The release date for Internet Explorer 8 Beta 2, targeted at a broad range of consumer and business users, has been set for August. This means that now is the time to test your Web applications and see what new features you can leverage so you stand out from your competition.

IE 8 promises to be a hit with all kinds of users and developers. Internet Explorer 8 will take the web experience beyond the page and introduce a new way to seamlessly experience the best of the web, whether you are a web developer writing to standards or a user discovering a new online service.

Beyond the Page

Several new features of IE 8 will be really interesting for your customers for user experience that goes Beyond the Page:

  • Activities: Contextual services that provide quick access to external services from any web page, such as look-up information of data related to the current page, and the ability to send content from a page to another application.
  • WebSlices: Can expose portions of a web page as a slice that users can subscribe to. Users can bring content with them on linked bard when they are on the web. For example, you can update your friend status update on Facebook, or monitor eBay items. ISVs could build WebSlices to alert users of changes in your application's data. More information about how you can build WebSlices is available at Internet Explorer 8 Beta 1 Whitepapers.

Rendering Modes 

Users can set one of three rendering modes to support IE 5 or legacy browsers, emulate IE 7, or IE 8 standards mode. The default setting in Beta 1 is IE8 standards mode. 

As you go forward, some of the your current web pages may display in a way that you dont' expect when the browser is in its default setting. You may want to update your current web pages so they are render as you expect them to in IE 7. For more information on how to set the metadata on your page to render the page as it is now, see Meta-tag on Your Site Provides Internet Explorer Backwards Compatibility. The step by step instructions are available at Your Web site may not display correctly in Internet Explorer 8 Beta 1.

Developer Tools

Microsoft has heard your feedback that Internet Explorer needs its own built-in Developer Tools, so the new Developer Toolbar enables developers to quickly debug HTML, cascading style sheets, and JavaScript in a visual development environment that is included with the web browser. Developers can quickly identify and resolve issues because of the deep insight the tool provides into the Document Object Model. The Developer Toolbar also allows the layout to be changed on the fly so that each rendering scenario can be tested thoroughly.

Don't Wait

You can get the standarads-based IE 8 Beta 1 now. Internet Explorer 8 Beta 1 is a developer preview for web designers and developers to help prepare their websites for the launch of Internet Explorer 8.  Internet Explore 8 Beta 1 is available now at the Windows Internet Explorer download site.