Well, as expected, the public beta of IE8 appeared on the web pretty much straight after the Mix08 keynote mentioned it. I managed to grab it within mere moments and I now have it installed on my trusty laptop.
As announced only a day or two ago, it defaults to the new rendering mode, with a big toolbar button to toggle back to IE7 mode. I haven’t had time to test the browser with any sites yet, but I’ll try to do that in the next few days and maybe post again.
What did strike me, though, was that there are developer tools right out of the box. Reminiscent of the Safari tools that let you view the page code, the IE dev tools are enabled with a simple icon on the toolbar. Once enabled, what you get is cool:
A nice CSS/HTML view where you can see the elements and which style rules are being inherited by the element, along with the opportunity to enable/disable individual rules. Suddenly IE is no longer Firebug’s poor cousin.
More on for my developer colleagues, script debugging is also available. This will also come in jolly handy.
The new Favorites Bar I can take or leave- I just don’t browser like that. Underneath, it feels like the old links toolbar to me. Nothing to see here, move along.
Activities look ike they may have legs, though, particularly in the corporate sector where they can guarantee the desktop browser. Being able to right click on the page, element or highlighted text and call functions from other web sites, such as searching for a term or cross-connecting business applications - I can see uses for that and I’ll be playing with this as soon as I can.