As just about everyone in the development community must know by now, Microsoft released a first Beta of IE8 today. I’ve been testing it for the last hour or so, and here are some notes I’ve made — the first of which is that this is really more of an Alpha than a Beta; there are a lot of bugs and errant behaviours.
One of the first things I noticed was that the browser comes with a limited set of development tools built in. They’re not well integrated, they’re not very extensive, and they’re not easy to use; but they’re there.
The user interface is obviously still under development, and currently looks almost exactly like IE7. The address bar highlights the domain name, which is a nice touch, and there is a big ‘Emulate IE7’ button, but otherwise no big differences.
Microsoft claim the browser will be completely CSS2.1 compatible on release, so I checked out two of the bigger omissions from IE7: generated content and table displays. Both are now working, which is pretty impressive. Update: CSS Improvements in IE8;
outline is new, as is
As for CSS3, I’ve written a little about that over at CSS3.info; in a nutshell: not much. Update: Interestingly, these are not listed in the CSS Improvements document; I wonder if there are any other undocumented changes?
For me, the biggest fault is the lack of SVG support. SVG is a mature standard now and well supported by all the other browsers, so for Microsoft not to implement it is a big blow; it effectively smothers the technology. Perhaps it will be included later; I really hope so.