It was only a couple of days ago that I posted the news that Microsoft had decided to backtrack on their initial proposal of using the IE7 engine as their default rendering engine and instead IE8 would be using Standards mode by default. However, Microsoft have had a busy week and have actually released IE8 as a beta version this morning.
You can download the IE8 Beta version from the Microsoft website at the following link:
A word of warning before you do though. As with all previous versions of Internet Explorer, installing IE8 will overwrite your current install of IE.
Microsoft have included an “Emulate IE7” button within easy reach so it’s easy to switch between the two rendering engines (although this does require a restart of IE) but as with any Beta version there are bound to be some bugs that have yet to be fixed so use with caution.
Having said that. IE8 is definitely a step in the right direction and passes the Acid 2 test which finally sees it catch up with the other browsers.
Sadly though, it only passes 335 of the 578 CSS3 selector tests available at CSS.info which when you consider that IE7 supported 330 of them, Microsoft haven’t made huge strides forward in that respect. In comparison Opera 9.26 currently passes 347 whilst Opera 9.5 Beta passes every single one of the 578 tests.
In my personal opinion though, these are nice to haves and shouldn’t detract too much from the achievement and huge improvement Microsoft have made to the rendering engine in order to get the browser to pass Acid 2 and lets not forget that this is only the first Beta version so there may be time yet for them to include some of the more useful CSS3 Selectors within the shipped version.