debugging websites in IE8. It also seems to have some nice features that Firebug is lacking, one of them being HTML and CSS validation. The Developer Tools also has a great looking CSS view, and finally view source is color-coded which makes code a lot easier to read. The Developer Tools also gives the opportunity to switch to IE7 rendering, but I am not sure if this will replace testing IE7 in a virtual machine. Some features that Microsoft innovated that you might want to check out are Web Slices and Accelerators. And I do love how the search providers have the latest favicons; it always bugged me how Firefox uses an old icon for Google. Another little gem is when you open several bookmarks (favorites in IE parlance) in a Tab Group, all the tabs get a new color, which is different from all other tabs.
Websites I have visited so far seem to render fine in IE8, I have not had any problems so far. I do I remember though the first time when I tried viewing this website in an early beta of IE8, I had some rendering bugs, mostly with margins if I recall correctly. I did not fix these quirks and the final version of the browser renders the website perfectly so it looks like the engineers fixed what was ailing. All in all, IE8 is a great browser with a beautiful GUI, it looks like they drew some inspiration from the upcoming Windows 7.