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Microsoft to release IE 8 Release Candidate

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From the "What's after Beta 2" files:

Microsoft's head honcho on the Internet Explorer browser - Dean Hachamovitch  - has revealed the plan for the release of Internet Explorer 8 (IE 8). IE 8 is currently at its Beta 2 release and there won't be a Beta 3 release. Instead Microsoft is planning at least 1 release candidate which should show up in the first part of 2009.

"We will release one more public update of IE8 in the first quarter of
2009, and then follow that up with the final release," Hachamovitch wrote. "Our next public
release of IE (typically called a "release candidate") indicates the
end of the beta period. We want the technical community of people and
organizations interested in web browsers to take this update as a
strong signal that IE8 is effectively complete and done. They should
expect the final product to behave as this update does."

Considering that my colleague Andy Patrizio figures that Microsoft's Windows 7 will be out in the June timeframe of 2009 - I would suspect that the final for IE 8 will actually pre-date the Windows 7 release by a short period of time.

Perhaps more interesting is what a Release Candidate actually means - which is a feature freeze so that the stability and bug issues can be resolved. That leads me to believe that Beta 2 is pretty close to what the final will be so it's likely a very good idea for developers to make sure that their sites are IE8 ready sooner rather than later - but there is still time...

On the competitive side of things, Firefox 3.1 Beta 2 should be out tomorrow (Nov. 21), a Beta 3 is likely to follow - so I would expect final for Firefox 3.1 in the January 2009 timeframe. So if you're developing for Firefox you likely have a little less time to get your house in order.

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