MIX has started, and we have the news we have been waiting for, for some time. What is IE 8 going to do?
Microsoft had published this page where they list some of the new functions. Its quite amazing how brave they talk about improving the current IE! Some of the new things include:
– Activities – Activities are contextual menu options which quickly access a service from any Web page. Users typically copy and paste from one Web page to another. Internet Explorer 8 Activities make this common pattern easier to do.
Activities typically involve two types of scenarios: “look up” of information within a Web page, and “send” of Web content to a Web application. Consider the example of a user who is interested in a restaurant and wants to see its location. This is the form of a “look up” Activity, where the user selects the address and views an in-place view of the map using a favorite map service.
– CSS 2.1 Compliance – While one of Internet Explorer 8’s main goals is CSS 2.1 compliance, it is also forward looking towards CSS3. CSS3 is the next step in the evolution of Cascading Style Sheets, and unlike CSS 2.1 which consists of one single document, the CSS3 specification is broken down into different modules in order to increase the speed of converging on clear specifications and implementations of different features. Additionally, CSS3 hopes to further clarify some of the ambiguities in the CSS2.1 Specification while providing new features to web authors. Internet Explorer 8 hopes to implement some of the most requested CSS3 features by web developers and designers.
– Data URI Support
– Printing Improvements
– Developer Tools – Internet Explorer 8 includes tools that Web developers need to efficiently debug their sites directly in Internet Explorer. Developers can immediately debug a site’s HTML, CSS, and JScript from within Internet Explorer 8, rather than switch between Internet Explorer and a separate development environment.
– Versioning and Internet Explorer Modes – Versioning and Internet Explorer rendering modes provide the following; it allows Internet Explorer 8 to remain compatible with today’s web content and provides a mechanism to introduce new features and stricter standards compliance.
– Better AJAX Development – Improving developer productivity is one of the primary goals of Internet Explorer 8. We set out to achieve this goal in part by providing cross-browser interoperability, standards compliance and additional powerful APIs.
Internet Explorer 8 provides a simplified yet powerful programming model for AJAX development that spans browser, webpage, and server interaction. As a result, it is easier for you to build webpages that have much better end-user experiences, are more functional, and have better performance. APIs are based on the W3C HTML 5.0 or Web Applications Working Group standards. Enhancements or novel intellectual property for AJAX will be made available for standardization before the Internet Explorer 8 release.
The following AJAX improvements bridge the gap between browser and webpage to help you provide a better user experience:
1. AJAX Navigation enables users to navigate back and forth without leaving the AJAX application and could be used navigating a page without performing a traditional full navigation. This allows websites to trigger an update to browser components like the address bar by setting the window.location.hash value, firing an event to alert components in the page and even creating an entry in the travel log.
2. DOM Storage is a simple-to-use method for storing and retrieving strings of key/value pair data. Data can be stored per tab instance for a session or persisted to the local machine. This allows pages to cache text on the machine which reduces the effect of network latencies by providing faster access to pre-cached data. Several innovative uses are possible. For example, use this in combination with the new network connectivity event to allow a page to cache data if it detects that the computer is offline.
3. Connectivity events allow websites to check when the user is connected to the network and receive notification of connectivity changes.
4. Six connections per host instead of two for broadband scenarios and a scriptable property allow for more improved performance by allowing parallelization of downloads in Internet Explorer 8. In addition, this increases functionality by ensuring a request is not blocked to a host if two connections already exist. Websites can optimize their downloads based on a scriptable property.
5. XMLHTTPRequest Enhancements include a timeout property that can be set to cancel the request if necessary, allowing developers to manage the request better.
Cross-domain communication is an integral part of AJAX development and mashup Web applications. Internet Explorer 8 includes two features to help you build cross-domain communications that are safe and easy to implement:
* With Cross-domain Request (XDR), developers can create cross-site data aggregation scenarios. Similar to the XMLHttpRequest object but with a simpler programming model, this request, called XDomainRequest, is the easiest way to make anonymous requests to third-party sites that support XDR and opt in to making their data available across domains. Three lines of code will have you making basic cross-site requests. This will ensure data aggregation for public sites (such as blogs) will be simple, secure and fast.
* Cross-document Messaging (XDM) APIs allow communication between documents from different domains through IFrames in a way that is easy, secure and standardized.
– DOM Core Improvements – During Internet Explorer 6’s long tenure as the leading market-share holder, Web developers revealed many bugs and inconsistencies in Internet Explorer’s DOM. Today, with the Internet Explorer 8 versioning plan, these bugs and inconsistencies are corrected by default, and those customers who choose to opt out of this behavior may enable IE7 compatibility mode.