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27 January 2009, 09:37

First release candidate of Internet Explorer 8 available

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Microsoft has made the first release candidate of Internet Explorer 8 available for public download. The latest pre-release version of IE8 is reportedly feature complete. Microsoft already gave the release candidate to some of its partners for testing in December. The candidate works with Windows XP and Vista (32 and 64 bit), but not with Windows 7 – although this is bound to change soon, as IE8 will ship with Windows 7.

Most of the new features are already familiar from the first (March 2008) and the second (August) betas, for example WebSlices, a full zoom feature, enhanced tabbed browsing according to context, the ability to reopen closed tabs, improved features for disabled users and InPrivate browsing. In addition, IE8 offers the obligatory security enhancements, as well as cross domain request capabilities for Ajax scripts, and is reportedly fully CSS 2.1 compliant. The release candidate's look has only been changed in minor ways to improve its ease of use, for example, when importing and managing bookmarks, or when switching to private mode.

In a Microsoft "Ask The Experts" chat, the developers indicated that SVG compatibility and a new, faster JavaScript engine may be on the agenda for Internet Explorer 9. According to the blog, the IE team was not affected by the latest job cuts – although Microsoft's web business isn't doing too well.

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