Microsoft posted the first Release Candidate (RC1) for its Internet Explorer 8 browser, as hinted by InternetNews.com.
“Release Candidate” status means the product is done and now Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) is looking for showstopper bugs. The product is otherwise feature and functionality complete. In announcing the RC, IE General Manager Dean Hachamovitch said the product is effectively “complete and done.”
Developers can expect the final IE8 release “to behave as the release candidate does,” so it’s ready for application testing. Hachamovitch seemed to indicate there would not be a second release candidate for IE, just the final code.
“Our next step, after listening to feedback from the final testing feedback from the community, is releasing the final product. We will be very selective about what changes we make between the Release Candidate and the final product, and very clear in communicating them. We will act on the most critical issues,” he wrote.
The last release for IE came in 2006 with Internet Explorer 7. Microsoft had sworn not to allow any more six year lags take place between releases like it had done with IE6, which languished for years as Mozilla’s Firefox crept up on it.
Microsoft said it focused on the user interface and experience with this release. The release candidate features a smart address bar for better organizing of links, enhanced page searching, improved tab performance and navigation as well as a number of security enhancements.
One new feature in IE8 is ClickJacking prevention, whereby a person’s clicks on a seemingly harmless link might redirect to a page containing malicious code. IE 8 has technology to detect this and warn the user they are being misdirected.
Because IE8 might break compatibility somewhere along the line, it comes with a feature called Compatibility View. If a site does not render or display correctly, the Compatibility View button displays those pages as they were designed to be viewed and would look in older versions of Internet Explorer.
Due to different development plans, IE8 RC1 will not work on the current beta of Windows 7. It will only run on Windows XP and Windows Vista.