Now that the latest version of one of the most bashed-up (Yet, the most popular) Microsoft products is out, the bashers can’t wait to get their hands on this new baby. But believe me, I tested it and I can confidently say that they will have a tough time bashing up IE8. Coming to the review, Microsoft seems to have developed IE8 as an answer to all those web developers who hate IE for its noncompliance towards the W3C standards. Now let me start off with the some of the most important features that are “visible” to the average user.
Feature 1: The Speed Microsoft has drastically increased the speed of IE8 since its previous version 7. If you have used IE7, you will definitely notice a drastic change in the speed of IE8. This is probably the first thing that an average user would notice apart from the interface. The rendering times of some heavy sites like Wikipedia, Orkut, Microsoft etc seems to have reduced. IE8 seems to be in a fair contention with Opera 9, Firefox 3 and Chrome 2 in case of Speed.
Feature 2: New “New Tab” The new “New Tab” (Type “about:Tabs” in the address bar of IE8 to access it) when opened has some useful options. Some of them are: Reopen Closed Tabs: At last, one of the features that I always wanted in IE, reopening closed tabs. IE8 has this feature embedded in it. One can use this feature by simply opening a blank new tab and then clicking on the “Reopen Closed Tabs” link available to the top left corner of the tabbed page. This shows a drop-down list of all the tabs that have been closed in the current session.
InPrivate Browsing: This is an all new feature implemented in IE8. This feature allows the users to open a new “InPrivate” window where the users can browse websites, at the same time having a control over the browsing history, cookies and other data. This mode helps web developers and those interested in watching p0rn! ;-)
Accelerator: This option has features such as showing text available on the clipboard, Blogging, Mapping, Searching etc. This can also be accessed by selecting some text and then clicking on the small square icon that appears.
Feature 3:Developer Tools IE8’s answer to Firefox’s plugins “Firebug” and “Web Developer Tools”. This is a very useful feature for the web developers. I found it worthy.
Feature 4: Colored Tabs or Group Tabs Another nice feature added to IE8 is the “Colored Tabs” feature. This feature is a lot useful when you open a lot of pages in tabs and you don’t understand which link was opened from which page. Thanks to this new feature, IE8 groups links opened in tabs from one page in one color. Similarly tabs of each group are grouped with a single color showing that the tabs belong to that group.
Feature 5: Close All or Current Tab When a person browsing multiple tabs accidentally clicks on the close button of the IE window to close the current tab, the previous version of IE would just prompt the user that there are multiple tabs open and whether the user would like to continue by closing all of them or cancel the operation. This is not the case in IE8. IE8 provides a neat dialog asking the user whether to close the current tab or all the tabs.
Feature 6: Compatibility View This is a beautiful feature added to IE8 to make it work better with the websites that have been designed for the previous versions of IE (which were not standards compliant at all). The tooltip in the following image explains the purpose better. [caption id=”” align=”alignnone” width=”200” caption=”Compatibility View in IE8”]
Feature 7: **Caret Browsing ** This feature allows the users to access the webpage textual content using keyboard by inserting a cursor in the webpage which can be moved by using the arrow keys on the keyboard. [caption id=”” align=”alignnone” width=”200” caption=”Caret Browsing feature of IE8”]
Feature 8: Crash Recovery One of the most important new features of IE8 is crash recovery. IE8 has the capability to restore the previous session when the crash occurred.
Feature 9: Delete Browsing History on Exit This feature is similar to the ones that are available in Firefox and Opera. The name says it all. The option is available in Tools >> Internet Options >> Browsing History (Group)
Now that I have discussed all the major new features of IE8, let me throw some light on the way the memory is being consumed by IE8. IE8 divides itself into several instances in order to divide the load on the browser to maintain stability. The following image shows how IE8 divides itself into 5 processes when 5 tabs are open. This is not a direct proportion. I tested it with 12 tabs and IE8 had 6 processes running. So, this is just to maintain stability and the number of processes that are created is not in direct proportion to the number of opened tabs.
Finally, I would like to conclude this review by saying that IE8 is no more noncompliant with the W3C standards. This is definitely a recommended download for all. The support for more number of plugins to IE8 has made it even more flexible.
- Features: 3/5
- Performance: 3/5
- Interface: 4/5
- Stability: 3/5