IE8 Beta1 was released in March by Microsoft and I started using\testing it to see the new and visible features out of it. The official download site from Microsoft is http://www.microsoft.com/windows/products/winfamily/ie/ie8/customizelinks/default.mspx
Certain noticeable changes which I found in IE8 are:
1) The website address in address bar is grayed out except for just the main address eg. any pages from Microsoft.com is requested everything else grayed out except Microsoft.com.
2) Emulate IE7 button has been provided for the users who want to have the same browsing experience as IE7.
3) A quick link to web test recorder 9.0 which works well in conjunction with Visual Studio. ( in IE7 too )
4) Better Quick Tabs (Ctrl-Q) where we see a bigger and clear tab preview. (in IE7 too)
5) Ability to use and add new activities for any page.
6) One of the new additions in IE8 (already present in Mozilla) is the ability to save browsing sessions and hence when you close you browser with any website in opened state and then open IE again it asks to restore the session or start new. This is a good improvement in IE8.
7) Developer Tools — Its the new and coolest addition in IE8 of all. This enables a user to have more closer look into the html\CSS and script used in any web page apart from having Script Debugging ability for any webpage which makes it a cool utility. It doesnt exactly has the same user experience as Visual Studio in terms of short-keys but has the same experience in showing watch\locals\callstack etc. This needs some more refinement in terms of the functionalities provided by Dev Tool bar which has been replaced by the developer tools. I hope those will be included in the future Betas.
Goodies from Developer Tools:
1) Debugging experience from within IE would enable a professional\hobbist to play around with any\developed webpage and find\correct any bugs in the page.
Some downsides of IE8:
1) Currently exisiting websites doesnt properly render on IE8 and I find a lot of style problems with IE8. This makes the browsing experience frustating as you try to interact with any website and it just does not respond properly and many of the controls either not work or are not properly rendered. I expect this to be rectified in coming releases.
2) Many of the Ajax controls like calender doesnt properly work in IE8. Trying to find out more 🙂
3) Devtool Bar doesnt get installed on IE8 (It would have been good to see it there until we get all the functionalities ported to developer tools) and even if you uninstall IE8 and try to install DevTool Bar it still doesnt get install. You need to uninstall IE8\IE7 and then only you can get it inistalled and working.
4) Developer Tools needs more improvement in terms of UX while debugging as a user expects the same experience as Visual Studio for short-keys at least.
Overall its good to install IE8 and test it but if you are looking from the development perpective or interacting with a lot of websites, then, I think its not completely ready yet.
Hope to have good time testing IE8.
bye for now.