The public Beta for IE 8 is now available to download. Whilst on the surface it looks a whole lot like IE7, it promises a number of significant improvements in some key areas, particularly CSS (2.1 compliant) , AJAX and the DOM. Not to mention an interesting “developer tools”, um, tool-set that will help rapid prototyping (in no way cribbed from any Firefox plugins, of course), and versioning that will allow IE7 emulation and a quirks mode for IE5 rendering behaviour.
New features include an “activities menu”, which automates a lot of the cop/paste activity and “web slices”, which at first glance appears to be a cross between micro-formats and RSS.
Having used it for all of 10 minutes IE8 seems to be heading along the right lines, although the “+” signs in iGoogle feeds no longer work and IE8 mode crashes if you’ve got iGoogle and Google toolbar up and running (switch to IE7 emulator moder), so it’s back to IE7 emulator mode for me… (it would also seem to block the “preview” rendering in Live Writer).