The IE8 IEAK


Hi, my name is Jatinder Mann and I work on the Internet Explorer Administration Kit (IEAK) and Group Policy. Back in June, James Pratt and Jane Maliouta alluded to IEAK improvements for IE8. Today, I will be talking about the work we have done in this area.

Internet Explorer Administration Kit 8 Beta

IEAK8 Beta is now available publically for everyone to try. To give you some background, the IEAK allows you to deploy customized packages and manage IE settings post deployment within corporations and among Internet Content Providers (ICP) and Internet Service Providers (ISP). For instance, Acme Corp could use IEAK to create a custom IE package for their employees that has Acme favorites, search providers, home pages, Web Slices, Accelerators, and more.

We simplified creating, deploying and managing branded IE packages. We optimized the IEAK to help you build your customized IE packages more quickly and to allow you to configure and customize new features in Internet Explorer 8, like Accelerators and Web Slices.

In this post, I will be talking about how the IEAK:

  • Helps customize new features in IE8
  • Provides full language and platform support
  • Builds IE8 packages more quickly and is more intuitive.

    Customize New Features in IE8

    The following new features can be now customized via the IEAK8:

    Accelerators

    You can easily include custom defaults for Accelerators: simply point to an XML file for the desired Accelerator, or import existing Accelerators from a local machine.

    New Accelerators Screen with Accelerators Added

    Web Slices

    In the Favorites, Favorites Bar and Feeds dialog you can now add custom Web Slices by simply clicking on the Web Slice radio button and specifying the Web Slice information.

    New Favorites, Favorites Bar and Feeds Screen

    Add URL popup dialog for Adding a Web Slice

    Compatibility View

    Internet Explorer 8 Beta 2 introduces Compatibility View which is a significant enhancement over the “Emulate IE7” functionality from IE8 Beta 1. You can customize this feature in the Compatibility view dialog.

    Search Enhancements

     IE8 supports search providers which offer rich text and image suggestions; through IEAK 8 you can add search providers with suggestions and configure default search providers.

    Additional IE8 Features

    Many other IE8 features, like InPrivate Browsing, Developer Tools and Delete Browsing History, can be customized in the Additional Settings page available in the corporate license mode. For example, in a corporate environment you might want to encourage users to delete saved passwords; you can chose to have the Delete Passwords checkbox in Delete Browsing History checked by default. Similarly, you may want to turn off InPrivate Browsing mode by default.

    Build Your IE8 Package More Quickly

    Internet Explorer 8 Customization Wizard has fewer pages than the Internet Explorer 7 Customization Wizard: you’ll be able to build your customized package faster now.

    Furthermore, we have redesigned some screens to simplify the overall flow of the wizard. Custom Components is a good example of this. Compared to the original screen, this dialog box now displays a list of custom components and allows easy addition and removal of items through a pop-up window.

    The IEAK7 Custom Components Screen:

    IEAK 7 Add Custom Components Screen

    The simplified IEAK8 Custom Components Screen:

    IEAK 8 Add Custom Components Screen

    Full Language and Platform support

    The IEAK8 Beta can build IE8 packages for all platforms and 24 languages supported by IE8 Beta 2. Please refer to the blog posted titled IE8 Beta 2 Available in 25 Languages for a complete list of supported platforms and languages.

    How does the IEAK apply branding?

    Customers have often asked me how the IEAK applies branding to IE. Branding in this case can be defined as any customization of IE, including all the customizations mentioned above. The IEAK generated IE package contains both the IE8 setup files (unless you are using the configuration only package, in which case IE8 would already be installed on your computer and you wouldn’t need the setup files) and customizations. The IE8 setup is used to install IE8. Upon restart, customizations are applied per user to the registry and branding files.

    How IEAK Applies Branding to IE

    The customizations are stored in the install.ins file found under the Custom or Signup folders in the Internet Explorer directory. The install.ins file contains all types of branding including IEAK and unattend branding. IEAK branding consists of ISP, ICP and corporate branding, while unattend branding consists of the manufacturer defaults.

    Branding is also applied when the user chooses to Reset Internet Explorer settings (RIES). This can be done by selecting Reset under the Advanced tab in the internet options dialog. RIES will apply the branding found in the install.ins file. If a user were to remove the install.ins file and reset IE, the branding step would get skipped. In IE8, RIES comes with a Remove Branding option; however, this option only removes ISP, ICP and Corporate branding; unattend branding will not be removed.

    We refined the IEAK in this release and look forward to your feedback once you’ve had a chance to try it out.

