It’s finally here and is the first major release of a Microsoft browser since Internet Explorer 7 was released in 2006 but will it save the browser against fierce competition from Firefox, Chrome, Safari and Opera?
In terms of web standards, IE8 is a much better browser and I’m hopeful that a fairly large amount of users will switch to IE8 from IE7 especially if Microsoft include it within their automatic updates at some point.
However, the major problem with designing websites for Internet Explorer is IE6 which leaves a big question, Will IE6 users upgrade to IE8? Despite the compatibility view option in Internet Explorer (which can be clicked to allow a web page to be rendered in quirks mode) I’d expect the migration of IE6 users to IE8 to be very slow.
I’m also a little surprised at how little work Microsoft have done on the actual interface. Apart from a few icons and menu items, I had to double check that I was actually in IE8 and not IE7.
The big disappointment for me though is that IE8 still doesn’t pass the CSS selectors test, is 22 selectors out of 43 really acceptable for a new browser? Firefox3 isn’t perfect but passes 36, while Safari/Chrome and Opera 9.64 pass all 43.
It’s not all negative though and it is a much better browser than what has come before and does move us closer to a standard web platform. If you’re an Internet Explorer 6 or 7 user then I would definitely recommend upgrading now but if you’re a Firefox, Safari, Chrome or Opera user then I think that you’ll find that there’s very little in IE8 that will tempt you to switch.