Address Bar Improvements in Internet Explorer 8 Beta 1


Hey everyone, Christopher here. It’s been a while since I’ve blogged anything here (over a year in fact). While my role in IE7 was focused on security community outreach, for IE8 I’m focused on increasing security, and delivering great end-user features. The first of which we gave some love to is the Address bar.

Domain Highlighting

At a glance, the most visible change with IE8 is Domain Highlighting. Internet Explorer 8 will automatically highlight what it considers to be the owning domain of whatever site you’re currently viewing. This helps users identify the real site they’re on when a website attempts to deceive them. The screen shot below shows how IE8’s Domain Highlighting can help users spot these attacks:

Address Bar Domain Highlighting

With IE8, it should be clearer that you’re at a website owned by Example.com and not Microsoft.com.

Domain Highlighting effectively calls out what Internet Explorer 8 recognizes as the owning domain for the purposes of making security decisions. This helps with things like sharing cookie information with subdomains, or whether it allows scripting calls. Domain Highlighting does not make any security guarantees in itself, but it gives the user more information to determine whether to trust the site based on their own experience. If you think you’ve found a site that incorrectly reports the owning domain, we want to know about it. Refer to the IE Beta Feedback post for channels to get this information to us.

Domain Highlighting will ‘disappear’ if the user hovers over or clicks in the Address Bar. This lets you edit, copy or paste a URL without being distracted by the highlighting.

Domain Highlighting cannot be turned off by users or websites. It works in concert with other information provided in the Address bar, like Safety Filter warnings or HTTPS certificate information. It appears on all versions of Windows that IE8 supports: Windows Vista, Windows Server 2008, Windows Server 2003, and Windows XP.

This screenshot below shows how Domain Highlighting looks when a user is at a site using an Extended Validation (EV) SSL certificate:

Address Bar Domain Highlighting with EV SSL Certificate

When used with SSL (or EV SSL) sites, both the owning domain and the HTTPS protocol are highlighted.

Besides domain highlighting, we’ve also added a few usability improvements to IE8’s address bar:

Support For Pasting Multi-Line URLs

IE8 will automatically strip out excess carriage returns and line feeds within a URL when pasted into the Address Bar. Many web e-mail applications automatically split long lines into multiple lines, which meant you couldn’t easily copy and paste them into the browser. Users can now highlight an entire URL, no matter how many lines it spans, and paste it directly into the Address Bar.

Example: if you copy and paste the next 3 lines into the Address Bar of IE7, only the first line (an incomplete fragment of the entire URL) will appear. In IE8, the entire URL will appear:

http://bl
ogs.msdn.
com/ie

Improved Click Behavior

Internet Explorer 8 has an improved model for inserting the selection carat, and selecting words, or entire URLs in the Address bar:

  • Single-click within a URL to insert the caret. This allows the user to make an in-line edit easily.
  • Double-click within a URL to select the word (words are delimited by common characters like slashes).
  • Triple-click to select the entire URL.
  • A subsequent click (a fourth click) will cycle back to the single-click behavior.

Inline Autocomplete: cut for IE8

We’ve cut the inline autocomplete feature in the Address Bar in IE8. This option was disabled by default in IE7 and has been removed from the Address Bar in IE8. However the advanced option that controls the behavior will still exist, because other parts of Windows will still use this functionality if the user chooses to enable it – just not the Address Bar.

One final change

Finally, we’ve made one more subtle change in IE8 Beta 1. Prior to IE8, when you typed a string into the address bar, an option at the very bottom would always appear that says “Search for <the string you typed>.”  If you selected this option, IE would check to see if it was the name of a top-level Favorite, and if not, pass off the request to Windows File Explorer, then pass off the request to the network (and hopefully to the Internet). If all else failed, you might see a page provided by your auto-search provider (likely but not always the same as your default search provider), or in some cases, your ISP might offer up some choices instead. Back in, say, 1997 when the option was added, it seemed like ‘search’ was an appropriate term to use. Of course today, ‘search’ is a loaded and specific term, and it doesn’t really correctly describe what happens when you choose that option, so we renamed it. Now it’s “Go to <the string you typed>.” The behavior of IE8 itself isn’t different, it still follows the same steps to try and take you where you’re going, but we thought it was worth changing the wording so nobody got confused.

That’s a summary of what’s new & different for the Address Bar in IE8 Beta 1. I will be looking through the comments to this post for useful & constructive feedback about these changes.

Thanks for trying Internet Explorer Beta 1!

Christopher Vaughan
Program Manager

Edit: updated spacing in http://blogs.msdn.com/ie example

Comments (110)

  1. Todd says:

    "Refer to the IE Beta Feedback post"

    Once again, no one cares about any other option except filing a bug report!

    If you are not going to open up the bug tracking to the entire development community – then please stop posting that there are options – because there aren’t any!

    OPEN UP THE PUBLIC BUG TRACKING! DID 2007 NOT TEACH MS ANYTHING?

  2. gabe says:

    ive read ie5.5 does better on acid 3 then ie6 or 7 is this true

  3. Todd says:

    Why on earth did you cut inline auto-complete from the address bar?

    This has got to be one of the most important features in the address bar!

    Look how much effort the Mozilla crew spent on improving this functionality in Firefox 3!

    I understand that the IE implementation is very weak, but to chop it completely is unbelievable!

  4. Gyrobo says:

    That domain highlighting will prevent phishing attacks is a fallacy.

    The problem isn’t that users aren’t sure which domain they’re on, it’s that the domain itself is spoofed, such as by replacing characters like the lower case letter "l" with the digit "1".

    If anything, graying out most of a page’s address will HELP phishers by obfuscating subdomains. Differentiating between "l" and "1" is hard enough without poor contrast.

  5. Arjan says:

    I almost welcome new ideas. Probably the highlighed real domain future will be stolen bij FF and Opera soon

  6. Andy says:

    @Gyrobo.  It’s a start.

