More on Internet Explorer 8 and IP Licensing

When Internet Explorer 8 Beta 1 launched in March, I wrote a post describing the permissive intellectual property licensing approaches we took for components of that release, such as Creative Commons licenses for copyrights in selected specs and the Microsoft Open Specification Promise (“OSP”) for implementations of those specs. 

Now with the launch of Beta 2, I’m happy to highlight a few ways we’re continuing to make our innovations available to the community.   By doing so, we hope to continue to foster the type of collaboration in the community that is so important to the “generativity” of the Internet, to borrow a term from Jonathan Zittrain (whose new book, by the way, is an important and worthwhile read).

Creative Commons License for Copyright in the Search Suggestions Specification

For Search Suggestions, we’re licensing copyright in the XML Search Suggestions Format Specification under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.  This license lets others copy, distribute, modify and build upon the specification, even for commercial uses, as long as they give credit to Microsoft and license their own changes under the same terms.  Special thanks to DeWitt Clinton and other contributors to the OpenSearch JSON Search Suggestions extension, whose work relates to the XML Search Suggestions Format spec.  Visit Creative Commons for more information about their licenses, including how to use Creative Commons licenses on your own work.

Microsoft Open Specification Promise for Implementations of the Search Suggestions Specification

Microsoft has developed the Open Specification Promise (“OSP”) to provide a simple and clear patent promise to reassure the broad audience of developers and customers that a given specification can be used for free, easily, now and forever.  The OSP was developed with feedback from customers and the open source community, and we’re happy to make the XML Search Suggestions Format Spec available under the OSP.  The use of the OSP confirms that Microsoft patents needed to implement this specification can be used for free.  More complete information about the OSP can be found here.

Web Slice Icon Guidelines

Web Slice Icon

Internet Explorer 8 introduces Web Slices as a way for web sites to allow users to subscribe to specific content directly within a Web page.  Users can see when content changes and view the updated portion of the Web page directly from the Favorites bar of Internet Explorer.  The Web Slice icon provides a common visual cue that a web page supports web slices.  Developers may freely use the icon under the Web Slice Icon Guidelines that we have developed, which are intended to promote the integrity of the icon as a common symbol for Web Slice functionality.  We made it easier to use the icon in accordance with the Guidelines by making available for download .png and .gif renderings of the icon in various sizes.

We are pleased to continue to contribute to the web community and, as always, look forward to your feedback.

Tom Rubin
Chief Counsel for Intellectual Property Strategy

Comments (84)

  1. When Internet Explorer 8 Beta 1 launched in March, we wrote a post describing the permissive intellectual

  2. IE8 says:

    Is there a RC of IE8 soon? It was said that IE8 Final would be out in October, which seems already impossible. But what about a RC or at least a beta refresh? The beta2 version is so poor that it is actually better described as an alpha.

  3. salontafels says:

    I agree. IE8 is not ready to compete with Firefox 3. However, I hope it will be there in October!

  4. Brian LePore says:

    I was not aware that IE8 was scheduled for release this month. I hope that is not the case, merely because I’d love to see more goodies make it in there.

    IE8 has been a blessing for me. The latest beta is the first version that allowed me to debug JavaScript inside my native OS. For whatever reason all versions prior would crash IE whenever I tried, so I would have to test using a VM. The only problem I’ve seen is that anything that opens a new window (either a pop-up or target="_blank") doesn’t work.

    The only way it could be more useful for me would be to have:

    * An IE6 rendering mode

    * A better style display in the debugger, more like Firebug. I don’t understand the way it displays styles currently. It seems like a big jumble to me that I can’t follow. Heck, the old IE Dev Toolbar displayed styles more sensibly.

    * The HTML mode in the debugger refreshed itself automatically on DOM when the DOM is manipulated. Right now I have to click the refresh button and get myself back to where I was. More of an annoyance then anything else.

  5. Eghost says:

    Open Specification Promise That’s a great idea, now if you would only apply it to the UI, Unlock the tool bars, menu bars and most of all the ADDRESS BAR. Can anyone from Microsoft tell me why you can’t or will not do this? With Vista and IE 7 you started locking up the UI, yet no one from Microsoft can justify why they did it. It’s life with wall’s. Do I think my statements will change anything. No it won’t Microsoft has made up it mind, they want the UI locked down, and then you justify it by saying, it’s just people who don’t want change. When people are negative it’s just dismissed as negative feed back.  Then you don’t understand why your customers don’t like Microsoft.

    Now TED since you always like to put in your two cents, perhaps you in your infinite knowledge of all things Microsoft,  could take the time and explain to me these two things.

    1) How is it better that the UI is locked down.

    2) Why it would be so detrimental to IE 8 and Microsoft if they did unlock the UI?

    Come on TED please, your have such a vast an awe inspiring intellect  you surly must know the answers to these two questions.  

  6. Nick says:

    Another dead born feature that will undoubtedly clutter UI and make things looking even scarier for regular users.

    Speaking of web community, why do you always contribute to us things we don’t want nor need? My vision is that you don’t want nor need it either, but that bunch of useless Chief Counsels of Frain Bucking Strategy must look as if they really do something.

  7. Stifu says:

    Nick: yeah, really… We’ve been asking for CSS3, SVG, XHTML, better JS and so on, but the IE team keeps throwing at us things we don’t care about and never asked for.

    Well, at least proper CSS 2.1 support is something.

