Internet Explorer 8: better than it was but could be better

A few days ago I decided to, once again, give Internet Explorer 8 a try.  I thought it might work better on a fresh system.  Fortunately, it has.  So far, nothing goofy has befallen my system.  Web pages seem to render properly and, overall, the browser seems fairly solid.

That does not mean, thought, that all is bliss in browser land.  While the browser than the last two betas were, it still ‘feels’ like it is in beta.  It lacks a certain amount of polish, I think.  Some sites, ones that were pretty snappy in IE 7, seem more sluggish while others pop right up.  I suspect it is the javascript that is slowing it down.  I don’t know it would be different, but it seems like it is.  Also, when opening new tabs, they sometimes hang.  The tab will get created, a blank page-sometimes-show, but no content is rendered.  Sometimes, just creating an empty tab causes the whole browser to just stop.  The entire browser window will ‘wash out’ and the ‘(not responding)’ popped up in the title bar.  Bringing up the task manager and killing the four or so IE processes solved the problem.  Restarting the browser, I was prompted with the ‘do you want to restore your previous setting’ dialog.  I said yes and the browser dutifully opened all of the sites I had opened in the previous session, plus it opened that blank tab.  Impressive, if only for a second.

Since I have been using Windows 7 for a bit now, I was already used to IE 8’s features.  The in-private browsing works, though I don’t really get why it is needed.  I, know, to cover up ones tracks.  Whatever.  The colored tabs are far more useful.  It helps me keep track  of what tabs are related.  Why is this important?  Well, I tend to forget my ‘trail’, so to speak.  Having same colored tabs at least helps me keep up with my thought train. 

Web slices, a potentially cool feature, are, so far, useless.  I have not seen any sites that use them.  The accelerators are handy. 

So far, as I said, I’ve not run into any compatibility issues.  But, then again, I have not really looked for any.  Since NO site is 100% compliant and NO browser is 100% compliant with everything else, how would I know anyway?  I’m used to things not looking right in Firefox, Safari, Chrome and, of course, IE.  I think the whole ‘standards compliant’ bit is a load of crap anyway.  As long no browser is 100% standards compliant AND the whole bloody internet is not compliant, it is just marketing talk anyway.

All in all, IE 8 is better than the betas and at least as good as IE 7.  I cannot say it is the best browser out there, but it is far from the worst.  It beats Chrome, is as decent as Firefox…no, it’s better.   Microsoft needs to keep an eye on the competition though.  Apple and Mozilla are nipping away at them.  There are a lot of people who are convinced that Chrome is the better of all them all.  I really just don’t understand that.  While the latest version is better than that first horrid release, it still has quite a way to go.    IE 8 is a good start for Microsoft. 

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