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Internet Explorer 8 Pops Up In Beta

Next version of Microsoft's browser emerged at MIX08

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The answer to the question “how long until IE8 will be ready for download” turned out to be 3pm ET today.

A funny thing happened on the way to the Internet this afternoon. A few websites noted Internet Explorer 8 emerged as a beta download.

Several clicks and a restart later, we have IE8 Beta 1 for Developers running on Windows XP SP2. First order of business? The Acid2 Test of course!

Where previous versions of Internet Explorer, including IE7, bombed out of Acid2 in knee-slapping fashion, IE8 renders it as well as Opera ever has. Microsoft’s chest-thumping about better standards compliance has proven accurate, at least by one measure.

The company also described the two big new features in IE8, called Activities and WebSlices. Activities enable the use of web services provided by Microsoft and other activity providers directly from text highlighted on a page and right-clicked by the user.

WebSlices enable people to subscribe to content directly within a webpage, as though it were a feed. Developers define parts of a web page as a WebSlice. From the WebSlices whitepaper:

WebSlices are enabled by adding HTML annotations directly to the Web page. WebSlices use a combination of the hAtom Microformat and the WebSlice format to describe a subscribable portion of a Web page.

People who subscribe to a WebSlice will be able to keep track of it from the Favorites bar in IE8. “If anything, this launch shows that Microsoft is not taking Firefox’s creep into browser market share lightly,” ReadWriteWeb’s Sarah Perez said of the surprise launch.

Internet Explorer 8 Pops Up In Beta
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