Internet Explorer 8 is Out

If you hear a faint chorus of cheers through the air ducts, that would web designers around the world heralding the arrival of Internet Explorer 8.

Microsoft released version 8 of it’s browser product at 12:00PM EST today. The interface will be familiar to anyone that has used IE7, sacrificing the standard window layout in the name of poor usability. They have tweaked it quite a bit, however, and the whole experience seems a little smoother. It also got a solid kick in the rendering pants along the way, although it still scores poorly in Javascript speed tests and W3C standards compliance.

Of course, the celebration by web developers over the IE 8 release really is more about IE 6. With IE 6 now two releases out of date, nagging users to upgrade and dropping IE 6 hacking of your sites becomes a much more palatable option. Which doesn’t mean, as Fab from Linux Outlaws jokingly said, a giant banner screaming “GET THE HELL OFF MY WEB SITE!” at IE6 users.


But a notice indicating a site hasn’t been tested with IE6 and links to the IE8 upgrade page (and maybe some other browser download links) is now, in my opinion, within bounds. And if you didn’t explicitly hack your site for IE6, the IE6 user will also be encouraged to upgrade when your site is rendered as a giant pile of awful.

On a side note, there are rumors circulating that IE8 may be the last IE release on the Trident engine. Earlier there were rumors about WebKit replacing trident, and now there’s talk of an experimental engine called Gazelle (PDF) taking the reigns. It will be interesting to see where Microsoft goes with their browser in the next few years.

Edit: If you want a quick and easy way to gently prod IE6 users, check out this 1k, 1 line Javascript solution.