I commented earlier today on a few IE8 features that were highlighted during the keynote session.  I attended an afternoon breakout session and thought I'd share with you additional insight on our current release.

  • ActiveX security
    • ActiveX controls optionally enabled on a per site or per user basis
  • Reliability
    • Recovery after a crash - although we hope this never happens, we know it has in the past and may in the future.  The nice part of it now is all tabs are restored on recovery - NICE.
  • Making Users More Productive
    • An improved zoom experience
    • Activities connect users to their exiting services from anywhere they may go on the web.  Activities are defined through the OpenService Format.  A couple of examples that are added to the browser include the ability to
      • Look up an address or map with Live Maps
      • Search with Live Search
    • Webslices enable page publishers to webslice-enable partitions of a web page.  Doing so allows the end-user to subscribe to the slice.  The slice is registered much like a URL shortcut.  The user can then hover over the registered slice to view and track information contained within the slice even after they have browsed away from the current page.  Great examples where you may want to slice enable your page or experience the benefits of slice enabled pages include auctions, weather conditions, top news stories.
  • Predictable Platform for Developers
    • Predictable layout with complete CSS2.1 compliance. With IE8 we are taking a clean fresh layout approach by focusing on CSS2.1 compliance.  This marks the end of hasLayout.  And looking forward to CSS3, we are focusing on the box-sizing property and vertical text.
    • Predictable CSS 2.1 Support - Microsoft is contributing 700 CSS tests to the W3C. They are available under BSD open license on MSDN .  Check them out and give us your feedback.  We need to validate interpretation of the standard so give us your feedback
    • Predictable Programming Model - lots here and too much to cover in so short a time
    • Developer Productivity - CSS, HTML and JavaScript debugger tools built into IE8.  Any machine running IE8 has the tools since they are built into the browser.
  • Optimizing for Performance
    • Network performance is frequently the problem because we often use only 2 connections between browse and server.  This has been increased to 6.
    • JScript improvements are many including DOM object look up, garbage collecting circular references, and simply improving the execution speed of native JavaScript operations including the performance of array methods, string methods, and function calls.
  • Innovation
    • Integrating Ajax with Navigation for URL tracking and backup
    • Querying the Element Tree by implementing CSS Selector API
    • Leveraging local storage by implementing the sessionStore and localStore HTML5 Storage interfaces. IE7 extensions including checkRemainingStore and Clear
    • Network connectivity is transient so we've added indicators to track when the network isn't there.
  • Mashup Dilemma
    • Some things shouldn't be mashed up like your bank account information
    • We've implemented the Cross-Domain Request Object which requires mutual consent between the webpage and server to protect information, and Cross-Document Messaging

Download IE8 today http://www.microsoft.com/ie/ie8 and provide us your feedback through one of the many facilities available to you:

And if you were wondering about the overall User Experience, there's not much to say at this time since User Experience is not the focus of Beta 1.  More to come at a later time.