Tag: "internet explorer"

Tidying up Internet Explorer 8 a tad

Internet Explorer 8 is probably going to be released very soon. So I thought I'd do a quick article on how to tidy the thing up a bit - I'm not happy with how the UI is configured out of the box, It's not as clean as IE7. This is what it looks like right off the bat:

Internet Explorer 8

The most obvious addition is the favourites bar running along the top I'm not the world's biggest fan of this thing. If you don't like the amount of space it takes up and don't mind losing quick access to web slices you can right click on an empty area of it and uncheck the favourites bar option:

Internet Explorer 8 customisation

On resolution constrained computers like my Dell Mini 9 I also turn off the status bar (and run it in fullscreen), I don't generally recommend people do that as they lose the ability to see what website hyperlinks point to, I'd like to see a status bar that automatically hides like Chrome in IE9.

You can also tidy up the what buttons are shown, toggle if they show text and icons or just icons you can do this by right-clicking an empty area of the tab or favourites bar and going to Customise. The options for removing buttons you don't want, for example the e-mail and help buttons looks a bit like this:

Add or remove buttons from Internet Explorer 8

Here's what IE8 looks like after doing a few tweaks to it, much cleaner in my opinion.

The case against unbundling Internet Explorer from Windows

Yes this thing just won't go away will it. Crippling the user experience to keep companies that are mostly a waste of space like Opera (although their mobile browsers are capable and fairly successful) in business is unacceptable.

We've seen this before, when the Java VM was unbundled from Windows it caused pain, not just to a few people but hundreds of millions who were forced to go to Sun's website and dig around and find the Java runtime - sure that was slightly different to this - but the end result is the same the user experience is reduced and millions of hours are wasted. Today we have to put up with junkware being installed along with Java - which is why it is banned from my machines.

We saw the same thing with media players. We see RealOne complain to the EU, a company which produces a horrible media player that had utterly failed in the marketplace, not because Windows comes with a media player (back then nobody used it, Winamp was probably the most popular), but because it was terrible. What do we get? The waste of space N versions of Windows - which nobody, ever has or will buy.

Operating systems should come with internet browsers, just like they should come with networking stacks and more than 2 fonts. Just like cars should come with more than 2 wheels.

The EC has showed once again they are clueless when it comes to technology. Hopefully they won't come up with too many whacky plans, like actually removing IE from Windows - too many 3rd party applications depend on it, and it brings about the interesting problem of trying to download another browser from the internet without a web browser to start with. I don't want to be ordering web browsers on CD and waiting 6-8 weeks for delivery. Thank you.

Three tech items on the todo list

There's a few technology posts I haven't had the chance to do, but are on the todo list.

First up Photosynth.

If you haven't already played around with it do so. There's videos on the website to help explain how to take sets of images that synth well together, but I'll have my tips soon hopefully along with some of my own synths. I'm hoping to do St John's Church in town at some point, I think that would make a great synth.

Next up Internet Explorer 8 Beta 2 thoughts.

Good release, I'll share my opinions on the new features soon I hope. Although I imagine this will be one of the topics I'll talk about on Gamercast this week too.

The last peice of tech I want to do is over the new bit of kit I've got on my desk.

Yes that is an HTC Touch Pro sat next to my monitor, and I'll be reviewing it within a couple of weeks.

Internet Explorer 8 Beta 2 released

Internet Explorer 8 Beta 2 has been released. First impressions: this is a solid release, I've been using Beta 1 as my primary browser since it was released earlier this year. Not had any issues with Beta 2 over the last hour or so, plus it fixes a few of the annoying bugs in Beta 1 and adds bucket loads of new features.

Go grab it from here.

Read up on the new announced features here.

Clearing up some Internet Explorer 8 nonsense

When Microsoft announced that it would ship Internet Explorer 8 Beta 2 in August, the IE team also reminded web developers to ensure their stuff works by then, and supplied a couple of quick-fixes that can be used to tell IE8 to render a page in IE7 mode, which can be specified per-page, or even server-wide.

This was done so that web developers could maintain their normal development cycle, so they wouldn't have to re-engineer their websites based upon IE8's release, they'd just need to add one line of code on any pages that might be effected, or change a setting on the server. Five minutes work, tops.

Simple right, we get a decent browser with good standards support, and an easy way to maintain compatibility, everyones happy right?

Wrong. A quick look over the comments on Mary Jo's article on ZDNet shows something quite different.

