March 19th, 2009

Microsoft releases Internet Explorer 8

by Stuart Tyndall

Microsoft released their newest build of Internet Explorer today, IE8.  Whenever there is a new web browser released to the public and officially out of ‘beta’ testing, there seems to be a lot of hype to follow.  Typically the most common concerns or questions about a new browser always fall into two categories: speed and security.  With the release of IE8 there is a new topic: compatibility.


A web browser’s security is always a hot topic of discussion.  As more and more businesses take their storefronts online, hackers are becoming even more clever to defraud the end user.  IE8 was supposed to be leaps and bounds ahead of other browsers in the marketplace. However, it was the first browser to be hacked at the 2009 CanSecWest Conference.  This particular vulnerability has since been patched.  Mind you, IE8 is a secure browser, just be careful in viewing sites and purchasing goods online – with any web browser.


IE8 is actually the fastest web browser in the Internet Explorer family, as it should be.  Microsoft wouldn’t want to digress in this category.  But Microsoft is claiming it’s the fastest browser currently available.  Based on my personal testing, it seems just as fast as Mozilla’s Firefox and Google’s Chrome, but I can’t tell if it’s any faster.  I’ll leave this one to benchmark testing …


IE8’s skin looks similar to IE7 on the outside, but is definitely different under the hood.  So much so, that some websites optimized for IE7 don’t render or display properly in Microsoft’s newest browser release.  There is hope though.  Built into IE8 is a new feature called “Compatibility View” that will render sites just as IE7 would have.  Compatibility view will also remember which sites the user has selected to view in this mode for future visits. This should prevent compatibility issues from hampering the user experience too much.

Will this latest release keep Microsoft at the top of the browser war?  Who knows?  Only time will tell.