The next beta for Internet Explorer has been released for broad distribution to the public, according to the IEBlog team entry Internet Explorer 8 Beta 2 Now Available. You’ll find versions for 32- and 64-bit editions of Windows Vista, Windows XP, Windows Server 2003, and Windows Server 2008 on the Internet Explorer 8 site.

The new release focuses on three main themes:

  • Every day browsing, things people do ever day.
  • Safety, trustworthy .
  • The platform, how you will build the next wave of services.

Call to Action for ISVs

The major call to action for ISVs is to be sure your site and your customer sites are compatible. For more information about about standards-based Web development and application compatibility see Internet Explorer Compatibility Center.

In the short term, you can make your site and your customer site display and act as it does in Internet Explorer 7 with a single line of code on either your page or on your site. For more information, see How Do I to Fix My Site Today? 

For the long term, you can incoporate the features in IE8 in your application. For more information, see IE Development Center on MSDN.

Features for Users

Tabs are easier to restore. Navigation is faster and easier. Address Bar searches across Favorites, History, and RSS feeds, and more. When you have an address but want a map, or want to just select some text and make a blog post out of it, IE8’s Accelerators (formerly known as ‘Activities’) are handy. Staying up to date with the latest information is a lot easier with Web Slices, that put information directly in your Favorites bar where you can get at it quickly. You'll see bettter performance. We think you’ll enjoy the impact of IE8’s new tabs, Smart Address Bar, Favorites bar, Search box, Accelerators, and Web Slices on your daily browsing.

The reliability improvements in IE8 Beta 2 are big.

For security, IE8 offers the SmartScreen Filter and protection from phishing and malware and many other defenses. The XSS Filter is particularly exciting because it offers real people a real defense from a real threat, by default and out of the box. InPrivate stores your user data in memory and then discards it at the end of the sessions, unless you've already bookmarked the site in your favorites.

After installing IE8, try out Visual Search from the New York Times, Wikipedia, Amazon, or eBay. (Many other sites offer regular text suggestions as well.)

Features for Developers

IE8 is more interoperable with other web browsers and web standards. The contribution of CSS 2.1 test cases to the W3C is an important in order to really establish a standard way to assess standards support. We think that CSS 2.1 remains the most important place to deliver excellent interoperability between browsers. We think developers will enjoy the improvements to the built-in tools, as well as the other opportunities to integrate their sites in the user’s daily life with Accelerators and Web Slices.

For more information, see the IE Development Center.

The Compatibility View button (new to IE8 Beta 2) is a good solution to provide end-users a good experience as the web transitions.

If you're interested in customizing and redistributing IE8, you can find information about IEAK.