  8. EricLaw [MSFT] says:

    @Eghost: While some Microsoft UIs are licensed to the community (e.g. Office Ribbon) most are not, and this has exactly nothing to do with UI customizability.  UI customizability has improved in IE8 (resizable search box, movable back/forward buttons). No, you cannot stack all of toolbars and menus in a single-row, etc, as you could in IE6 and prior.  While I personally miss this, I don’t find it that big a deal except when running with lots of 3rd party toolbars and incurring that performance penalty.  With the menu bar off by default, there’s not that much that needs customization "out of the box".

    I don’t see any explanation of what specifically it is that you would like to customize that you cannot?

    @Brian/IE8: No one from Microsoft announced an IE release in October.  There’s speculation in lots of places, but for trustworthy news on IE plans, read the IEBlog.  Take what you read elsewhere with a grain of salt.

  9. Eghost says:


    First and foremost thank you, your the first person from Microsoft to ever even acknowledge this.

    UI customizability has improved in IE8, but not to the extent that it was in IE6,5,4 and 3.

    Here are a couple points.

    Why take something that many considered valuable away?

    What is the point of giving back only part of the ability?

    Obviously Microsoft gave some back because they realized that this was a major complaint about IE 7.

    Why not just give it all back?

    How dose it hurt Microsoft to allow people to customize the UI the way we use to be able to?

    Eric, I am being totally honest with you, I really don’t understand Microsoft’s reluctance on this matter. I can’t think of one valid reason on why they can not do this? If there are reasons, please let me know because I would really like to know why?

    Eric in closing, yes I will admit you find it, "no big deal."  I find it abhorring, not just in IE 7 and now 8, but also in Vista, and I am not alone with this. Like it or not from my perception, the only reason I can see that Microsoft will not give this back, is because they don’t want to. That my friend is wrong…

  10. ieblog says:

    thanks for the info

  11. test14 says:

    test14 – is commenting fixed now?

  12. sonicdoommario says:

    I’ve heard stories of a November release, or at least by the end of the year. That’s what my gut’s sticking to.

  13. test15 says:

    test15 – looks like it broke again

  14. test16 says:

    test16 – commenting still messed up, keeps redirecting to home page

  15. arghhhhh says:

    This is wickedly frustrating… what happened to the posting? simple posts work, medium to large posts fail.

  16. steve_web says:

    gonna try truncating to get around this…

    @"IE8" – is there an RC soon? Gosh I hope not! Still waiting for a Beta 3 to fix the new issues in IE8, and the ones not fixed since IE7!

    There have been rumors of the Beta 3 being released in November, but I haven’t heard about an RC even happening in 2008.

  17. steve_web says:

    @EricLaw [MSFT] – ‘there’s not that much that needs customization "out of the box".’

    Well well, aren’t we speaking for the masses?

    Lets have a look at what needs customization in IE (read any browser)

    1.) Moving the reload/stop icons to the left (yes! we can finally do this in Beta2)

    2.) Removing the "Go ->" button, since users just press enter (no option)

    3.) Moving toolbars to share real-estate. (NOT possible) (except the Favorites button and Bookmarks toolbar) ***READ: REAL IMPORTANT TO MOST USERS***

  18. steve_web says:

    4.) Can’t fix the cascade of the Command Bar menu items to cascade to the right (so if you do want to move it to the left (where it would be more handy) it ends up using a whole row, and the menus cascade the wrong way)

    5.) I shouldn’t have to hack the registry to put the menu bar at the top of the screen.

    6.) Still have no context option to open a frame in a new window or tab.

    7.) Can’t add icons to the main toolbar that would be handy like a HOME button, (or from addons) in Firefox for example, I can use some of that 1200px+ of address bar space to have buttons for my flight-search addon, my download manager, my history, firebug, tech deals, etc.

    8.) Can’t close the last tab.

    9.) Can’t hide the tab bar when only 1 tab is open (enables 48,000px of extra rendering space – on my pc)

    10.) Can’t drag-and-drop almost EVERYTHING.  Urls to new tabs, links on pages to new tabs, bookmarklets to anywhere, links into textareas.

    11.) Whats with the 7 empty sections on the status bar? If they are not valid/enabled, why bother showing them?

    12.) Right-clicking on any image should offer up the option to "View Image" (or in the MS world "View Picture") – if a site maker has goofed on the dimensions of an image (happens often) it is a handy feature to be able to see the image at its native resolution, without all the surrounding page content) – also helps when you want to reload the image because the server/browser caching is too aggressive.

    Bonus 13.) Why does the IE chrome look so flat? flat like pre-XP UI where every control had an inset border that looked like stacks of beveled steel plates.  Just look at FF3 vs IE8B2 on XP on the about:blank page. 1 looks sexy by default, 1 looks like a VB mockup.  In most apps the "sexyness" isn’t important, but this is a browser. Users use this all day, every day to do their work and to play. It should look like something they would want to be proud of.


  19. Michael Ens [MSFT] says:


    This quote seems appropriate:

    Features don’t exist by default.  We don’t go out of our way to prevent you from customizing the user interface — quite the opposite:  we did a lot of work to improve UI customization in IE8 in response to user feedback.

    It’s not the same as IE6 and before, but there were myriad reasons that we couldn’t just keep the IE6 top-level chrome indefinitely (one reason is proper support for very important features like Tabbed Browsing).

  20. Alex van Herwijnen says:

    Talking about UI customizability – take a look at Firefox, you can customize everything there. For me, this is the perfect UI:

    You see Firefox 3, with some add-ons installed, and some buttons removed. I also removed the menu bar (Personal Menu) and extended Aero Glass by using Glasser.xpi.