Ballmer, fire the IE team... Super-standard mode may be silliest thing IE team's come up with and will make IE lose more market share. IE7 has broken many websites and irritated many site designers. And now IE8 seems to do more. People love simplicity and do not care standard compliance. They hate doing unneccessary work to tweak their well-working website.

Super-standards mode, other than the super name is just standards mode, IE8 rendering a page as close to the standards as possible. Like every other browser, Firefox, Opera etc.

I don't think IE7 "broke" many websites, maybe your websites perhaps. IE7 was a good step forward and fixed many of the layout and positioning problems that plagued IE6. If you fed IE7 the standard-CSS instead of doing what I suspect you did, feeding it on the non-standard-CSS that was hacked for IE6 there wouldn't of been many issues at all. IE7's standards support was good enough so everybody could switch over to using CSS, although of course it was by no means perfect or complete.

Web developers are fed up with having to do all kinds of hacks for older versions of IE. IE8 because it will support the standards as well as any other browser out there will save so much time, we won't have to waste time writing all these different versions of the site for different browsers.

7 versions of windows now 3 different settings in IE, why make life so hard for users?

This doesn't effect end-users. Only developers need to worry about how IE will render a page.

Quirks mode, how Internet Explorer 6 and below browsers rendered pages.
"Standards" mode which I call IE7 mode, which renders things like IE7.
Super-standards mode which renders it like any other browser.

Originally the Doc Type was used to determine how to render a web page, if a browser saw no Doc Type, it would render in quirks mode, if it saw a Doc Type it would render it according to whatever specification was in the Doc Type.

However Doc Type has been poorly used, and often websites are written against completely different specifications than what is in the Doc Type. So IE7 mode tag has been introduced, as a way of telling future browsers to render like IE7, like I said before its a quick-fix measure that should be phased out by developers on their next version of their website.

It isn't complicated, and should be common sense for any web developer. End-users don't need to know what's going on under the covers.

Again MS shoot themselves in the FOOT. Why do MS keep changing the standards (there thanks to MS NO standards NOW, just MS shifting the goalposts.
When will they learn the more they annoy cleints the more they loose to other platforme as on writer said...

Microsoft don't keep changing the standards, they're not Microsoft's to change. Microsoft are giving Internet Explorer 8 decent support for CSS 2.0 and 2.1, fixing the problems previous versions of IE had with them.

Everyone's testing against Firefox right? Just feed IE8 the same code you would to Firefox.

This is crazy! I don't know what the IE team is smoking. This is going to blow up in MS' face like a thermonuclear bomb. You don't screw around with backward compatibility and not expect blowback from users / developers. MS should go back to its original position, and require developers to place a tag on their web site, to get super standards mode in IE8. Don't bow to the pressure of an overly vocal minority, and cause a gigantic upheaval on the web. Besides, it's not like these guys are going to like you anyway.

Actually web developers who keep tags on things and keep track of what's going on with browser development went thermonuclear on the IE team last year when they said they were going to make "super"-standards-mode opt-in.

Which in my opinion is holding the future to ransom over a couple of minutes of pain now. If you're using a Doc Type in your page, it is opt-out. Like it should be, IE8 will assume it will be getting standards-complaint code.

Gigantic upheaval on the web? Does Firefox or Opera cause gigantic upheaval on the web? No. People are already writing against the standards, they just need to give IE8 the same code as Firefox and Opera instead of all the hacks they're giving to IE6 and the like.

Internet Explorer 8 Beta 1 released!

Microsoft have just released Internet Explorer 8 Beta 1! You can download it from here.

Seems solid so far, you can tell it to Emulate IE7 if you need a website that won't work correctly in IE8 at the moment. As IE8 will now be using standards mode by default it'll probably effect a great many websites (even the back end of the blogs here doesn't work properly in standards mode IE8), so they'll need to be updated, or use the following to tell IE8 to render in IE7 mode:

meta http-equiv="X-UA-Compatible" content="IE=7" /

Which must be placed at the top of the head of the document.

A few new features too, one I'm looking into is WebSlices, which are sort of like RSS Feeds, I'll see if I can put together something on the forums that will make use of them.

I'll probably be posting up more thoughts over the next few days, I'd recommend everybody who toys with any web development to start using this ASAP and updating their websites so by the time it goes final the whole world won't break from IE behaving in a more standards-compliant way.

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