We're excited to make the IE8 Release Candidate available today for public download today in 25 languages for Windows Vista, Windows XP, and Windows Server customers. You can find it at http://www.microsoft.com/ie8. Please download it now and try it out. We welcome your feedback!
The team will post more about all changes between Beta 2 and RC. In brief:
- Platform Complete. The technical community should expect the final IE8 release to behave as the Release Candidate does. The IE8 product is effectively complete and done. We’ll post separately about the thousands of additional test cases we’re contributing to the W3C. We've listened very carefully to feedback from the betas. With the Release Candidate, we’re listening carefully for critical issues.
- Reliability, Performance, and Compatibility improvements. We’ve studied the telemetry feedback about the browser's underlying quality and addressed many issues.
- Security. We’ve worked closely with people in the security community to enable consumer-ready clickjacking protection. Sites can now protect themselves and their users from clickjacking attacks “out of the box,” without impacting compatibility or requiring browser add-ons. We also made some changes to InPrivate based on feedback from customers and partners.
We also made some changes to the user experience based on feedback. For example, based on data about how people use actually it, we made fitting more items on the Favorites bar easier. (Note that the IE8 Release Candidate is for Windows Vista, XP, and Server only; Windows 7 users will get an updated IE8 with the next update of Windows 7. Also, the Release Candidate of the Internet Explorer Administration Kit is available for download now.)
IE8 focused on how people really use the web. Consumers want a browser that makes the tasks they do every day faster and easier. The activities people spend their time on define real-world performance: navigating to websites, working with tabs, searching, keeping track of changing information (like traffic or an auction), and using the information from one site with another (as in getting a map). Everyone wants a trustworthy browser that keeps them in control and protects their safety. Developers want great developer tools, great interoperability, and a powerful platform that enables them innovate. For some people, accessibility is crucial; for some organizations, policy, administration, and deployment are essential.
The people who read this blog and comment on it are (for the most part) technology enthusiasts and professionals. We enjoy wading through the details of browser features or how to measure performance. We also need to remember that we’re a pretty small minority of the hundreds of millions of people who browse the web. Looking at the telemetry data and usability tests and feedback from real users, we’re excited about the positive impact that this release of IE will have.
The call to action now is for the community to download the Release Candidate, test your sites and services and software with the product, make any changes necessary for the best possible customer experience with IE8, and let us know about your experience.
We’re going to continue listening to feedback. We’re interested in reports of critical issues (e.g. security, backwards compatibility, completeness with respect to planned standards work, or robustness). We’re also going to keep blogging and reading and responding to the comments here.
Our next step, after listening to feedback from the final testing feedback from the community, is releasing the final product. We will be very selective about what changes we make between the Release Candidate and the final product, and very clear in communicating them. We will act on the most critical issues.
Books often have dedications from the authors at the beginning. While software typically doesn’t have an equivalent, the software developer’s blog is a good stand-in. To everyone who has installed the product and provided feedback so far – web developers, security experts, industry partners, IT professionals, and people who “just” browse the web – thank you from the Internet Explorer development team.
PS – Jason Upton and I sat down last week with Channel 9 to discuss the RC. You can view the interview here.
Updated 4:04pm – adding link to interview.