    I like it’s cleanliness, as I don’t need any of the buttons on that toolbar except for the history and address bar. I know all shortcut keys I can possibly need.

    I can’t do this with IE, even though I want to. It’s just not possible. With IE 6, I could do something that could almost approach this… why can’t I with IE 7 and 8?

  21. Brez says:

    open in new tab button or middle click on address bar autocomplete website list. Is this fix already or is it too late.

  22. Brez says:

    I check realiability and performance and Problem Reports/resolution weekly.I’ve been using Vista since it was first release and never seen SearchIndexer.exe stop working

    Could you guys check if IE 8 beta 2 can crash searchindexer.exe. Yesterday IEXPLORER.exe stop responding and SearchIndexer.exe stop working.

  23. jg says:

    Can you do something about the address bar performance.. The time its takes to load the list of bookmarks, history, feeds etc.. is a few order of magnitudes slower than it takes to pull up google search suggestions from the search box… and that does make it sound really slow doesn’t it???

    Also in the address bar, when it display the list of suggested entries. THe user doesnt really need to know everything broken down by category (bookmarks, history, feeds etc..) Just show me the whole list (sorted by date, lexicograhically, revalance)… Also the keyboard navigation experience to get to a URL and choose it is a bit broken compare.. just more confusing and more keystrokes compared to IE7. Dont give people a reason to move away from IE.. there are a lot of good browsers out there now and switching is pretty easy..

  24. boen_robot says:

    @Alex van Herwijnen

    Your extreme case is exactly what the MSIE team is trying to avoid.

    Why you ask? Support. Imagine that someone accidently or not uses a GUI like yours (or, (s)he may be using a friend’s PC). How do you explain to that person over the phone how to do a certain thing (say, import/export certificates for example)? You need to count on something to always be there, or at least be able to point the person what to look for (eg. the menu bar may not be there, but if you tell the person "look for ‘Tools’… it has a cog icon… somewhere on the right", that’s still something.

    If your extreme case was allowed, IT support staff will have a lot of trouble. Saying the above won’t be enough. They’ll need to ask a lot of questions just to make sence of the UI the user has (e.g. "Look in all corners – is there any cog? Something that looks similar and/or reminds you of the word ‘Tools’? No? Right click near the back button and select ‘menu bar’. What? No back button either?!?! Status bar? Yes? Ok. Right click there…").

    I know this first hand as I’m in a similar position (I repair and assemble computers, but I get a lot of "how to" questions too). Users of other browsers are generally skillful enough not to ask any "how to" questions to begin with, or if they aren’t, telling them for example "go to Advanced, Encryption…" will be enough. That’s not the case for IE which is used by far less skillful users.

  25. IEwin says:

    Will Microsoft included IE 8 in Windows Vista SP2? I’m hoping… May be not :(???

  26. Olivier says:

    steve_web : "5.) I shouldn’t have to hack the registry to put the menu bar at the top of the screen." -> there’s a funny bug since IE7 when the menu is at the top.

    You have : menu bar, address bar, tabs bar.

    Now, open the "favorites/histoty center" and pin it.

    Then you’ll have : address bar, menu bar, tabs bar.

    Remove the pin, and the menu bar will be back at the top 🙂

    Like you, I still haven’t understood why we need to modify the registry to get the menu on top.

  27. steve_web says:

    @Olivier – nice! actually on mine, it actually doesn’t reset properly, and I get 2 address bars, where the 1 on top, is just a rendering ghost image of the address bar (looks like address bar, but doesn’t work) (e.g. no menubar returns.

    It does restore itself if you resize the window (e.g. cause a chrome repaint)

    I would like to note that I appreciate that in IE8 they fixed the ability to bookmark the SAME SITE Twice!

    e.g. now you get…


    Google (2)

    Google (3)


    It was wildly annoying before when you went to bookmark the current page, regardless what it was just to create a bookmark, that you were then going to adjust to make a bookmarklet.

    Although the fix is only partial.


    It only works when you click the "star +" button.  If you drag/drop from the address bar or webpage to the bookmark bar it will fail with an overwrite prompt. (once again, bookmarks should *NOT* be a shortcut in the OS file system)

  28. Eghost says:

    @Michael Ens

    Thank you, for your web page and "The answer to “Why doesn’t this feature exist?"  I am not asking for something that didn’t exist.  I want something that was always there given back.

    Case in point, tabs Microsoft the billion dollar company had to disable much of the UI because of the introduction of tabs, yet deepnetexplorer provided just that on IE 7 (yes it works on IE 8) base engine.

    How can a small little company do something Microsoft can’t. Again like it or not I beleive Microsoft will not give back control because they don’t want to. That is wrong my friend.

    In closing, for years like Ted I was called a Microsoft, "Fan Boy." In the beta’s of xp I seen suggestions that Microsoft would say, Hey great Idea lets see if we can do it." Since the Beta’s of Vista, However Microsoft has just become a, "NO" company, it’s, "We can’t, We wont, No you don’t under stand, Microsoft has done studies and we think this way is better." It’s really sad, But Michael really all I am asking for is, "CHOICE" Why is that so bad?  Why can’t Microsoft give users,"CHOICE?"  I really can’t see3 how it’s imposable, Deepnet can, and yet Microsoft the company that gave the computer industry to the world, can’t. I just can’t help being disillusioned with your company.  

