Today I installed a virtual machine of Internet Explorer 8 on XP SP3. Oh my god, I was terrified. Now I know that IE8 is still in Beta, but what scared me is our old IE6 Quirks mode site was pixel perfect, and our supposedly web-standards based UI was flaky with buttons disappearing on page refreshes, lines of text disappearing on the bottom of elements etc. So much for the future of the web.
Ignoring this I get the feeling MS has taken the approach that the browser is “the OS of the internet”. The reason the browser cannot be this is because everyone, (people who use the web, as well as those who produce content for it), wants the browsing experience to be the same for everyone on the planet. This is important, but unfortunately it means that Browsers really shouldn’t be innovating by adding features, but more removing and streamlining (making them faster) the one thing they were originally designed to do… Display documents!
Internet Explorer 8 is suffering from bloat… BIGTIME! Every release of Internet Explorer I feel like they’ve added something, I get this innate feeling that Internet Explorer 6 was more lightweight, more nimble. Then IE7 came along and added tabs, which take for-ever to add… then IE8 came along and added web slices… OMFG… just give up guys. Web Slices are going to go the way of active desktop, not because they aren’t a useful feature, but because there’ll always be the one stubborn browser out there that doesn’t want to implement them.
Looking at IE8’s out of the box UI in XP makes Google’s Chrome look like the best browser on the internet not for it’s features, but it’s lack thereof. There’s no crap (yet) it just does what it does extremely cleanly and simply, and I love it and would only use it if it was just a little more mature.
Internet Explorer’s Great Wall of Chrome
Browser Chrome done right (Google’s Chrome)