Lottery Post Journal

IE8 beta probably released too early

I installed and tried out the new IE8 beta, which was released to developers today.  IMHO, it was pushed out the door too quickly — even for a beta.

I would call it more of an "alpha".  Case in point: Microsoft's own site crashed the browser.

Normally I'll leave a beta browser on my computer for at least a couple/few days to give it a fair shake, but IE8 was so unusable that I had to uninstall it within an hour.  Yup, that bad.

I am very excited about their pledge to support all the current web development standards, but frankly I have a hard time seeing how they can even test standards support at the moment, because so many things just plain render wrong.

JavaScript is very slow — which is expected in a beta browser — but I wouldn't expect it to be that slow.  In JavaScript-heavy sites (like LP), the browser would periodically freeze for a few seconds, and interaction was sluggish.

This is not a slam on IE8.  I commend the direction Microsoft is taking.  This is more a commentary on delivering something too soon.  I do not think it is valuable to report bugs for a beta product in which just about everything has some kind of problem.

I think the fact that Firefox 3 is now in its third beta pushed Microsoft to act a little too quickly.

If you're considering installing the IE8 beta, I'd recommend not doing it, and waiting at least until they release a second beta.


  • Why aren't I surprised. MS is known for releasing too soon.

    By Tenaj, at 11:58 PM

  • Glad you said so. I'm not big on the updates thing anyway. But my new computer (Built for me by my brother and though he is a genius, doesn't know how I am with such things) tries to automatically update itself. He did it as a favor for me, but I'm not quick to jump on the update bandwagon like he his. I prefer to let them work out all the bugs before I get it., whatever it may be at the moment. He prefers to form his own opinion of whether it needs fixing or not. Despite all my feelings toward things like that, occasionally I will doubt myself. So, glad you posted this as I was considering the upgrade.

    By spy153, at 8:08 AM

  • Stability is primary in my systems, thanks for the update. I am gun shy when it comes to upgrades. If something accomplishes the tasks at hand effectively, I'll hang with it until...........................they force an upgrade because of compatibilty, availability, and or support is gone.   Anyway I still deal with archaic stuff which is amazingly robust and hard to crash.

    When you uninstalled it, it removed gracefully?

    By jarasan, at 10:01 AM

  • Thanks for the heads up on that! I hope IE8 has the ability to compact toolbars like IE6 did. With IE6 I was able to scrunch everything on one line up top with drop down menus for greater ability to view with out having to go to full screen mode.

    By konane, at 10:06 AM

  • Just to be clear: the IE8 beta is something you'd actually have to track down, because Microsoft is only trying to have developers use it at this point. A non-developer would really not benefit in any way from using it in its present form.

    The reason I'm mentioning this is I don't want to create the impression that IE8 will get installed on your PC during a normal update. We're *many* months from the general release of IE8 (and any potential automatic updates). It may be another year for all I know.

    @spy153: I think your brother actually did you a favor by setting automatic updates to be installed. I can't tell you how many PCs I've looked at that don't have any updates applied, and as a result it runs like crap. I would absolutely put up with a glitchy update once or twice a year in exchange for a PC consistently updated with the latest patches.

    Another option you can set in Windows Update is the option to always download updates, but to *ask* you before installing them. That's something I use on the LP servers, because I want to be able to control when the reboots occur (after a patch installs).

    By Todd, at 10:11 AM

  • @Konane: If that's the feature you're looking for, you will like IE8. It has something called a "Favorites Bar" that is a horizontal toolbar next to (or under) the Address line, and you can put favorites buttons there. It's just like Safari's bookmarks bar, and is a great way to quickly go to your favorite sites without even opening the favorites menu.

    Another thing that may be useful is a "web clips" feature (I may have the name slightly off). If you have a *part* of a certain page that you look at often, IE8 will contantly monitor that piece of the page for updates, and let you quickly view that piece directly from the toolbar. For example, you could use it to monitor the Georgia lottery results grid at You'd click the button on the toolbar and a sort of fancy tooltip would pop up containing just the updated results grid.

    Another nice touch is the way URLs are shown in the Address line. IE8 makes the domain name slightly darker than the rest of the URL, so you can easily identify which domain/site you are viewing. I have not seen that in any other browser, and it definitely improves readability of links.

    Also, the Favorites button now includes the word "Favorites" in addition to the star icon, which will improve usability for new users. The IE7 toolbar has been expanded to about twice the height to make room for these enhancements, but it did not feel like too much screen space was being taken up.

    By the way, IE8 will be able to be installed under Windows XP, but you'll need to have Service Pack 2 installed.

    By Todd, at 10:21 AM

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