  29. Brez says:

    Don’t get why their allowing a dublicated website in Favorites Bar in the first place Google, Google (2), Google (3). Just warn user with a balloon tip that the website is already added or gray the add favorite button. Website with long titles you cannot see the the number (2)

  30. charles says:

    @Brez – NO. It doesn’t matter how many the user wants to add.  More importantly, the duplicate link might be nested deep in the bookmark structure.  I don’t care if I have bookmarked it 3 times already.

    It also doesn’t allow duplicate URLs even if the Title is different.  This is anoying because a site might change their title and you don’t know what the old title was.

    If the user wants to bookmark anything, LET THEM.

    Best example, what If I bookmark then store it in my "documentation" folder, and in my "PHP" folder.  Duplicate bookmarks are a VERY common thing.

  31. Yolanda says:

    What is the status of the SELECT-LIST issue in IE8?

    In Beta 2 setting the background-color or border or background-image of any select list in IE8 on XP changes the controls theming.

    some people have indicated that there will only be one more beta of IE8 before the RC releases. please indicate if this bug fix will be in the next beta please.

  32. Ens says:


    Nothing is impossible :).

    Tabs were only an example, it’s not "choose between tabs or customizable chrome".  There are lots of reasons that the top level UI was redone for IE7.  Since then, some UI customization was rewritten for the new chrome.  You can rest assured that we hear loud and clear that you want even more customization.

  33. Peter says:

    @Ens – "we hear loud and clear" -???? thats funny, because (Chris or Eric) above indicated that they don’t see any issue, and the rest of us have been complaining since the first Beta of IE7!!!!!!!

    Don’t give us this "we hear you" garbage, just tell us when we can expect to see it fixed!

    This isn’t a change request, its a problem report..

  34. Eghost says:


    I second what you say.


    I know it’s not imposable, that’s what so frustrating.  The real question is, Is Microsoft willing to do it? Is Microsoft willing to go the, "extra mile?"  Because from the feed back I see, it’s "NO."  So Chris or Eric, thank you for acknowledging, the request. I just can’t help to ask, Is this really to much to ask for????

  35. steve says:

    Can we get a status update on this regression bug?

    Select Lists get de-themed on Windows XP when you set a background or border color on them.

    This first broke in Beta 1, was not addressed acknowledged or fixed in Beta 2, and we still have not heard if this will be fixed before or in Beta 3.

    Please advise.

  36. xxloversragexx says:

    First off, I would love it if you guys could fix the problem when you try to save files on your computer, internet explorer won’t save them (on vista systems)

    I would STRONGLY suggest that you make it easier for InPrivate Browsing. Perhaps the option to set default to use InPrivate Browsing, to start Internet Explorer 8 as InPrivate Browsing also. This would be great for corporations, small businesses, internet cafe’s, and coffee shops that offer internet services; want to keep there computers less cluttered; and keep there information on public access computers safe and unexposed.

    PLEASE PLEASE, for the love of businesses and safety..give us more InPrivate Browsing/Blocking options.

  37. Daniel says:

    Hey guys, be fair ok?

    Even if there are some things we don’t like about the current development of IE, we should still be able to see that there’s alot of hard work going into this piece of software.

    Other browser vendors make similar decisions (and have to cope with the same problems, btw). What you’re doing is actually criticising the devs for being open to the community.

    I personally can tell, that the bug reporting policy changed a lot from what we’ve seen with IE7. Besides, taking into account all MS sources, I have no doubt that the devs are very concerned about what IE8 becomes.

    I don’t know about the management, though.

    Well, as I said, just be fair. You can’t hav everything at once. and other browser have bugs standing for ages as well.

  38. Arieta says:

    @EricLaw: how can you move the back/forwad buttons in IE8b2?

  39. harold says:

    @Arieta – right click on a blank spot on your toolbars, choose Customize, then the option for: "Show Stop/Refresh buttons left of the address bar"

    @Daniel – i don’t think anyone is complaining about the MS devs doing work, what we complain about is the lack of transparency as to what is being worked on or fixed, and when it will be ready.

    We ask every week since 2004, when will native SVG be supported.  We keep hearing: "we are aware this is a highly requested feature but it did not make it into {releaseOfTheMoment} but we will consider it for a future release"

    When we heard that before IE7, we accepted that it might not be in IE7.  But when it didn’t make it into IE8 we start to question MSFTs intentions to meet standards after all.  Accelerator/Slices are neat and all, but I would have much prefered to see native SVG support (cough: Standards) before new shiny features in IE.  Ditto for fixing the various bugs in IE.

    If MSFT were transparent about their bug fixes, roadmap, or release schedule, there wouldn’t be this constant stream of critisism on this blog.

  40. anwar says:

    @harold – I would be happy if MSFT just explained their intended release schedule! There are many people claiming that Beta 2 is the last beta (which is of course absurd! considering the number of regression bugs alone) but for those of us waiting on the Beta 3 release we haven’t even heard a proposed drop date?

    It doesn’t even have to be an exact date, or even month.  Just indicate if you "hope" to release it before the new year!  At least then we’ll have an idea of how to plan our lives.

    If IE8 were to skip the next beta, and jump to an RC followed by an RTM before Christmas we would not be happy campers!

    I don’t want to have to tell my end users that they have to use the IE7 compat mode because IE released a buggy version too soon before it was ready.  It makes my code look unstable vs. the reality that IE just isn’t up to snuff yet.


  41. Sharon [MSFT] says:

    sorry if you see some random comments.  I’m testing out commenting on the blog because we are having some issues right now.

