Working together for standards The Web Standards Project

Microsoft releases the first IE8 Beta

By Aaron Gustafson | March 5th, 2008 | Filed in Browsers, Microsoft

In other news, the ACID2 test page has become overwhelmed.

Skip to comment form

Microsoft released its first beta of Internet Explorer 8 today. They have also relaunched the Internet Explorer Developer Center and submitted a ton of tests in their CSS 2.1 test suite to the W3C for use in their test suite.

Chris Wilson’s talk introducing IE8 (and passing ACID2 live) should be up on the Mix08 site within 24 hours.

Your Replies

#1 On March 5th, 2008 6:11 pm Rob replied:

Well, all of my sites have problems with IE8 but worked in all other browsers (IE6/7 with conditional comments). Google maps blow up in size. Navbars are chopped up or don’t work at all. And that’s what I found after just five minutes of browsing.

#2 On March 5th, 2008 6:45 pm Stan Grabowski replied:

Does anyone know if this beta is a separate install? Will it overwrite my current ie version?

#3 On March 5th, 2008 6:57 pm Kelson replied:

It replaces IE7, but IE8 includes a full copy of the IE7 rendering engine. There’s an “Emulate IE7″ button that in theory should display sites *exactly* the same as the previous version.

It requires closing all IE windows to switch modes (I guess auto-switching is for a later beta), so I haven’t tried it yet.

I’m posting my first impressions of the beta over at my blog, and will probably add to that entry as I notice more good/bad/interesting issues.

#4 On March 5th, 2008 7:01 pm Thomas Tallyce replied:

Yes, it will overwrite your IE7. I’d say this first beta is too unstable to use as a main browser yet – but it is a first beta, so entirely fair enough IMO.

Acid2 works for me in IE8.

#5 On March 5th, 2008 7:02 pm Michael Madsen replied:

You can use the Developer Tools feature to switch rendering modes during run-time, although I have noticed *very* subtle differences on a few pages when comparing the “reload IE” emulation with the “select this menu item” emulation. I’m guessing they haven’t perfected that part yet, but it does come very, very close.

Simply press SHIFT+F12 to get the Developer Tools window, and select the rendering mode in View > Change Compatibility Mode. You can even choose to show the current page in quirks mode that way. I’m not sure if that works as intended when Emulate IE7 is turned on, though – haven’t tried it.

#6 On March 5th, 2008 7:23 pm The Ad Mad replied:

I support “Internet democracy” all the way, but man, as a web developer in the learning process, I wish there was one big monopolic browser in which everything just worked!

Ok, coming back to reality, I’ll just give IE8 a try :)

#7 On March 5th, 2008 8:26 pm Nathan replied:

“Google maps blow up in size. Navbars are chopped up or don’t work at all.”

Yep, I’m seeing the exact same issues, pretty much every site I have ever built is falling apart, its look like “hasLayout” or the lack of it is still causing problems, and what is that with google maps? The map is filling the entire page…

Not to mention that some of my javascript is either not working or is not working as it should.

I think the IE team still have plenty of work to do before they can call IE8 standards compliant.

#8 On March 5th, 2008 8:40 pm Olof replied:

Strange, it didn’t even pass the ACID2 for me under Vista, though infinitely better than IE7 does in the test.

And I’m also seeing a lot of glitches. It messes up the main navigation of for example. And on some pages it won’t let me type anything in forms.

But it’s a first beta after all, so I guess (certainly hope) we’ll see a lot of improvement.

#9 On March 5th, 2008 9:26 pm Manny Fleurmond replied:

It seems that in a way, IE cheated the Acid2 Test:


#10 On March 5th, 2008 10:05 pm Milo replied:

To run IE8 side-by-side with your current browser, use the Virtual PC image.

#11 On March 5th, 2008 11:56 pm Halo_Four replied:

IE8 didn’t cheat the ACID2 test. It currently doesn’t permit fallback if the OBJECT tag points to a location that it will not navigate to due to security reasons, e.g. cross domain. The official ACID2 doesn’t attempt to link across domains so it works fine. The version does, so it refuses to attempt to connect therefore cannot receive the 404 error necessary for the fallback scenario. If the version used a URL in their domain, or even a relative path, it would work just fine.

I don’t know if the standard has anything to say about this behavior. People are arguing that in the case that IE8 refuses to navigate to a URI that it should use the fallback behavior anyway, which would render ACID2 correctly on That is probably not a bad idea but this is something probably not covered by the standards.

