Microsoft releases Internet Explorer 8

After  much beta testing, Microsoft has finally launched its latest version of Internet Explorer, version 8.

The launch of a new browser from Microsoft is normally a source of some despair from web developers everywhere (oh, no they cry, now THREE IE browser versions to "work around"). Well actually, in this case it's not so bad, as IE8 is probably the most standards compliant browser that Microsoft have produced, and sites that display correctly in rival browsers Firefox, Opera, and Safari seem to appear much the same in IE8. Perhaps it's a bit of self inditement that IE8 includes a "Compatibility mode" intended to correct some of the display errors that arise where sites have been designed to suit earlier, and less W3C standard compliant, versions.

Most general users won't notice much difference from IE7 - slightly more compact graphics and toolbars that take up less screen space, and a less minimalistic approach to the toolbars on display, but go in a little deeper and there's quite a few improvements with the inclusion of developer tools and other fatures that have been included in other browsers for some while.

Overall an improvement, and worth upgrading. But not perhaps enough of an improvement to lure deserters away from main rival Firefox, which according to our stats now holds around a 17% share of users. And certainly not enough to lure us back from our current favourites Opera and Firefox.