  42. Sharon [MSFT] says:

    do really long comments work?  do really long comments work?  do really long comments work?  do really long comments work?  do really long comments work?  do really long comments work?  do really long comments work?  do really long comments work?  do really long comments work?  do really long comments work?  do really long comments work?  do really long comments work?  do really long comments work?  do really long comments work?  do really long comments work?  do really long comments work?  do really long comments work?  do really long comments work?  do really long comments work?  do really long comments work?  do really long comments work?  do really long comments work?  do really long comments work?  do really long comments work?  do really long comments work?  do really long comments work?  do really long comments work?  do really long comments work?  do really long comments work?  do really long comments work?  do really long comments work?  do really long comments work?  do really long comments work?  do really long comments work?  do really long comments work?  do really long comments work?  do really long comments work?  do really long comments work?  do really long comments work?  

  43. Sharon [MSFT] says:

    Do comments with enters work?

    Do comments with enters work?

    Do comments with enters work?

    Do comments with enters work?

    Do comments with enters work?

  44. Sharon [MSFT] says:

    Do comments with strange symbols work?

    @ test


    &* <


    ! +=


  45. EricLaw [MSFT] says:

    @Brez: Thanks for the suggestion!

    @steve_web: Perhaps you misunderstood the line where I said "I personally" assuming that I mean to speak for IE’s hundreds of millions of customers.  That is obviously not the case.

    #2: Not all users press enter, but even if they did, removing the button buys you nothing anyway, since the "Go" button and the "Refresh" button are one and the same.  And no, making the "Refresh" button and the "Stop" button the same isn’t a workaround, since both buttons need to be available at the same time.

    #3: Now who’s speaking for more than himeself?

    #5: You can use the group policy UI if you want.  Or you can click on a trivial .REG file.  It’s not hard.

  46. EricLaw [MSFT] says:

    #6: A fine feature requested by a tiny percentage of users.  Two lines of code for an extension.

    #7: Not sure what you mean when you say "the main toolbar."

    #8: File > Close.  Done.  

    #9: There are other useful commands on the same line.

    #13: Personal preference: Some users like the clean look.

    @eghost: "Why take something that many considered valuable away?"

    Because times change.  The UI for IE7 was substantially rewritten and much of the "coolbar" code (from IE4) was removed and replaced.  

    Anyone who knows me knows I love customization (ref:  But at the same time, I think it’s only fair to note how much new customization has been added (search box, Accelerators, webslices, etc).  

    Customization isn’t free.  Development time isn’t unlimited.  

    All software teams make tradeoffs: For IE, we’re working to make the best tradeoffs to bring the most value to the most users.

  47. ieblog says:

    I removed a couple of comments that I had posted as tests of commenting on the blog.  Apologies for the issues.  We are working on getting them resolved asap.

  48. steve_web says:


    Just a few clarifications.  The "Main" toolbar would be the one with Back|Forward|Reload|Stop|_HOME_|Location Box|Search Box

    _HOME_ is one that is missed for sure, but I (as well as others) would like to be able to add buttons to this bar.

    As for closing the last tab… NO, not looking to close IE (Alt+F4) works just fine for that.  Looking to close the last tab, to return to the "blank slate", e.g. about:blank.

    I was viewing "Google, eBay, and Facebook", I attempt to close all three tabs, then open a new one for "YouTube". I can’t do this in IE.  I have to close Facebook, and eBay, then open YouTube, then go back and close Google.

    As for me talking for everyone… find me any user that has spoken up on this blog that doesn’t want to be able to customize their toolbars like they did in IE4, IE5, IE6, Firefox 1, Firefox 2, Firefox 3.  No, not everyone wants this feature, but when every app with toolbars offers this feature (including your previous releases) we find it highly annoying that the feature was removed without warning, an alternative, or a workaround.

    re: #9 (not on mine there isn’t) keep in mind the command bar was already moved since the right-aligned menu structure moved to the other side of the screen from my navigation was already outlined as un-helpful.

    re: #13 sure I suppose. I just find it quirky that all other apps including MS ones move towards a sexier look while IE stays the same.  As for a "clean" look, I believe the softer shadowed 3D elements look far "cleaner" than the Win3.1 chamfered edges look.

    You mention that a ~2 liner extension would handle the open frame in new window scenario. I’m cool with that, but when I’ve asked other MS customizers if they could do this, they indicated it wasn’t possible.  I’ve created my own context menu item, that somewhat handles this, but it is rather rough. (e.g. it always shows in the context menu, even when there are no frames, and it always opens in a new window, as last time I checked, there wasn’t a published API on opening a new Tab in IE.)


    PS I don’t mean to get so up-tight on issues in the blog, but the canned responses to a lot of issues do drive us batty when we just want some answers.

    Might you be able to set the record straight on the Beta 3 release?

  49. Dan says:

    I don’t know why everyone expects there’s gonna be a beta-3 release.  MS has never mentioned one.

    steve_web, I don’t know what you’re talking about, but there’s nary a bevel in my IE8 on XP.  What theme and os are you using?

    If rapidly getting to home is really important to you, just hit ALT+HOME instead of fumbling around for the mouse.

    I don’t understand why you have so much trouble with the tabs, or why you think it would be faster to "close" the last tab.  Just type "" into the address bar from whatever tab you’re on, and there you go.  If you then want to kill the other tabs, you can either middle-click them, or right-click the current tab and choose "close other tabs."  simple stuff.

  50. walter says:


    Im not sure about the beta 3 either but I do know that beta2 has a lot of issues that I would not want in the final.

