It’s exciting when we have a new beta to release! The launch of IE8 developer beta is a huge milestone, and we have set up various mechanisms to collect feedback. Before I list out all of our feedback channels for IE8 betas, I want to explain what we learned from our experience with IE7 feedback.
We were thrilled but a little overwhelmed by the amount of input we got in IE7. Frankly, we couldn’t keep up and really do a good job handling the free-form bug entries. So we want to try something new for IE8. We’ve asked our best bug finders from IE7 and other Microsoft beta programs to handle the bug reporting. (Note: We’ll keep evaluating our invite list and add promising new people as we find them — and removing ones who aren’t delivering).
Everyone will be able to see the bugs they enter and vote on the ones they think are most important. There are instructions how to do this at the end of this blog.
We also have built ways to help us collect feedback in automated ways from everyone. Some of these are technologies you’re probably familiar with like the Customer Experience Improvement Program, which gives us real world usage data like “how many times people click the back button in a session,” and information when IE crashes or hangs. We have also added a new tool called “Report a Webpage Problem…” to help report website compatibility issues.
So here is the more detailed listing of our feedback channels:
- IE8 Technical Beta – We are inviting a group of beta testers from around the world to do beta testing of IE8 and provide us with bugs. These beta testers commit to spending time with IE8 betas and file bugs when they observe unexpected behaviors. The IE team will be evaluating this set of bugs, looking for the most impactful bugs to all of our users.
- Public Votes on IE8 Technical Beta bugs – We want to be transparent about the bugs reported by our beta testers, therefore the bug database for the IE8 Technical beta will be available for everyone to view and vote on issues. , You can sign up here: http://connect.microsoft.com to view the Internet Explorer 8 Technical Beta program. (Note: registration on the Microsoft Connect site is required.)
- Report a Webpage Problem Tool – We have released another tool to help us capture website compatibility issues. The Report a Webpage Problem is a control that can be downloaded and installed in IE8. When you encounter a site that is not rendering correctly, you can submit a report. We use these compatibility reports to populate our compatibility test suite with real site issues seen by users around the world.
- Automated Customer Feedback – Internet Explorer uses an automated system to collect real-world data about the causes of customers’ pain—primarily about crashes and hangs, as well as data that gives us a picture of how IE8 is being used in the real world. The IE8 betas will be opted in by default to Customer Experience Improvement Program, so we can use this automated data to inform us on issues that are affecting beta customers at large.
- IE Beta Newsgroup – This new newsgroup is the all-in-one place to discuss items about IE8 betas. Our Microsoft MVPs and IE team members will monitor this newsgroup.
So, what do you do if you believe you have an issue that the IE team needs to know about? Here are the steps we encourage you to take:
- Read the IE8 Release notes – we try to outline most of the known issues in this document at the time of release.
- Visit the Internet Explorer 8 Technical Beta program on Connect (http://connect.microsoft.com) and view bugs in the database. Note: you must register on the Microsoft Connect to search for your issue
- If you find your issue, please rate it (vote for it). This will help us understand how many people find this issue important
- If you don’t find your issue, you can visit the IE beta newsgroup and post your issue there. Members of the technical beta will be monitoring this newsgroup and can file a bug about the issue on your behalf in the technical beta
If you want to request being added to the IE Technical Beta, you can send email to: IESO@microsoft.com, Subject: Apply for IE Tech Beta, and tell us why you are a great beta tester. There is a limit to the number of people we will add, so if you don’t make it in, please follow our guidelines above when you encounter issues.
Thanks and happy beta!
Lead Program Manager
[Update: Release Notes link updated]