Speaking of standards, I know people talk about IE8 passing ACID2 (when the above situation is not cross domains), however I noticed that the hover on the nose div behaves differently on IE8 than in Opera. The nose stops being highlighted if the mouse moves anywhere below the two triangles that make up the nose, rather than anywhere within the div. Is this right or does IE8 need to be tweaked in order to “truely” pass?

#12 On March 6th, 2008 12:03 am The Teacher replied:


Any information on XHTML support ?


#13 On March 6th, 2008 2:42 am hoopskier replied:

Nathan/Rob – it’s beta 1. They’ve stated that full CSS 2.1 compliance is the goal for the “final” release. So I expect that there are still a number of features that they haven’t implemented yet, let alone bugs fixed.

#14 On March 6th, 2008 2:59 am RV replied:

Is this strange? IE8 passes for me on the first load, but has bad results on a reload, but only for a second or two. It looks for those couple of seconds like it does on (link for ie8 only). Also, when I refresh on Safari 3, the acid2 test screws up in the same place, but without scroll bars. The same in Opera 9. The only one that doesn’t show that glitch is FireFox 3.

#15 On March 6th, 2008 3:04 am RV replied:

That is FF3.0 beta3. Is it a problem with Acid2 site being down earlier today?

#16 On March 6th, 2008 3:11 am RV replied:

Sorry for hat trick, but for Mac and PC has these problems.

#17 On March 6th, 2008 4:47 am Rick replied:

So now the other shoe drops.

MS has shifted it’s “embrace, extend and extinguish” and anti-competitive strategies from the actual webpages to additional browser features like ‘Activities’ an ‘WebSlices’.

However, with this in mind, I am now assured MS will make every effort to make IE8 a decently standards compliant browser with no tricks up its sleeve as far as rendering HTML/CSS is concerned. They’ve found another angle to fuck over the competition, one that is not yet covered by existing anti-trust investigations.

It’s only a matter of time before we have a Microformats standards war on our hands, and the whole thing starts all over again.

This of course will be completed by issues around patents (can other apps/browsers implement this without becoming MS’ bitches?) and anti-trust issues if MS actually has the gal to push IE8 with stuff like Live Maps set up by default as an update.

Meet the new Microsoft, same as the old Microsoft.

#18 On March 6th, 2008 8:09 am Shelley replied:

XHTML support.

Access my web site with IE8 to see if it supports XHTML. If you’re not using IE8, you can see the results in this page.

#19 On March 6th, 2008 8:30 am Chris replied:

Anyone having problems with tabs? My websites that have links and open new tabs never open. I have one website that plays music when it opens, but when I click the link that opens the tab to that website nothing happens but the music starts playing.

#20 On March 6th, 2008 12:26 pm Chris Wilson replied:

@Rick: can other apps/browsers implement what? Activities and WebSlices? Absolutely; as we’ve clearly stated, these are released under CC licenses (CC-SA for Activities, CC-PD for WebSlices).

You would seem to imply that Microsoft cannot be permitted to innovate at all?

#21 On March 6th, 2008 11:50 pm em replied:

I am an IE fan but DO NOT install IE8 beta 1.
It cheats the ACID2 test.

#22 On March 7th, 2008 1:41 am hoopskier replied:

@em — “cheats”? Howso? It passes with flying colors, except for a small issue where the lower part of the nose doesn’t seem to trigger the hover…

#23 On March 7th, 2008 1:57 am ThomFrost replied:

Whats the point? Whats the point of making a test then not beingable to see what browsers have passed it or has not or has passed by what percent.

If you make a test like the Acid 3 test then put out information about what browsers have or not passed it and why.

I can put out a Acid 4 Ultra Test, but with out knowning what browsers have been tested and what there results are the test is meaningless.

#24 On March 7th, 2008 12:16 pm Dominic Shiells replied:

I may wait until they have sorted out the bugs to download it, alot of people on the web are still using Ie6 to change people to ie8 will take alot of work!
The reason is that many people in the foriegn world such as India still use Windows 98 and lower. The reason people may not be changing as the browser is only for Windows Xp and up
it will be good to use things such as fixed positioning without have to worry about which browser it is,

#25 On March 7th, 2008 4:50 pm Niko Neugebauer replied:

Nice effort, i am really happy that a new version is on its way. What IE8 hopefully will be, is what IE7 supposed to be (at least in hope of webdevelopers – hehe). It will be quite interesting to have 3 different versions of the same browser on the market. .