    I understand steve_web’s comment on the close last tab issue.  What if that last tab is something you want to wipe quickly? ie the "Gift for spouse site" (inside joke to IE Blog readers)

    I think the bigger issue is that someone thought it would be a good (read: "Klevar") idea to not include the ‘x’ on Tab:0  Unfortunately this "Klevar"-ness backfired and instead of simplifying things, it actually complicated them. its sorta like how someone thought "personalized menus" would be Klevar. Turns out that it is real anoying and the first thing to disable on an Office Install (until later versions where the idea was ditched)

  51. Dan says:

    walter, ALT+Home navigates you home quickly, or, you can simply close the tab with ALT+F4.

    Firefox doesn’t include an [x] on tab0 either (because they don’t show the tabs when there’s only one).  

    In Google Chrome, clicking on the [x] closes the entire window, exactly as ALT+F4 or AltF,X or AltF,C does in IE.

    In Opera, the last tab’s [x] brings you back to Speed Dial, which is neat, mostly because SpeedDial itself is cool.  You need the IE7Pro addon to get this feature for IE.

  52. walter says:

    @Dan – yes, exactly. On Firefox you can close the last tab, and still keep Firefox open (e.g. about:blank)

    That is the expected behavior that we would like to see in IE.

    I’ve tried Chrome too and although I love everything about Chrome, the one thing I don’t like is that it kills the whole application when you close the last tab.  I prefer the Firefox/Opera/Safari behavior by far.

    As for the ALT+Home shortcut, that’s all very good but I don’t want to go there, I just want a blank page.

  53. Dan says:

    walter, I think you might be missing the point.  In Firefox, you can’t click the [x] on the last tab because the tab bar itself disappears.  Incidentally, the same thing happens in Safari for Windows.  So it sounds like you’re saying you prefer Opera over every other browser.  Which is fine.

    If about:blank is your homepage, then ALT+Home does exactly what you want.  If you must, install a browser extension that navigates to about:home, although that seems pretty silly.

  54. Eden says:

    @steve_web: Are you really speaking for everyone? How could you say that? I’m on your side for only one point, but against for the others. If you really want that much of customization, please stick with FireFox. Most people do not spend time on customizing their brower (and other things as well).

    I agree, tho, the address/search bars are stupidly long for my 1600px-wide screen.

  55. Geo says:

    Just support SVG already. If you can’t do it, then get out of the bloody way by killing IE and replacing it with a browser that can. Seriously.

  56. Stifu says:

    Dan: to clear things up, you can change a pref in Firefox to make it so the tab bar is always shown. And this will actually be the default behavior for Fx 3.1.

  57. steve_web says:

    @Eden – By no means do I think I speak for everyone, but I do talk to 100’s of end users and developers every day.

    Of the Web Developers I talk to:

    99.9% Use Firefox/Konqueror/Safari/Chrome/Opera as their default browser, only using IE to test that UI’s still work.

    Of the End Users I talk to:

    65% Use Firefox/Safari/Chrome as their preferred browser, the remaining using IE (some using IE by force (I.T.) at their workplace etc.)

    As for the customization of the UI? its all about preferences.  Maybe you don’t like to customize your applications to be the most efficent they can be for "your workstyle", but many of us do.

    There was enough complaining about the reload/stop buttons being waaaay over on the right that MSFT added an option to put them back on the left. (Therefore I am certainly not alone)

    Does everyone want to merge their toolbars? hmm, no, but when you give users the ability to, then take it away, they don’t like it plain and simple.  If users are complaining (which they are) then obviously they moved them before and now can’t.  Thus it was a used feature, and now a missing one/bug.

    @Dan – as for the closing of the last tab I can’t speak for Walter but for me I don’t like 2 things about the IE layout (I’m revising my statements here).

    1.) I’d like an option to hide the tab bar when only 1 tab is open (e.g. like when you turn tab mode off)

    2.) I would like to go into the above mode, when I close the 2nd last tab.

    I agree that the Tabbed interface in IE7/8 far exceeds the UI from IE6, but I still feel that it looks more jumbled now, with a downgrade in terms of features.  Maybe I speak for many, or maybe I speak only for a few, I don’t know.  The only way to trully tell would be to have an open bug tracking system or polling option but MSFT has not been open to that idea since the announcement of IE7*.

    *Note: Do not refer to "Feedback" as that option.  Those that have used it know that it is _NOT_ the solution, just another layer to the problem.


  58. jackson says:

    Ok time for another new IE8 regression bug.


    Lets say I have a input type="text" box with the content "01/02/2009" inside it, and the user has clicked just after the first slash.

    e.g. "01/][02/2009" where ‘][‘ is the caret

    In all standards based browsers I can use the



    syntax, but in not in IE of course.

    Ok fine. So in IE I use the document.selection.createRange() function, then do a .getBookmark()  and finally to a bookmark.charCodeAt(idx) to get the actual position.

    In IE6 it only works with:


    In IE7 it only works with:


    and now in IE8 Beta 2 (IN STANDARDS MODE) it works with:



    and in IE8 Beta 2 (IN COMPATIBILITY MODE (e.g. IE7) it works with:




    So the question of the day is… in IE8 FINAL, how will this function work in STANDARDS MODE? and how will it work in COMPATIBILITY MODE?

    Please tell me the compat/IE7 mode will work the same… or better yet, that the .getSelectionStart / .getSelectionEnd properties will work.

    Also will this fix be in Beta 3?



  59. Eghost says:


    This is not a new complaint, Microsoft got this same complaint in the betas of 7 now in the betas of 8. Basically what your saying is we can’t be bothered fixing this because we don’t want to spend the time or money.  Then why have a beta? This ability is in every major browser out there except Microsoft, at one time Microsoft would have not accepted be second to anyone. Your new battle cry is life with out walls, well this is a wall.