    Highlighting text on a page seems to be awkward to do, btw.

    Also, Microsoft Updates does not recognize IE8 as a trusted browser.  Are we going to receive updates by other means?

  7. Andy says:

    @Gyrobo.  It’s a start.

    Highlighting text on a page seems to be awkward to do, btw.

    Also, Microsoft Updates does not recognize IE8 as a trusted browser.  Are we going to receive updates by other means?

  8. Tim Brastow says:

    I love how people go into panic mode over a BETA…

    …this could be the FF3 Beta and no one would care about missing things.

    But if an IE8 Alpha/Beta has one tiny mistake, MS gets flamed on their asses for being corporate sellouts and that they’re such a horrible company.

  9. JoshKierpiec says:

    Just a few comments/feedback:

    @Gyrobo:

    "That domain highlighting will prevent phishing attacks is a fallacy."

    Its hard to understand how you generated that observation based on Chris’ statement…

    "Domain Highlighting does not make any security guarantees in itself, but it gives the user more information to determine whether to trust the site based on their own experience."

    I do agree, though, that the contrast of the grey text againts the slightly lighter grey background could make some users a bit squinty. Possibly darkening the dimmed text versus a bold domain name might be easier on the eyes?

    As for the "Go to" rename. I have to admit, that it is slightly misleading to me when I type in a word that is not recognized by the drop down as "Go to ‘sports’". It doesnt really give me a reasonable clue as to where I might be going?

    I would suggest either the word "Discover" as to imply that IE doesnt recognize that the user has viewed anything sport related – thus when you are more than likely directed to a search page, you have that ability to "Discover".

    Or, alternatively, give a few options as to where the user could go and allow them to choose. Either "Search for ‘sports’" or "Go to http://sports&quot;

    Something along those lines.  Keep up the good work.

  10. EricLaw [MSFT] says:

    @Gyrobo: There are multiple mechanisms used for phishing.

    Domain highlighting helps force phishers to attempt to use a legitimate-looking ~domain name~, rather than using the path or bogus subdomains to obscure the actual first-level domain.  

    Hence, we reduce the attack surface available to phishers and make it even easier for the Safety Filter to block phish.

    @Andy: WindowsUpdate will be fixed; for now, simply use the Emulate IE7 button.

    The highlighting issues are known bugs.  Thanks.

  11. Evan says:

    It is amazing how one screenshot (the top one) can show so many issues with IE at once!

    1.) ClearType is obviously not clear. Black text is flanked by a rainbow of red,blue,green.

    2.) With so much clutter on the command bar, there is no room for tabs.

    3.) Reading the rest of the url is now much harder.  MS should consider bolding the important part rather than hiding the less-important part.

    Oh and when you "cut" a feature, it isn’t exactly a "usability improvement".

    you might want to pull that bit about "cutting" a feature from the "things we improved" section.

  12. Clinton says:

    @Tim Brastow

    What you underestimate is that an IE8 Beta 1 bug will very likely become an IE8 RTM "feature".

    "feature" as in: "A buggy feature of IE8 that developers will have to go out of their way to support"

    It is only when there is a horrendous uproar on the IE Blog/across the web that MS reconsiders a bad design decision.

    Cases in point:

    * IE7+

    * IE7 popup window min-height (min-width was desired too, but was rejected)

    * IE8 Standards Mode opt-in

  13. Nick says:

    Figured I’d throw out some thoughts.

    I completely disagree with your choice regarding clicking in the address bar.  I REALLY prefer having a single click highlight the entire URL (ala IE6 style).  This is one of the most annoying things about Firefox.  When I click in the address bar it’s because I want to go to a different URL altogether.

    Please, please, please use the IE6 method of manipulating the address bar. Single-click to highlight the whole thing and then subsequent clicks to insert the caret.  This is *much* more usable.

    As far as inline autocomplete, disabling the feature is fine, but why cut it completely?  This reeks of Vista mentality: I don’t use it so CUT CUT CUT!  I just hope you kept the drop-down list of previous URLs so that I can arrow down to select them.

    I really have high hopes for IE8.  Please make it great, and don’t make the same mistakes the Vista team made when it comes to interface features.

  14. David says:

    I agree with the above comment about click behavior.  When I single-click it’s always to replace the URL.  Me replacing an entire URL versus wanting to insert or remove some text is at least 90/1.  Adding all these extra clicks will be very annoying.

    Same feedback on inline autocomplete.  I always go in and enable that feature before even trying to use IE; it’s part the handful of settings I always change.  The fact it’s disabled by default has always confused me since I like it so much but at least I’ve been able to turn it on.  Removing it completely will be so incredibly annoying and require extra clicks/typing.  Why remove this specific aspect of it if the underlying functionality will remain?  Why the sudden urge to make it harder to use the address bar?

  15. Jason Cox says:

    @Nick:

    If the Address Bar doesn’t have focus and you click on it, it will highlight the entire URL.

    However if the Address Bar has focus already, then the scenarios that Christopher mentioned above come into play.

  16. Garry Trinder says:

    Absolutely love the Address Bar Improvements.

    The Msft IE team rocks!

  17. Will Peavy says:

    What about sites that use a subdomain as part of their site name?

    For example:

    script.aculo.us

    del.icio.us

    me.dium.com

    div.estor.info

    Users are only going to see things like "icio.us" or "estor.info" highlighted. That seems more confusing to me, because users won’t recognize the site’s name as easily in the address bar.

    Even on sites, where the subdomain is not used as part of a site name, but rather to denote a portion of the site (for example, blogs.msdn.com), it’s easier for me to see where I am if the subdomain is not grayed out.

  18. Colin says:

    WHY are you removing inline auto-complete?  This is crazy.  This now means that when I want to get to the most common sites I visit I have to start typing, then either arrow down and enter or use my mouse to move to the address in the list and click.  With inline auto-complete I can just press enter.  

