Thursday, August 28th 2008
I just downloaded IE8 beta 2 and gave it a quick spin. Here are my first impressions, starting with the good:
- The new tab grouping & colouring feature is nice. Hopefully someone will make a Firefox extension to replicate this behaviour. (I can’t seem to find one today.)
- The private browsing feature is great. Firefox 3 should have had this by default. (At least two Firefox extensions exist that do this.)
Accelerators feature is good and exists as a Firefox extension: Context Search.
Then a few good things where IE8 has caught up with the competition:
- It passes the Acid2 test and now renders the web in a much more standards compliant way.
- It has a Find bar and not a Find window that constantly gets in the user’s way.
- It restores crashed sessions.
- It lets you restore closed tabs.
- It has an improved Fullscreen mode, à la Firefox 3.
The bad is that my main reasons to avoid Internet Explorer are still there:
- Opening a new tab still feels as slow as beating an elephant to death with a USB stick. The funny thing is that the IE team mock Mozilla et al for working with improvements on the millisecond scale, while they themselves still have improvements to make on the whole second scale.
- The menu-buttons to the right are slow as well.
- I still can’t rearrange the toolbars and buttons as I would like to. Which equals a step back to Netscape 6.
- Ctrl+L still brings up the stupid open dialog instead of just focusing the location bar.
It remains to be seen if they can improve the tab-opening performance enough for the final release. I’m guessing they won’t. (Enough in this case would be as fast as Firefox 3, which on my 3200+ AMD opens tabs instantly.)