this stage it is a manual download and not yet an automatic update so
only the keen 'tech-heads' will be likely to start using it, but it
wont be long before Microsoft makes this an automated update and we would expect a very fast take-up at that time.
Internet Explorer 8 is a significant upgrade
from Microsoft and it signifies a considerable change in direction in
terms of browser compatibility. Microsoft is now aiming to build a web
browser that complies with internationally recognised standards and
ultimately make web page development easier.
in the IE5 days nobody cared about compatibility but then there were
less web sites, HTML was far simpler and really only two main browsers
- IE and Netscape. When IE6 was released Microsoft did not care about
compatibility but most new browsers (Firefox, Safari) did, so we saw a
divergence in the way browsers worked. As a result web developers
started to build websites twice - once for IE6 and once for all other
browsers. Then when IE7 came out, it only got worse - today we find
that Firefox, IE6, IE7 and Safari all interpret HTML differently and we
have to build our HTML and style sheet code as many as 4 times to make
it work on all browsers.
The one saving grace
for non-Microsoft web browsers is that users tend to upgrade quickly
and all versions of the same browser tend to behave very similarly. But
with Internet Explorer each and every version works totally differently
and each new release signifies extraordinary pain for web developers
and cost for website owners.
IE8 is supposed
to improve this situation, but ironically it will actually make it
worse in the short term, because although IE8 will now comply with most
web standards, IE6 and IE7 are likely to remain widely used and as such
we will now have to build our code for 3 distinctly different Microsoft
Browsers in addition to Firefox and Safari.
what does this mean for existing website owners? Well, in some cases it
reworked. The extent of this work will depend very much on the design
and the functionality. If your site is mostly simple HTML and does not
make use of many dynamic features then this may not be much work. But
pop-ups or other dynamic affects then it may mean quite a few hours
There is some good news here - IE8 offers an "IE7 emulation mode", in this mode it will work almost
If you are lucky and this works for your site then we can add a new
"emulate IE7 meta tag" to your site code to instruct IE8 to use this
mode and your site will work instantly. But you should note that this
will not work perfectly for all sites and to a certain extent it only
defers work that ultimately will need to be done as newer versions come
Now that we have the first release, we
are in a position to assess and test sites with the new browser. If you
want to test your site in IE8, you can download it now, but be warned,
it is a one way process - once installed it will remove your previous
IE browser and you can't go back.
IT we have machines setup with IE8 ready for testing and can assess
your site and provide feedback and recommendations. Now would be a good
time to consider getting your site tested and upgraded before this becomes an automated release.