    Jatinder Mann
    Program Manager

    P.S. James discusses what’s new in IE8 for IT Pros in his screencast here

    edit: modified first paragraph under “Build your IE8 Package More Quickly”; added P.S.; trimmed down the Compatiblity View section; updated the first IEAK link

    Comments (31)

    1. beqiraj.net says:

      Internet Explorer Administration Kit 8 Beta is now available

    2. 互联观察 says:

      Admin kit 8 , So good so strong!

    3. Justin says:

      The whole idea of being Big Brother and forcing all users in my enterprise to use a particular Mapping site, or a particular Search site seems darn right pretentious.

      This is 2008. No one wants to be forced into using site A vs. site B.

      Even installing the IE8 Beta 2 VPC image was painful, having to change every single option from an MSFT site, to a better and/or market leader site.

      Branded browsers are dead.  Have been for 5 years.

      So much for innovation on the web.

    4. Andy Shelford says:

      Justin, have you ever worked in the IT department of a large company?

      My guess is not. If you did, you’d understand the value this offers, and this is one of the key reasons why the enterprise refuses to move away from IE. Branding is IMPORTANT.

    5. Kasya says:

      Where can i post suggestions and bug reports for IE8?

    6. omar says:

      Is the window.onresize event going to be fixed in IE8 beta 3???

      This is very aggravating to workaround.  I now have to have a setInterval timer fire every 5 seconds to see if there has been a change in order to intercept this.

      For one it is highly resource intensive when it doesn’t need to be but more so it can take effect upto 5 seconds after the actual event is fired.

      I would set the timer to a smaller value, but the performance becomes an issue.

      (note: I’m talking about in IE8 standards mode, I have no idea if this still works in IE7 mode)

    7. Clive says:

      I wanted to post on the CSS vendor naming post but it is closed.

      ======================================

      TOOK ME FOREVER TO WEED THROUGH THE COMMENTS AND CONTEXT TO REALIZE THE FOLLOWING:

      ======================================

      -ms-filter:alpha(opacity=25);

      ABSOLUTELY DOES ***NOT*** WORK IN IE8 Standards mode!! (I wish this had been clarified!)

      ======================================

      ======================================

      in IE8 Standards mode, it MUST BE AS FOLLOWS, or it will render 100% opacity.

      -ms-filter:"progid:DXImageTransform.Microsoft.Alpha(Opacity=25)";

      ======================================

      I for one see this as A MAJOR embarassment that it (a) wasn’t clarified, and (b) is so horrendously verbose for a property that could be supported (*cough* aliased) as:

      -ms-opacity:0.25;

      What an utter waste of our time and patients.

      Thank you for making it sooooooo darn painful IE Team, thanks.

    8. Mephiles says:

      @Clive

      Calm down. There’s no need to be so rude. The IE team have been working their arses’ off hours on end to make IE8 standards compliant. They’re bound to make mistakes, just like everyone else.

      May I also remind you that it’s still in beta.

    9. Stanley R says:

      @Clive that is not all.

      When you use the -ms-filter: stuff in IE8 (beta 2) for opacity it also doesn’t correctly handle multiple CSS z-index stacking orders.

      e.g. lets say you have a page some body content.

      Then through JavaScript, you add a DIV to the END of the body element, with an ID that matches CSS that defines a z-index of 1000, and -ms-filter:…blah blah opacity… position absolute, resized to cover the entire body (e.g. an overlay)

      so far so good.

      now, you add another DIV to the body (not nested in the overlay DIV!), and add it to the end of the body.

      assign it (via CSS) an index of 2000 and position it absolutely over the "overlay" DIV.  (e.g. like a modal dialog, over the browser window)

      But!!!!! it doesn’t work in IE8 beta 2.  the alpha filter is applied to EVERYTHING on the screen regardless if it has its OWN z-index stacking order!!!!!!!!!

      Yet another HUUUGE bug in IE8 that I hope is fixed in the next beta.

      with 2 divs (siblings), ID’d as "divA" and "divB" in the body.

    10. richard says:

      @Mephiles: Clive is right to be ticked off, there was nothing stopping MS from putting in "-ms-opacity:0.50;" other than the fact that it would have made sense.

      The fact that they didn’t shows a un-interest in moving towards the CSS3 standards we hope they will very soon support.

    11. Stanley R says:

      – ignore that last line: "with 2 divs…" it was a copy/paste error.

    12. Jatinder Mann [MSFT] says:

      @Kasya

      For more information on providing feedback, please take a look at http://blogs.msdn.com/ie/archive/2008/07/30/wanted-ie8-beta-testers.aspx.

