So I have been using Windows Internet Explorer 8 since the first beta was released in March of 2008. As the development of this major update reaches the finishing line, I would like to take a look at some of the features I enjoy using and some things I wish had made it in:
1. A more informative address bar, as you can see in the above screenshot, Internet Explorer 8 details information such as the type of application protocol along with the domain name and top level domain name. It might not seem readily useful but makes it easier to identify the security of a website along with the domain name.
2. A more a manageable Address Bar history. Firefox had this for a while now, the ability to delete URL’s in the address bar history list, thank goodness, its in IE 8!
3. Address bar suggestions, Internet Explorer 8 provides an end to end experience when it comes to web browsing. You can also use this feature to search for recently browsed web sites, as you can see, keyboard tips are also presented when working the address bar area.
4. A Search box that’s more intelligent, providing not only a quick way to get results from your search engine, but actually deliver useful information. The above screenshot shows how Microsoft is really innovating when it comes to Search and synergies. This is a great way of saying there is more to Google than Search.
5. Color coordinated tabs is a fun, useful way to keep track your many websites you might have open in the web browser. When ever you open a link a in a tab from within an existing tab, it creates a color set indicating the tab from which it was opened. Coordinated Tabs also works in ‘Quick Tabs’ view and ‘Tabs List’.
6. InPrivate browsing – helps prevent Internet Explorer from storing data about your browsing session. This includes cookies, temporary Internet files, history, and other data. Toolbars and extensions are disabled by default.
7. You gotta love a feature like this, especially for persons who want to know more about the web find similar sites of interest about a certain topic, Web site suggestions does just that and results are surprisingly accurate!
8. There is always that little snippet of information you always go back to a website just get the latest info from. Now let that website bring the information you through Web slice. A great way to know whats going on by simply cropping portion of the website. It doesn’t work sometime for me, for example, I tried to get the weather update from a web slice I created, but IE refused to display the results, instead, displaying only a ‘page not available message’.
9. Accelerators provides useful contextual links for common activities with text that you select on a webpage to perform such tasks as opening a street address in a mapping website or looking up the dictionary definition for a word. You can also choose the web services or websites that Accelerators use to handle different types of tasks.
10. A cleaner, organized way to manage all your Internet Explorer add-ons in simplified categories. This is one area, I had hoped the IE Team would have also applied to the Internet Explorer 8 Options dialog.
So those are just some of the things I like about Internet Explorer 8, there are many more I didn’t even mention such as Smart Screen Filtering and Compatibility View, improved restrictions for ActiveX Controls, enhanced add-on management, improved reliability (including automated crash recovery
and tab restoration), and enhanced support for accessibility
. Here are some things I would have like to see in IE 8:
- Download Manager – trust me, it needs it, I find it very handy in FireFox and Safari – Pause/Resume, Manage.
- Non-adjacent Selection of text on web pages.
- Customizable toolbar, I personally wouldn’t mind if buttons such as Home, Feeds, Print, Page, Tools and Help were on a another toolbar group such as the Address bar group, I need more real estate for Tab’s that’s much cleaner. The new Favorites Bar in particular eats up a lot of space.
- List View layout for Options, similar to Office 2007 Options dialog. Also make the Advance settings a part of the list view Options, this includes: Accessibility, Browsing, International, Multimedia.
- Make Print Preview utilize a Tab instead of opening a separate window.
- Close button Tabs like Firefox.
- One unified 32-bit and one unified 64-bit installer.
Overall Internet Explorer 8 is a major update. Its an innovative release that introduces features users can immediately take advantage of. I hope to have a more formal review when its released along with my own performance test against Firefox 3 which I regularly use. Internet Explorer 8 supports Windows Vista Server 2008 32 and 64 bit, Windows XP Professional 32 and 64 bit, Windows Server 2003 32 and 64 bit.