    Eric, again how could other companies do something that Microsoft can’t or won’t?  Eric I look at the small amount of customization that Microsoft gave back as proof that Microsoft know’s this is a major issue but yet decided to take the ball up to the ten yard line and stop, and brag look I just ran fifteen yards, when you could have ran the whole twenty five yards and scored a touchdown, the only thing that stopped Microsoft from doing it was they did not want to.     You know and I know you can, you choose not to, and like said before, that my friend is wrong….

    you stated, "Times change", you are absolutely right.

    Microsoft Office destroyed Wordperfect, because Bill Gates said, I don’t care what it cost I want that business, I want a better product than they have, I want to beat them.  

    Microsoft Internet Explorer destroyed Netscape, because Bill Gates said, I don’t care what it cost I want that business, I want a better product than they have, I want to beat them.

    Why did you give up on being the best?  

  60. Dan says:

    egghost, no one ever said this is a new complaint.  As for the idea that MS should fix this because it "only" costs time and "money", well, i’d imagine the "time" problem is a lot more important than the "money" problem.  i for one would like to see a finished ie8 as soon as possible, and if they try to put in every option for every user it will never get done.

    Every major browser has toolbar customization? uh, no.  Look at Google Chrome and Apple Safari.

    If Mozilla and Google were half as incompetent as Wordperfect and Netscape, they wouldn’t exist anymore.  But they’re not, and most of us think that the new competition is a good thing.  

  61. Mark says:

    egghost, no one ever said this is a new complaint.  As for the idea that MS should fix this because it "only" costs time and "money", well, i’d imagine the "time" problem is a lot more important than the "money" problem.  i for one would like to see a finished ie8 as soon as possible, and if they try to put in every option for every user it will never get done.

    Every major browser has toolbar customization? uh, no.  Look at Google Chrome and Apple Safari.

    If Mozilla and Google were half as incompetent as Wordperfect and Netscape, they wouldn’t exist anymore.  But they’re not, and most of us think that the new competition is a good thing.  

  62. Dan says:

    hmmm… well, it’s good to see that they’re not filtering my posts based on username after all.  this blog software is so buggy!

  63. Philipp says:

    IE8 is not ready to compete with Firefox 3.

    And I don’t think that this situation will be changed in the future!

  64. Nick says:

    Good that licensing has become easier. One note on IE 8 as a product (since previous posts now have comments disabled, this is the only place to post): it is a FAT (as in big, slow, clunky) download and FAT piece of software compared to Google Chrome. You guys are still in beta, anything you can do to make IE8 lighter (and remove all the real estate lost at the top of the page) will make IE competitive vs. Firefox and Chrome. Testing the two side by side makes the point. Don’t let IE8 follow the bloated Vista. Make it fast, slim and good.

  65. Britta says:

    Since 4 months for me Firefox 3 is the first joice.

    The ability to expand Firefox from a big selection of Add-ons and Plugins is great.

  66. Prakash says:

    I couldnt really find a proper place to put this comment. Sorry.

    The Tools-> Options in IE is quite confusing with lot of options. For example, to disable cookies, do I look in Security settings or Advanced settings? same for images, javascript, native xmlhttp support, etc., Can you please provide a nice UI for Tools -> Options?

  67. Prakash says:

    I couldnt really find a proper place to put this comment. Sorry.

    Please include Spell Checker feature with IE 8. Almost all other browsers have it.

  68. Prakash says:

    I couldnt really find a proper place to put this comment. Sorry.

    Please include Spell Checker feature with IE 8. Almost all other browsers have it.

  69. Todd says:

    @Prakash – The Options dialog has needed an overhaul since before version 6 and has been identified as an issue many times.

    Since MSFT has not altered it at all (except to add stuff) since then I would highly expect this to still be painful in IE8.  Maybe we’ll get lucky in IE9.

  70. Theodore Brown says:

    1: An easy way to report broken websites. Example: Click "Page", then "Report broken webpage", with an option to send a screenshot of the page. All other major browsers have this feature.

    2: A built-in spell checker. Nuff said.

    3: Resisable text boxes like in Google Chrome. This is actually really handy.

    4: More eye candy. Example: when rearranging tabs they could slide past each other like in Google Chrome. Same with reordering bookmarks.

    5: A download manager like Firefox 3’s.

    6: A home sceen like Google Chrome has.

    Basically, I would like a combination of the best of IE 8 Beta 2 (the colored tab grouping and accelerators), Firefox 3 (the download manager and spell checking), and Google Chrome (the Home screen and resisable text boxes).

    Thanks and keep up the great work!

  71. ieuser_no1472583690 says:

    the renderer is faster in IE8 but it’s slow anyway.

    I like IE very much except the renderer

    scrolling pages with "hard" content is really difficult for me and the renderer.

    Opera has a good one.. but Opera has way more bugs. It’s unstable, too much of style now and lacking functionality.

    Can someone in the development team make a better renderer?

  72. Olivier says:

    @Theodore Brown : for your n°1, check this add-on :

    But I agree, it should be installed with the IE8, not just an add-on.

  73. steve_web says:

    Any response on jackson’s bug report?  I too have (just now) noticed that this behavior both changed in IE8, and in IE7 Compatibility Mode does *not* behave like IE7 did.

    Selection Index in Bookmark changes.

    |IE6 | IE7 | IE8 Stds Mode |(IE8 in IE7 mode)|


    | 0  |  1  |       0       |        0        |

    Since there is no way to detect if IE8 is pretending to be IE7, there is no way to fix this as the current bug stands.