A lot of things are not working or functioning badly – javascript, cursor navigation and content selection, IE7 reendering mode has enough quirks, web developer toolbar has its own behavior, new empty tabs appear with javascript errors and so on anyway i am downgrading back after reviewing it and checking out my sites.

But hey, i do understand that its just a beta – and i am grateful, that we can all take a look at it. =O)

p.s. written using IE8 – content selection and navigation is the real pain in the arse.

#26 On March 7th, 2008 7:21 pm hoopskier replied:

@Dominic Shiells — The reason why IE6 is so prevalent is not because of Windows 98 or even 2000 (which can’t run IE7). It’s because IE7 was a very disruptive release that broke lots of websites and intranet apps.

The original IE8 versioning plan looked to prevent this by ensuring that any sites/apps that worked with IE7 would continue to work identically in IE8. That is no longer the case, so I’d say that the transition to IE8 will be just as long and slow as the IE7 transition.

Chris Wilson has stated that the layout engine in IE8 is all-new, so I would guess that the severity of breakage with IE8 would be much higher than what IE7 broke. The good thing is that this time, unlike with IE6, the IE7 meta tag will allow quick fixing, rather than having to go and fix all the real underyling bugs. This may make deployment of IE8 go smoother than IE7′s.

#27 On March 7th, 2008 8:27 pm Michael Hall replied:

Not sure if anyone else has noticed this with IE8 …..

Start -> Programs -> Windows Update

Microsoft tells you that you need a version of IE higher than 5.

I’m still scratching my head.

#28 On March 7th, 2008 8:56 pm Keith Bowes replied:

I don’t know about this whole web-site breaking thing. I’m assuming mostly minor issues. Do people really care about minor presentational problems? It seems like much ado about nothing to me.

#29 On March 8th, 2008 10:59 am WaSP Member ccasciano replied:

Keith, with some of the javascript language changes ‘break’ goes beyond a box model change that puts padding outside instead of inside. Cases like ‘document.getElementBy Id()’ not returning the element because the author had used the name attribute is one easy example that comes to mind. [and yes, i realie this would already fail in 'other' browsers already, but its just an example].

Its also not just “the web” that is a concern to MS… many intranet or other browser based applications may have been coded poorly because their developers felt like they were working in a vendor controlled ecosystem who may have coded to IE6 or IE7 features [document.all, getelementby id, events system, other js quirks].

So as a vendor I think its understandable for MS to be worried about impact of upgrades, but the situation they’re ‘creating’ isn’t all that new to the world of browser releases.

#30 On March 21st, 2008 7:54 am Daniel replied:

Dear WaSP, plase file a bug that reminds the IE developers, that CSS files that aren’t labeld with the media type “text/css” must be ignored.

This is important, because Acid3 will make the remaining engines fix this bug. So if this isn’t fixed in Internet Explorer, it will lead to interoperability problems.

#31 On March 27th, 2008 10:04 am Woodburn replied:

IE8 Won’t even launch on my computer. It crashes each time upon startup.

#32 On April 2nd, 2008 1:02 pm Yo replied:

It doesn’t matter if IE8 replaces previous Ie’s. It can emulate IE7, and you can install a program called “multiple ies” that lets to run 4, 5, 5.5, and 6 along side something past 6 (7 or 8).

#33 On April 2nd, 2008 1:04 pm Yo replied:

And I don’t know why people still even use Ie at all. It pisses me off that I have to hack my designs to make “separate” instructions for individual version of IE.

#34 On April 2nd, 2008 2:11 pm Ajeet replied:

I think I am going to await the release of Service Pack 1 for IE8 before I dive in :)

#35 On May 14th, 2008 7:29 pm Resimler replied:

Ie8 very good, very strong. In particular the “imitation IE7″ function. Open new tab significantly faster than before.

#36 On May 17th, 2008 5:50 pm Jason replied:

I have been waiting for IE8 for such a long time… However, it was such a shock when I first load my site on it today: CSS looks not right, AJAX (prototype) broke down ….. But, I don’t believe I am the only one suffering it!

If you have a look at Facebook, Flickr, My Yahoo, you will soon find out they are experiencing the bloody same problems! IE guys, what the hell you doing? Try to get all developer put “Don’t support IE, please use Firefox or Safari or….”?

Return to top

Post a Reply

Comments are closed.

All of the entries posted in WaSP Buzz express the opinions of their individual authors. They do not necessarily reflect the plans or positions of the Web Standards Project as a group.

This site is valid XHTML 1.0 Strict, CSS | Get Buzz via RSS or Atom | Colophon | Legal