    Like Nick it’s a feature I always turn on after a new install and have often wondered why it’s not on by default as it can be a valuable time saver.

    I really don’t understand what possible reason there could be for removing this feature.

  19. Ed Brfey says:

    I can guess why inline autocomplete is being removed – because it confuses people typing in a URL if some big honking URL shows up and they just wanted the home page of example.com. So I don’t complain about turning it off by default.

    But to drop it is a big usability hole for advanced users. Quite often, the autocomplete option is exactly what I want. If it isn’t, I can arrow down, or if I just want to truncate, I can press the Delete key. Dropping the feature would make sense if the need to truncate was more common than autocomplete having the right answer ready to go. However, this is not the case.

  20. Normal User says:

    i am pleased with everything so far and am sure a lot of "normal" people would be pleased too.

    keep up the good work.

    i only have one issue; its no longer possible to use your default search engine to search from the address bar – except you type search before the word (or phrase) eg "search ITEM."

    An option is if the drop down had a "Search" (like "Go to") and they ("Search" and "Go to") both appear on the top of the drop down.

    And before you moan, I know CTRL+E gets me to the search bar. The point is that I would rather see my default search engine make a search than IE tell me that the page canot be displayed.

    If you could make this a permanent option in Advanced option it would be best.

  21. AC says:

    What’s the point of having the Menu below the address bar? Every app has the menu above, you’re not gaining anything but confusion by doing this.

  22. CJ Barnes says:

    Re. the Domain Highlighting, I don’t know how much difference it will make security-wise (it’s a nice idea though, got to be worth trying) – but I think it’s a brilliant idea because it’ll start weaning the average user off the pointless "www." prefix in URLs. Taking away the www is the future of the web, and greying it out in the Address Bar (in the same way the http:// is greyed out) will help people see it as an unnecessary extra.

    Re. single-click behaviour, I wholly disagree with Nick and Dave above; as a web professional I navigate between pages in the same website via the Address Bar all the time – so I usually select small parts of the URL instead of the whole thing. The new single-click behaviour is much better, please keep it that way!

  23. SW says:

    I don’t usually get involved with blog feedback but reading the comments I’d have to agree with many of them.

    – Domain highlighting: Make the owning domain bolder and keep the rest a readable colour would make sense.

    – Click Behaviour: 50/50 Yes your making it behave like MS Word / Office which I like, but with ie 99% of the time I type a whole new address in the bar so 1 click to highlight it all would still be good.

    – Auto complete: I could be confused but even though it says its turned off I can still use the save password on forms and address bar history features. Good time saving (If a little insecure) features to keep.

    – “Search for” I’ve always used the feature to lazily search… I didn’t know it tried other resources first. ‘Discover’ sounds like the most appropriate suggestion so far.

    – Pasting and filtering line feeds was missed out in the comments, guess its seen as a good thing and no need to comment. But thought I’d acknowledge it as a good thing. 🙂

  24. hmm says:

    What about .co.uk, .com.au, co.jp, etc.?

  25. Gyrobo says:

    And it seems that if you were really serious about preventing spoofing, you’d include the URL of a site in the alert, confirm, and prompt Javascript displays.

  26. Gyrobo says:

    And it seems that if you were really serious about preventing spoofing, you’d include the URL of a site in the alert, confirm, and prompt Javascript displays.

  27. nathanael.jones@gmail.com says:

    So will the new version still require us to wait 5 seconds before we can enter a url, since IE overwrites the address bar with the homepage long after it loads? I find this intensely annoying – and stupid.

  28. Jasmine says:

    Good News!

    Glad to see that background images attached (non-repeating) to the left of an input field finally stay put when the user types beyond the visible portion of the text box!

    This drove me nuts in IE6/IE7!

    Bad News!

    If I have a container (div) on a page, with a set height/width and overflow-x set to auto there is an issue with scrolling.

    When I scroll with the scroll wheel, the div scrolls, but it scrolls regardless if it has focus or even if the mouse is over it.  I can scroll with the wheel ANYWHERE on the page and the div scrolls. This is obviously highly undesired behavior.

    PS this is in IE8 standards mode.

  29. Mirronelli says:

    Turning inline auto complete as it was implemented in ie7 is a good thing. It always bothered me when I wanted to visit eg. our intranet site root and it automatically placed the longest url deep in site hierarchy. But I must admit that keeping an option to turn it on would be more liberal 🙂 for the ones who like it.

    But I think there are more improvements that could help people and I do believe that those can be easily implemented:

    1. let users choose if the list of visited urls that shows under address bar while typing is sorted alphabetically or by date visited (an option in settings). I honestly do not know what is the sorting key now but an aplhabetical order would be really helpful.

    2. provide some way of tab completion while typing url. so that every time I press tab it completes the word based on its first few letters looking in visited url list. same way as windows explorer does.

    example:

    i have previously visited these sites: http://www.live.com

    http://www.microsoft.com

    http://www.microsoft.com/sql

    http://www.microsoft.com/sql/overview.aspx

    http://www.microsoft.com/sql/overview.aspx?display=short

    http://www.microsoft.com/sql/overview.aspx?sessionid=17&display=short

    i start typing "ww" and press tab

     it completes to www.

    i continue typing "mic" and press tab

     it completes to http://www.microsoft.com

    i continue typing "s" and press tab

     it completes to http://www.microsoft.com/sql

    i continue typing "o" and press tab

     it completes to http://www.microsoft.com/sql/overview.aspx

    i continue typing "?ses" and press tab

     it completes to http://www.microsoft.com/sql/overview.aspx?sessionid=17&display=short

    Easy yet strongly productive. Specially for us developers who type urls very often.

    I know tab is used for selecting rows in the list but that can be done by arrow keys anyway.