    Personally I prefer the zero-index thus if IE8 returns to the IE6 behavior I’m fine with that but the IE7Compatibility Mode should be one-indexed.

    We’d just like to know where this is going as I’d like the applications I’m shipping soon to work in IE8 Standards Mode without any tweaks but at the moment I’ll need to add 3-5 tweaks to adjust for IE8’s almost-standards Standards Mode.  If IE8 Beta 3 or the RCs are almost here I’d like to know so I can either include the tweaks or drop them, rather than need to patch in January.



  74. Ted says:

    <<<Since there is no way to detect if IE8 is pretending to be IE7>>>

    What led you to jump to such a silly conclusion?

  75. how so says:

    @Ted – ok what is the magic way to tell if IE8 is really acting as IE7.

    or rather tell if IE7 is really IE7, or IE8 faking as IE7.

  76. Ted says:

    Uh, there are a zillion.  Check to see if the documentMode variable exists or if XDomainRequest object exists.  Check the User-Agent string for the Trident token.  Use the getComponentVersion behavior.  Etc, etc.  

  77. gus says:

    What a joke!

    So based on Ted’s note about using document.documentMode I was testing some sites to see what mode they were rendering in in IE8.

    IE’s OWN blog:

    FORCES rendering in IE7 Compatibility Mode! (sets [LT META content="IE=7.0000" http-equiv="X-UA-Compatible" GT]) You can’t even try to switch it!

    Wow! I’m just super duper confident about IE8 now – not!

  78. Ted says:

    Gus: Try to find two neurons to rub together; maybe you can stay warm.

    The IEBlog site runs on standard blog software used by MSDN, and it’s pretty obvious the IE team didn’t write it.  The blog people decided that rather than fix the page, they’d instead use the compatibility feature created by the IE team for exactly that purpose.

    So, everything works.  Yay.  

    Think.  Then post.

  79. steve_web says:

    @Ted – thanks for the heads up on detecting IE8 when it is spoofing IE7.  I was mis-led by previous statements that IE8 running in IE7 mode would be "exactly" the same as IE7 (which is obviously not the case).

    I’ve added an additional check for now as a temporary workaround until the status of the issue is known.



     idx = 0;

     if(ie7 && typeof(document.documentMode) == ‘undefined’){

       idx = 1;



    Now on a related note – rather than tear one for Gus lets keep in mind the bigger picture.  The fear initially laid out when MSFT announced a "compat" mode, was that the end result was that rather than move towards standards having this option would enable "lock-in" to the broken "Microsoft way" of IE7.  Seems Gus has just provided exhibit A.

    I still have hope that this won’t be the case.  I suspect that when IE8 releases, those sites requiring the "compat" mode set beyond say a 45-60 day sync will appear to be "out-of-date" with the modern web.  I actually hope this helps "push" developers to move away from broken hacks, and bad code to better, cleaner standards based content. (Fingers Crossed!)


  80. IEFan says:

    If you’d like to unlock the menu bar, You may achieve this with IE7Pro (Works ok with IE8 and should work with IE6)

  81. IEFan says:

    gus, This blog is being visited by the users of both IE6, IE7 and IE8. So it should work fine in both versions… That’s probably why they force IE8 to work in the compatibility mode….

    I’m also using the meta tag so far on my websites. I’ll make them compatible with IE8 when IE8 final is going to be released, Since Microsoft will probably change something in the final release and I’ll have to rewrite my sites again.

  82. Eden says:

    @steve_web: Probably a bit late to reply to you… but, considering IE market share is still way above 70%, opinion’s from your end users can’t represent the real end users…

  83. Eden says:

    @steve_web: Probably a bit late to reply to you… but, considering IE market share is still way above 70%, opinion’s from your end users can’t represent the real end users…

  84. steve_web says:

    @Eden: 2 things. 1.Browser stats are well know to be wildly inaccurate.  IE certainly has the lions share, but it is losing face every day to other IMHO better browsers.

    2.) Most of the users I interact with are definitely aware that there is more to the Internet than IE and MSN, however they are all in the end, end users.  I like Windows, I use it every day, as do many.  My applications are all set up just the way I like them, and again, the same is said for EVERYONE I meet, regardless of OS or application.  There are some that don’t realize how much they can customize their apps, but almost all have customized them to one degree or another.

    If you are 100% happy with your non-customizable IE8 chrome then please, grab a flag and shout it from every rooftop you can find in your city.  But when you find out that you are (a) Alone, and (b) No one cares that you are happy, when they are not, don’t be surprised.

    They say with statistics, that for every person that does speak up, and writes a note, a letter, or makes a phone call to make their voice heard, there are a hundred, or a thousand others that feel the same way, but didn’t bother to make themselves heard, or didn’t know they could.

    If you take the sum of all posts found anywhere on the Internet of users that are not happy they can’t modify their IE chrome, and multiply that by 1,000 you’ll have a better idea of how many people are upset by this.

    Lets try this, shall we?

    A quick Google query for ‘how to move toolbar in IE’

    439,000 results

    439,000 x 1,000 = 439,000,000 (e.g. 439 Million)

    now you can argue that some of those results are wrong, skewed, or that other issues aren’t listed in those results, and you’d be right.

    But what you can’t argue, using any query you want, is that there are a lot of people that want to know why they can’t fix their toolbars to make them work how they want.

    My guess is that at least 1/2 of the IE users out there would like more control.  Thats an incredibly large number.

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