Microsoft has released Internet Explorer 8, which is currently recommended as a voluntary upgrade. With bad results especially in corporate environments of forced upgrades, they’ve made upgrading a choice, which I applaud. The new browser has it share of pluses and minuses. Here are some of the things I’ve found and what I’ve done about them.

  • +Developer Tools – As a web developer I’m glad they finally added decent debugging tools into the browser. These can be found under Tools…Developer Tools
  • +Page Rendering – The browser renders most pages with very similar results to Firefox, Chrome, and Safari. This makes creating websites that are cross-browser compatible much easier. (see modifying your stylesheets below).
  • -Plugin Support – The browser had some issues with existing plugins. I had to go into my control panel and disable a fair number of plugins to make IE8 stable.
  • -Javascript/embedded code – The browser crashed on some more complex sites that were heavy in AJAX and embedded code. Hopefully this will get fixed in future releases. (see forcing compability mode below for a work around).


Here are some tips for web developers.


If you have IE specific stylesheets try turning them off for version 8. This produced better results in many cases.



Browser crashes

If your site crashes when you try to load it in IE8 first try in your own browser switching to IE7 compatibility mode and reloading the site. If it doesn’t crash then you are doing something on your site that IE8 doesn’t like. Probably some kind of Javascript or embedded object.

Add this meta tag to your website to keep it from crashing IE8.

        <meta http-equiv="X-UA-Compatible" content="IE=EmulateIE7" />

Then work on your local copy to disable and enable certain features to find out where the bug is coming from or switch to IE8 mode when a service pack is released and see if the issue has been fixed on the Microsoft side.

Overall I think Internet Explorer 8 is a step in the right direction. Until they get the bugs worked out I’m going to stick with Firefox or Google Chrome for everyday browsing and use IE8 for testing purposes only.