    13. EricLaw [MSFT] says:

      @Clive: As stated in the comments of Harel’s post, the shorthand syntax still works, but as he noted, standards require that you quote the value because some of the characters used (e.g. the equals sign).

      -ms-filter:"alpha(opacity=25);"

    14. Travis [MSFT] says:

      @omar

      Unfortunately, we didn’t catch this regression before Beta 2 shipped. Rest assured, it’s been fixed internally at this point.

    15. mike d says:

      @Travis [MSFT] what about the more important z-Index bug that Stanley pointed out?  Has this been fixed internally?

      it is wrecking all my "lightbox" like CSS effects.

      PS EricLaw [MSFT] I think you mean:

      -ms-filter:"alpha(opacity=25)";

      (semi-colon goes last)

    16. Two quick points.

      Firstly the link "IEAK8 Beta is now available publically for everyone to try."  Currently the url has a full stop at the end of it which causes a 404 error.

      Secondly, is there an option to disable the instillation of tool bars using IEAK? The amount of times I come finding a users PC has 2 or 3 tool bars installed by Java updates is growing at an annoying rate.

    17. anony.muos says:

      Will the IEAK ever support importing and deploying saved passwords?

    18. Jatinder Mann [MSFT] says:

      @Simon Thompson

      We have fixed the link to the IEAK8 Beta. My apologies for that. To answer your second question, we currently allow you to remove existing toolbars, however, there is no provision to disable the installation of certain toolbars. As this is a Beta, we will take your feedback into consideration. In the meanwhile, you may find the ‘Allow third-party browser extensions’ Group Policy to be useful.

      @someone

      This is an interesting idea. IEAK is a quality driven product; we will take your feedback into consideration.

    19. John says:

      Has anyone else noticed that it’s an anagram of IKEA, a company that provides build it your self furniture?

      Now we have build your own browsers.

      Does IEAK come in flatpack?

    20. Jatinder Mann [MSFT] says:

      @Simon Thompson

      You can manage third-party add-ons, like toolbars, using the Add-on Management Group Policy (Internet Explorer -> Security Features -> Add-on Management). You can find the toolbar GUID from the Manage Add-ons dialog (Tools -> Manage Add-ons).

    21. Eghost says:

      To:General Manager Dean Hachamovitch and Architect Chris Wilson

      Gentlemen  I would like  to see on the IE blog.  A announcement or title for the UI changes or a discussion on the  UI.  IE blog Team has done a lot on the features built-in to IE but has ignored the UI.  Yes I do have issues with the UI, it just seems to me Dean that Microsoft is ignoring them.  To put it in perspective Microsoft’s new battle cry or catch phrase is "Live with out walls" yet Microsoft has put up a wall with IE 8’s UI. thank you for your valuable time gentlemen.

      "Vita Per Moenia"

    22. Eghost says:

      To:General Manager Dean Hachamovitch and Architect Chris Wilson

      Gentlemen  I would like  to see on the IE blog.  A announcement or title for the UI changes or a discussion on the  UI.  IE blog Team has done a lot on the features built-in to IE but has ignored the UI.  Yes I do have issues with the UI, it just seems to me Dean that Microsoft is ignoring them.  To put it in perspective Microsoft’s new battle cry or catch phrase is "Live with out walls" yet Microsoft has put up a wall with IE 8’s UI. thank you for your valuable time gentlemen.

      Sincerly,

      Eghost

      "Vita Per Moenia"

    23. Chris Quirke says:

      Yes, there’s value in in-house corporate branding, and it is fair, too; after all, the corporation owns the PCs and has bought the time you spend working on them.

      Where I agree with Justin, is with respect to OEM ("unattend") branding.  The PC is bought from the OEM and is owned by the user, so why does the user’s UI not enable control over the OEM’s branding?

      Quoting the original post: "RIES comes with a Remove Branding option; however, this option only removes ISP, ICP and Corporate branding; unattend branding will not be removed."

      Disclosure: I build PCs for resale, i.e. I am a small-volume OEM myself… so if anything, I’d be expected to favour OEM control over users.  But I can’t see the value in obtrusively rubbing my "brand" in users’ faces, after they have already bought my product.

    24. NN says:

      What about MUI for IE8 ? 🙂

      I have Windows with MUI, now I cannot install IE8 Beta 2 for my language 🙁

      P.S.

      Just a great browser !

    25. IEBlog says:

      Hi. In previous posts I talked about the IE8 IEAK and new event logging for IE8 in the Application Compatibility

    26. Geld Lenen says:

      Well done! All great improvements!

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