  30. Gyrobo says:

    *Sigh*

    My last comment didn’t get through, so I’ll try to replicate it.

    "…rather than using the path or bogus subdomains to obscure the actual first-level domain… …we reduce the attack surface available to phishers…"

    If anything, graying out all but the domain INCREASES the attack surface, by drawing attention from the address bar to the tab bar.

    A clear-cut title and pleasant favicon are much easier to read than a homogenized blob of grey goo. What you’re doing is training users to ignore the address bar.

  31. nathanael.jones@gmail.com says:

    Can you PLEASE give us IE conditional selectors in CSS? Conditional comments requires separate CSS files or inline style sections, both of which are bad.

    * html was a FANTASTIC idea in IE6! We all love yo for it! It was an absolutely awesome idea – A huge time saver over conditional comments, and much more useful.

    I was very disappointed to find no equivalent in IE7! How was I going to fix all of the IE7 issues now, without resorting to separate files?

    I suggest a ‘parent element’ we can use to select browser versions. This is completely compatible with other browsers, and incapable of causing problems or conflicts.

    * html div.something{

    /*to fix IE6*/

    }

    ie7 div.price{

    /*CSS to fix broken margins in ie7*/

    }

    ie8 div.area{

    /*CSS to fix additional issues introduced in IE8 */

    }

    Why not? This would make everybody so happy!

    Friends and readers, VOTE! Let Microsoft know you want this feature!

  32. sharp65 says:

    I love the new highlighting feature, it really makes the domain your on stand out. But why was the auto-complete feature removed? As someone else already mentioned other browsers are enhancing this for future versions, this should definitely be a user option. I don’t see any reason why it should be permanently removed.

  33. nathanael.jones@gmail.com says:

    It would be cool if your articles were valid XHTML, and if you could get the validation error count down from 85 to somewhere around 10. (I know it’s difficult to get below 10 using ASP.NET 3.5 – it was designed for HTML 3.0)

  34. David says:

    If the subdomain is longer than the address bar, will it scroll the address bar so that the highlighted domain name is visible? And does it properly highlight .co.uk domains and such?

  35. I really like the functionality of the website, I don’t want it to change in IE8!

  36. Timothy Zahn says:

    Don’t worry… They’ve provided the same functionality as crashie.com directly in the interface! See http://blogs.computerworld.com/heres_why_ie8_crashes

  37. Alan Hogan says:

    *sigh*

    The Granny Test is my informal-yet-revealing 2-second test for readability. If I can’t read it when I squint my eyes, "Granny" can’t read it at all.  Not just Granny, but many with less than perfect eyesight, or those watching a presentation from the back of the room.

    Now go look at the address bar in screenshot 2 (the gray text on the green background) and apply the Granny Test.  Can’t read the rest of the domain, can you?

    As good as an idea as this is, truly, it needs to have higher contrast to be usable!

  38. dbp says:

    Very disappointed about losing inline auto-complete. This has saved me a lot of time in accessing previously-visited pages, and I enable it on any computer I’d spent much time at. Its behavior was not adequately implemented by the FF extensions I tried, so it became a major plus for IE.

    I’d appreciate some way to accomplish part-by-part navigation. It could be what Mirronelli suggested, or it could be hitting the right arrow, or something else, but you’ll be giving up the high ground if this isn’t in IE8.

  39. Matt says:

    "I almost welcome new ideas. Probably the highlighed real domain future will be stolen bij FF and Opera soon"

    I find this comment hilarious, because Firefox has had this feature as an extension(Locationbar2) for over a year, and it looks exactly like it is in IE8.  Microsoft stole it from them.  It was included at one point in Firefox 3, but they ended up taking the feature out in favor of the site identity button.

  40. Dao says:

    I’m glad that you’re giving the domain highlighting a try.

    Some credit to the inventors would’ve been nice, though. 🙂

  41. It’s nice to hear from you guys, nice to know you’re not dead (yet).

    I do have a request though… more UI customisability. I don’t want the favorites bar, so I hide it. That results in two buttons next to the tabs. I don’t want them – I never use favorites, history or feeds. I really don’t. Please give me the ability to hide those buttons completely.

    Same goes for the buttons on the right hand side… let me move them around like I can in Firefox. I never use the search area, but those buttons would look better there.

    I want my header area to be as small as possible, without buttons and options I never use.

  42. Oran says:

    I think domain highlighting and multi-line URL pasting are great features.  Somewhat related to the address bar is adding the ability to drag-and-drop URLs onto the address bar, onto other tabs, or onto the "new tab".  If you’re going to support drag-and-drop of URLs, please offer a complete solution.

  43. RJ says:

    myproblem with IE 8, that although it is in beta, and that you want people to test the beta, it should be allowed to use windows update.  Instead IE 8 is blocked from being allowed to be used to update windows.  So Ifail to see how I can use it test, if I cannot update the computer using it.

  44. question says:

    How hard would it be to catch up with other browsers and add the PAGE TITLE IN THE ADDRESS BAR HISTORY?!!?!?!?

    Suppose you have bunch of forum visits, all the history shows is

    sd.domain.tld/forum.asp?thread=392935749234&blabla=234234

    when it COULD show

    sd.domain.tld/forum.asp?thread=392935749234&blabla=234234 (TITLE OF THE PAGE CACHED WHEN IT WAS LAST VISITED)

    – which likely would be the subject of the thread, like in this blog it is.

    WHEN WILL IE ADD THIS?

  45. Morten says:

    What about the length of the URL you can enter in the address bar?

    With REST getting more and more popular, some rest-endpoints can end up having very large URLs. IE is currently the browser that limits this use the most.

    Has this been increased significantly for IE8?

  46. EricLaw [MSFT] says:

    @Morten: No, URL limits in IE remain the same; 2083 bytes.  Significantly Longer URLs often end up causing problems with load-balancers.  Obviously this limit doesn’t apply to the body of a REST POST body.

    @RJ: Simply use the "Emulate IE7" button when visiting WindowsUpdate.

    @Dao: Actually, I believe that the Quero toolbar for IE had such highlighting well before LocationBar2.  However, it’s entirely possible that there were even earlier implementations.

  47. Carey says:

    @hmm: IE8 seems to have some code to guess whether .uk, .nz, .au, etc. second level domains count for highlighting.

    For example, domains under .co.uk are highlighted but those under .ltd.uk aren’t; domains under .co.nz are highlighted, but not .gen.nz, .school.nz or .iwi.nz; .com.au, .gov.au and .id.au are OK, but not .asn.au or .nsw.au.

    I think Microsoft employs a few people in these countries, so maybe they can get it right for the final release.

  48. Andrew Denny says:

    I agree about ‘inserting the selection carat’.  

    I use IE7, Firefox2 & 3, and Safari3.  

    One thing above all that I prefer about IE7 is that single-clicking in the address bar selects the WHOLE of the URL. I ALMOST ALWAYS want to select the whole URL.  Safari and Firefox irritate the hell out of me about this.  Please keep the single-click selection!!!

  49. Dao says:

    Interesting, I didn’t know about Quero. I guess you did look at Firefox nonetheless, since the styling that we used in nightly builds was just like yours, including an ellipsis for long addresses. That’s fine though. In fact, it’s an intended effect — good ideas need to be shared.

    I’m anxious to see your final implementation. Maybe it will make us reconsider domain highlighting for a later release.

  50. Matt says:

    Three clicks just to select the entire URL, a little much, don’t you think. I like the current (IE7) way of doing it, one click to select the entire address, etc. It makes it much easier to copy URL’s. Also, mistakes tend to be made easily while trying to do a triple-click.

  51. Ted says:

    @@dao– i’m pretty sure windows (and everyone else) was using ellipsis to indicate truncated overlong text since the dawn of time…  

    It’s pretty much a standard convention everywhere.  ie’s file download dialog has done it at least since ie3…

  52. KS says:

    "IE8 will automatically strip out excess carriage returns and line feeds within a URL when pasted into the Address Bar."

    Oh, great, spammers will like that. Now they can obfuscate the URLs in the mail even better as IE will take care of that anyway.

    And just one comment about the one-/two-/three-click behavior of the addressbar: that’s just mad!

  53. Ted says:

    @@ks: Spammers that send broken hyperlinks that aren’t even clickable are going to have a hard time making any money at all.  go troll somewhere else.

  54. Dao says:

    Ted: It’s not a standard convention for the address bar, since that’s coming from a text field rather than a label. I’m pretty sure IE didn’t do that before, although I can’t check now.

  55. KS says:

    Wait. The description under "Improved Click Behavior" is actually *not correct*.

    – first click selects entire URL (as before)

    – second click sets caret (as before)

    – third click selects word (new)

    – fourth click selects URL again (as before)

    So, the only change is the additional word selection. If it stays that way that’s fine.

  56. Thomas Krause says:

    Ok, just my 2ct’s:

    – I agree with others here that you could reduce the dimming of the "domain highlight"-feature a bit and maybe (if it looks ok) make the domain part bold. This is however a minor problem for me.

    – First click in address bar (when it gets the focus) should always select the complete url, like it works now in IE7. Because most of the time you click in the address bar you want to visit another website, so you want to override the comlete url. After the adress bar has focus, it should work as you described in your post (single clicks should move the cursor for editing, double click should select word, triple click should select the whole url again).

    – "Go to" sounds not right to me, I believe most people use this function to search the web for the phrase entered (at least I do), so the feature should have a name that matches this behavior. I would vote to keep the old "search for" text. This is also consistent with the overall Vista theme of having search boxes everywhere. Again this is not a thing that I really care about myself. I won’t notice it after a few days of using it, but I think it may confuse new users of IE.

    – I assume that the toolbar next to the tabs is configurable. However there should be less buttons in the standard configuration. They waste too much space for tabs.

    As for the rest it seems everything is on the right track. Good work!

  57. Rowan says:

    @everyone

    "First click in address bar (when it gets the focus) should always select the complete url, like it works now in IE7."

    That’s exactly what IE8 does, the only real difference is that double clicking the URL no longer selects the whole line. Otherwise it’s the same old behaviour.

    Christopher Vaughan’s description of the clicking behaviour was poorly worded.

  58. Rowan says:

    Actually, I just noticed some weird (buggy?) behaviour with the single click.

    If the Windows task bar is in focus (as opposed to IE8), then when I click in the address bar of IE it doesn’t select the URL.

    However if I have IE8 focused (e.g. clicked on a blank page), then when I click in the address bar it _does_ select the whole URL.

    The buggy part is that sometimes it seems to ignore these conditions and do its own thing, completely inconsistently.

  59. Mateo says:

    Acid 2 test: horrible,

    Acid3, don’t even talk about it…

    🙁 When you will learn to make a deccent browser?

  60. Nathan says:

    Honestly the whole tool bar on IE7 is hideous so in reality MS could add 1000 so called enhancemnets but in the end they will only alienate more and more users.

    I would love to see the results from the user testing done on the toolbar, surely you are doing some real user testing? Or at the very least listening to feedback?

    Greying out the "un-important" parts of the URL is a terrible way to handle this, the suggestions of bolding the "important" parts is a much better idea or even highlighting with a different background colour.

    While you’re "fixing" the toolbar it would be nice to see the refresh and stop buttons moved back to the correct position, and put the menu bar back at the top where it belongs.

    Oh well, even if the tool bar stays as is at least I don’t have to worry too much about it because I use Firefox anyway, but testing in IE is a painful experience and not just because of the bugs but because of the horribly un-usable toolbar. This is why so many people I know still prefer IE6 over 7 and if its not changed they will still prefer IE6 over 8…

  61. game kid says:

    @Rowan: I can reproduce this by clicking in the browser window (with this page open), clicking the address bar (which does select the full URL), clicking the Windows taskbar, and clicking the address bar again (which does NOT select the full URL but position the text cursor at the mouse cursor).

    Also, the three-line IEBlog address has spaces so the copy/paste does not work as you hoped.  I still strongly support the greyed-URL parts though.

  62. Andrew says:

    I love how people post trash and obviously haven’t spent the 30 seconds to customize their browser.

    You can right-click on the tool bar and get rid of the favorites.  You can also get rid of the text and only see icons.  You can also remove icons and do re-ordering.

    As for real feedback, make it easier to customize "Read Mail" to go to hotmail or gmail instead of outlook.

  63. Mike C says:

    Loosing inline auto-complete makes baby jesus cry!  🙁

  64. Thank you for the multiline url pasting!

    As for the graying out of most of the URL — some web developers go through a lot of work to make those URLs have meaning — only to be grayed out and unreadable. I’d rather see bold text used as the differentiator.

    Or, when not in SSL mode, put the domain name where the name of the company is when under SSL.

  65. mocax says:

    Just a note, it takes 5 consequtive clicks to cycle from caret mode back to caret mode.

    assuming URL bar has focus:

    1. caret

    2. highlight word

    3. highlight line

    4. highlight word again

    5. caret.

  66. Victor says:

    the multiline url pasting is nice feature.

    auto complete is good, whay take it away? fix it or rebuild it, dont remove it.. have better FTP support and integration within IE 8.

  67. Moris says:

    Why you cut the Inline Autocomplete????

    It’s one of the features the prevent me to switch to other browsers!! This saves a lot of time in accessing url. Please provide an option to allow users to activate it back.

  68. Jote says:

    Improved click behavior – here’s an idea

    When you tripleclick the URL show a Office2007-like semi-transparent copy button

  69. Jote says:

    Domain highlighting:

    Highlight the FIRST subdomain as well, otherwise it’s useless for 90% of the blogs out there.

  70. Stifu says:

    "I almost welcome new ideas. Probably the highlighed real domain future will be stolen bij FF and Opera soon"

    lol. For your information, this "new idea" was first implemented last year in Firefox 3 during the alpha cycle, and was later removed because it was considered more annoying than helpful.

  71. hAl says:

    The in line autocomplete and the complete using the dropdownbox would work a lot better if the urls of the same domain were sorted by length first and/or if you could set a low limit to the number of url variantions of a single domain are kept in the list.

    Another option would be to not keep URLs with long (numerical) ID’s in the list of URLs or only keep the last one visited of those.

    Scrolling trough a list of useless unrecognizable URLs isn’t very helpfull to anyone.

  72. Lister says:

    I tried to sign into the connect site to file some bug reports but it is only giving me read-only access?

    Can you please talk to the Connect folks to get this fixed!

    Right now the Connect site is useless if I (and others) can’t submit bugs!

  73. titrat says:

    What nerves me is that ie6 up to ie8 overwrite my typed address:

    When i start ie and enter a url in the address-bar, some seconds later the ie overwrites my typed chars, or appends the string "about:blank".

    if the adddres is not empty any more, ie should not overwrite or change it.

    when i change the start-page to "about:blank" i really meant that ie should not touch the address-line in any way.

    Any other browser respects my typing.

  74. David Fauber says:

    "Inline Autocomplete: cut for IE8"

    Maybe I’m being dense, but how could this possibly be considered an improvement?

  75. Hi.

    I think the grey color in the address bar, lowers the usability. Couldn’t you make it a bit more dark?

  76. Francis says:

    I’m also for restoring inline autocomplete. It’s one of the first things I turn on when I sit at a new computer!

    However, it is nuts that the option–for all of Windows–is located in the IE’s Internet control panel.

  77. jcym says:

    Apart from the pasting of split URLs I didn’t even realise the other features where special to IE8 as I have had them on IE6 and IE7 for a long time. Then a poster mentioned Quero and I remembered that whenever I set up a new system or do a reinstall for myself I automatically add the latest version of Quero and that already gives me all of the features outlined except for pasting a split url. So I have URL selection, carat insertion, word selection and back to URL as well as main domain name highlighting already

    In IE7+Quero a single click selects the URL if it is unfocussed, a double click (whether the URL has focus or not) selects word, a triple click (whether the URL has focus or not) goes back to URL selected. If the URL or any portion of the URL is selected then a single click places the carat where required in the URL, double click and triple click as above.

    As to the domain highlighting, I have always found that very useful to quickly see what is the main domain. However, rather than fading the ‘unimportant’ part of the url Quero puts a light grey highlight behind the main domain name which makes it easy to see whilst also keeping the rest easily visible. With your implementation I find it a struggle to see the ‘unimportant’ faded out part. While this may not be of much use to many users I find it useful to be easily able to see it all and so would at least wish for an option of what kind of highlighting to use for the main domain name.

    Also, I definitely think that dumping AutoComplete is a retrograde step as I use it all the time, as do most people I know. Admittedly I dare say that few of us would likely be considered average users. But again, as with my request for main domain name highlighting options, I really hope that this will be made optional for those who use it, even if left off by default and tucked away somewhere obscure.

  78. David says:

    Given the changes in the mouse interaction with the address bar, will there be any changes in the keyboard interaction? eg will alt + D still move to and select the address bar? Any changes would obviously affect blind users and others who either can’t or prefer not to use a mouse.

  79. Amit says:

    Good call guys! Inline completion was a big pain of mine.

    Although, I don’t like how IE8/7/6 lists additional urls. So as I begin to type a url, IE will provide a dropdown of suggested urls and will filter as I continue to type the URL. Here’s the problem – it’s sorted alphabetically. Why? Why not use ‘frecency’ (frequency + recency), as Firefox does. So it would list urls based on how often I visit and how recently I visited the site.

    Also, in FF3 the list will include the title of the page. That’s another huge benefit when trying to find that Craigslist needle in the haystack. That’s my two cents.

  80. Christopher Vaughan [MSFT] says:

    About the click behavior: As some of you pointed out, the click behavior is what happens after you’ve already selected the URL. Of course the first click in the address bar selects the whole URL. What we refined is the behavior once you’ve done that. So, yes, you could say:

    Click 1: select whole URL

    Click 2: insert caret

    Click 3: select word

    Click 4: select whole URL

    Click 5: back to click 2

    For my post, Click 1 was implied.

    As for domain highlighting, we’re looking at the feedback. It’s nice to see passion here.

    As for multi-line pasting, we’re fixing the blog post so that there’s no extra spacing after each line, so you can paste the example into IE8 correctly. The extra spaces in each line were apparently added as a result of copying my blog post from my editor into the web posting app. I’ve also filed an internal bug to see if we can be smart about extraneous spaces in the future.

    As for inline autocomplete, I know some people use it a lot. I’ll consider the feedback and see what we can do for B2.

    As for all the other suggestions about the address bar, thanks for the input. I’m thinking about all of it.

    Thanks,

    -Christopher [MSFT]

  81. Nooooooooo! says:

    Please bring back inline autocomplete! It’s the best advanced user feature ever!

  82. Perhaps you could add auto-complete for addresses that are typed at least two times. This would be very handy versus Firefox’s suggestions at pages you’ve visited a lot more. For example myyearbook’s site uses a very obnoxious URL scheme and I dislike having to constantly SHIFT+DEL auto-complete suggestions to bring the plain domain name up. Also I know some people have posted that a few domain names don’t work correctly with the domain highlighting feature and I even recall using Firefox nightly builds that had something similar though I don’t know what happened to that feature. Any way I do want to say that it’s a great edition to IE8! Please bring back auto-complete but make it intelligent…if I type in the same address more then once I most likely will return there later. It would be helpful to spawn a small tooltip explaining how to remove individual entries by pressing SHIFT+DEL. I didn’t know about that one until about a year ago.

  83. Alistair says:

    Thanks for the blog and information, keep up the great work also. There seems to be quite a few negative comments on your blog (excuse me if i didn’t read them all), i thought it was time someone said thanks for the improvements that have happened in the past, and are most likely going to happen in the future.

    Software is never finished, but deadlines come all the same.

  84. anonymous says:

    Looks like I won’t be upgrading to IE8 ever since inline autocomplete is removed. MS, please consider this. You cannot just remove whatever features you like.

    P.S.: "Features removed from Internet Explorer 8" coming up on Wikipedia.

  85. someone says:

    Please add back inline autocomplete. It is optional anyways but please keep it, don’t remove the functionality altogether.

  86. Andy says:

    I’m not sure about the removal of inline autocomplete.  I do tend to re-enable it,  but it’s also not one of my most used features.  It’s just nice to have.

    What is the reasoning behind removing it?  Lack of use?  Possible security risk (e.g. revisiting malware infested pages), privacy risk, or is it going to be superseded by something bigger and better?  or soemthing else?

    Thank you and keep up the great work

  87. hAl says:

    Mayby just ask the users the first time that they use autocomplete again if they want to keep it ?

  88. The domain highlighting is a good idea, but I agree with other commenters that the rest of the URL should still be legible. What about when you’re telling someone over the phone to visit a web page – you need to be able to read the URL. Please find a better way to highlight the domain.

    I agree with the suggestion of including page titles in the address bar history – I use Firefox and it’s *very* useful.

    I also agree with the suggestions about a single click selecting the whole URL. For me, double-click would insert the cursor because it’s the next most useful, and treble-click to select a section.

    Good work though – at last.

  89. TMaster says:

    @Jason Cox

    Thanks for your explanation regarding address bar click behavior. I actually thought IE8 would make it impractical to highlight the entire address bar.

    About the Inline Autocomplete: I think it’s a very bad call to remove it. With the new Windows Vista Start menu, and the search bar in it, I feel Microsoft has admitted that going through a large amount of groups or folders is inconvenient.

    Suggesting users to use favorites rather than relying on the autocomplete feature seems like a bad idea, in that context.

    So far, I’ve read about lots and lots of improvements in IE8, and I expect to install the beta once the Google Toolbar will be made compatible. I’ve only read about two bad calls (not counting the ones that have been fixed due to public outrage):

    – Removal of address autocomplete, and

    – The preview feature in IE8’s Activities (unless it can be turned off)

    I may not want to divulge certain information to certain websites, and having to mouse-around the items in order for the query NOT to get submitted is not user friendly, in my opinion. Microsoft claims to care about their user’s privacy – so show it to the world.

    On a final note, congratulations with all the major breakthroughs and improvements you have recently shown. And even more importantly, thank you for listening to the community. Please keep it up!

  90. M says:

    If “Go to <the string you typed>.” the new behavior, how does the ‘Search from Address Bar’ [Tools/Internet Options/Advanced] work?

    Thanks

  91. Chris Quirke says:

    IE7 is buggy if you enter text into the search field soon after it starts up – the focus snatches this text into the address bar (as noted on XP SP2).

    Can you fix this in IE8, please?

  92. hsvdan says:

    What genius decided to cut inline autocomplete from the browser? What a great "improvement". Could someone at Microsoft with slightly more intelligence inform everyone how to re-enable it? Nice step backward!

  93. DT blogi says:

    Ehkki IEBlog teatas juba möödunud nädala kolmapäeval, et IE8 esimene beta on väljas, polnud mul mahti sellega enne tänast tegeleda. Põhjuseks CeBIT 2008 ja sinna järgi kevadiste projektidega alustamine. Internet Explorer 8 esimene beta on mõ…

  94. Another inline auto complete fan says:

    Please bring back inline Auto Complete…pls..pretty please…

  95. Suren says:

    Please Please bring back Inline Auto Complete it is one of my favourite features. I have been wondering why it was not working for the past few days. It is one of the first things I enable after I install windows.

    So please do not remove it!

  96. orchidpop says:

    Please reconsider dropping the inline autocomplete. I just recently found this feature in IE7, and it fast became how I work with the browser. It is frustrating the way IE8 deals with partial URLs by not offering suggestions. I particularly liked the way that by default it autocompleted the domain, and then in the drop down, it had typed-in URLs and then all the rest. Made it extremely easy to work with.

  97. phpmaven says:

    Another vote for keeping inline autocomplete!

  98. peter says:

    in all honestly — I really believed it was a rendering glitch!

  99. Cecil Ward says:

    I think that this is an excellent feature, but it has its limits.

    We also need to think about the case of an attack that uses a domain name that simply looks similar to a well known one without exploiting one of the well known techniques for bewilderment by confusing syntax.

    Take for example

       microsoft-security.com

    and

       windows-security.com

    I note that these last two domain names exist, but they are not owned by Microsoft, and that’s not good. An email quoting such a domain name would be pretty impressive.

    I know that the phishing filter and EV certificates already help to partly address some of these issues.

    My concern is that following the implementation of this feature, attackers will shift to using the ‘straight’ lookalike domain strategy, and we should consider in advance how best to counter such a shift.

    One strategy would be simply to continue vigorously promoting the increased use of EV certificates, another might be to investigate legal and political issues concerning the possibility of legitimate organisations taking effective action against malicious lookalike domain name holders who are attempting to create confusion. It might be that legal remedies are already available if a trademark name organisation or brand name is involved.

    Thoughts?

  100. EricLaw [MSFT] says:

    @Cecil: "It might be that legal remedies are already available if a trademark name organisation or brand name is involved"

    Yes, this is correct.  

    Furthermore, by forcing phishers to register domain names in this way, a slightly better audit trail is created (since they must use a credit card, stolen or otherwise, to purchase the name) and there are more ways for more legitimate organizations to trigger a takedown (major organizations watch all new DNS registrations that contain their trademarks, and can get such registrations revoked), and such phishing domains are even easier to flag for Phishing Filters.

  101. Mike Dunn says:

    +1 for the gray text being too hard to read. Changing the background color of the domain sounds much more sensible.

    And +100 for putting the Stop and Refresh buttons back where they bloody well should have been all along.

  102. Mohit says:

    i am still using ie6 and its working fine for me but sometimes looks like something is missing in browser

    i wish to use new version of ie

    after reading the blog

    Thanks

  103. JasonG says:

    I would appreciate inline auto-complete being left in and available.

    I’m fairly indifferent about the domain highlighting feature.  It’s a little odd and I’m not sure the average user will know what it means.  OTOH, I’m not of the opinion that it makes things worse.

    As for the addressbar "search abeo go to" function…  Why not adopt the way opera does it?  There you can type a single letter in front of a string to cause a search action to happen.  For example, typing ‘g ie "css improvments"’ will automatically google for ‘ie "css improvments"’  I’m sure in ie’s version there would also be an "l" to auto-live search for the following string.  Plus, if you do this, you can then get rid of the separate search field which IMHO just clutters up and wastes space when the single letter search shortcut works so well.  Note that, in Opera, this feature is very discoverable because in the auto-complete dropdown, there is the bottom line which is separate from the previously typed/visited auto complete entries.  This special bottom line mirrors what is typed in the addressbar but also pre pends the default "g " and is labeled google at the right.  It is very nice to be able to type a string and search by pressing <up-arrow> + <enter>.  You could improve this feature by making this special line separate and outside of the sometimes scrollable area of auto-complete entries.  Making the background a different color would also enhance discoverability.  I’m sure you can think of other ways to make it even more richly featured as well 🙂

    I also read Paul Thurrott’s blog reviewing the browser and certainly appreciate the thought you guys have on minimizing the vertical area taken up by toolbars and controls.  As a point of reference, my default toolbar configuration in seamonky is 87 pixels high, not including the titlebar.  I consider that portly! 🙂  I also value having a full width address-bar so that I can see as much of the URI as possible.  If I could, I would move the main navigation buttons up to share the menubar, sliding the menus to the right where there is wasted space.  Also, surely someone will figure out a way to make the tabbar less or a real estate hog!  Maybe a half height (or less!) bar with a roll-over expanding effect on the tab the cursor is over?

    I’m totally impressed with the standards related work so far and I see a real winner on our hands some months out.  Finally, after all these years the web will be approaching rather than diverging from standards! =)  Also many kudos for the CSS test case work and looking towards HTML5!  Thanks for all the work so far!

    BTW, someone should really speak with that ex-softie Joel Spolsky (of the original Excel team I believe).  He’s usually right on the money, but I don’t think he gets what’s happening here and he laid down some less than constructive hate on his blog.

  104. Krakatoa says:

    The "Support For Pasting Multi-Line URLs" is a really, really, great idea. Here’s something that will help novice and experience users alike.

    Thanks

  105. Another issue with the grayed-out part of the address is when connecting to an SSL-secured site where the certificate is outdated or otherwise invalid: IE highlights the whole address bar with red, actually pretty dark red which makes the gray text in the address bar almost unreadable. It’s slightly better when IE is not maximized but overall very unreadable. even the black text is not easy to read in that case. Changing text color to white might help in this case, though.

  106. Our friends over in the Internet Explorer building recently released a developer preview version of IE8.

  107. IEBlog says:

    For Beta 1, we discussed some of the technical improvements (like domain highlighting, multi-line paste,

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    Today we’re excited to release the final build of Internet Explorer 8 in 25 languages. IE8 makes what