IE 8 FROM PAGE 43Project and the Acid Web stan-Web and interact with sites. dards tests.
One of the more unique new Many of the new features in
features is the IE 8 Accelerators IE 8 Beta 2 are updates that
(which were called Activities in add capabilities already found
Beta 1). The Accelerators icon in competing browsers such
is activated whenever a user as Firefox and Opera. These
highlights text on a Web page. include an improved Find
By clicking on the Accelerator in Page feature (inline now
icon or right-mouse clicking, instead of as a separate pop-users can carry out a number up), contextual autocomplete
of actions, including searches, in the address bar, contextual
translations and even finding Web Slices lets developers and Web sites create custom widgets that users can view from the browser link bar. search field suggestions and
maps. These activities launch protection against malware-in a small pop-up window rather than However, out of all the new fea- infested Web sites.
in an entirely new Web page. The tures in IE 8 Beta 2, the one that I Other IE 8 features that really got
technology is open to developers, so probably used most was the com- a workout in my tests were the new
any site or company can build custom patibility mode that s witches the crash protection and page recovery
Accelerators. browser to the IE 7 engine. features. Luckily, the new recovery
Another new feature called Web Clicking the button, which looks features worked well. In cases where
Slices lets sites and developers build like a broken file icon and appears a Web site on a single tab was caus-custom widgets that can be installed next to the address bar, reloads the ing a problem, just that tab was
and added to the browser tool bar site in compatibility mode. In my reloaded with data intact, with no
to provide quick access to data and tests I had to use this quite a bit, impact on sites in other tabs. When
information from these sites. including on many popular and com- the entire browser crashed, it auto-
Though IE was the last browser to mon sites such as for Web mail and matically recovered with all of my
add support for tabbed windows, IE 8 even many of the Google application tabs and site data still intact.
has included some nice wrinkles that sites. Somewhat surprisingly, since Standards support in IE 8 Beta 2 is
improve the use of tabs while brows- Microsoft says you need to use com- considerably better than in IE 7, and
ing. One of the better new features in patibility mode only for older sites IE 8 does pass the Acid2 test from
IE 8 color-codes groups of tabs that that aren’t fully standards-compliant, the Web Standards Project.
were all launched from the same Web one of the sites that I had to use com- From a developer standpoint, IE
site, making it easy to identify these patibility mode on was webstandards. 8 Beta 2 looks to be more friendly
related groups of tabs. org, the site of the Web Standards than previous versions. ´
FIREFOX 3 IMPROVES STABILITY
Most of the enhancements to Firefox 3, which
was released in June, are under the covers. Among
its major new features are offline capabilities and
the ability to seamlessly interact with Web-based
applications and services. These features allow
sites to deliver applications and content that people
can use even when they aren’t connected to the
Internet and that work with a browser in much the
same way that traditional applications work with an
operating system. Firefox 3 also provides some nice
usability, performance and security enhancements.
For example, in Firefox 3.0 the address bar turns
green for sites that use strong Extended Validation
SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificates.