Tonight Microsoft held a 1hr QnA session with bloggers, members of the press and us (Neowin) regarding Internet Explorer 8.
The session was informal with any and all types of questions permitted. Members of the IE team were on hand as well as Windows Consumer leads and a few PR folk. Prior to the session I asked Neowin members for some questions on IE8, I asked as many as possible and you can see the best questions and answers from myself and others listed below:
Q - Does IE8 spell the end for the trident rendering engine?
A - No, I don't think IE8 is the end of the Trident engine. We've been progressively upgrading areas of Trident over the last couple of releases, and I don't see personally see Trident as holding us back; it's actually got some very smart design decisions in it.
Q - Do you see IE ever getting mouse gestures support in future versions? Is this something the team is actively looking at?
A - It's possible that mouse gestures would get supported in IE8, though I don't know of any current work. They're typically loved by enthusiasts (like you and me), but average users don't quite get them. We did do a lot of work into touch support for IE8 in Windows 7, though, so I think improving the usability of the user interface is near and dear to our hearts.
Q - Are you aware of the issues with IE8 opening new tabs for some users? The fix seems to be turning off suggested sites. Will a fix be coming down the line for users with these issues?
A - Wasn't aware of the tab problem, I'll follow it up
Q - How are addons approved onto ieaddons.com? Do you plan to open this up further or will Microsoft always approve the addons this way?
A - We have administrators for each country and we review them before they are added but as they are only xml they are pretty easy to build
Q - What are your plans for implementing future versions of ECMAScript, and general compatibility with specifications other than CSS (Like DOM, SVG, video, canvas, audio, etc?
A - On ECMAScript - we've been one of the primary developers in TC-39 of the ECMAScript edition (formerly known as ES3.1, recently named ES5), and we are planning on being one of the implementations necessary for standardization. We expect to continue helping drive the state of the art forward there. As for the other standards, we're continuing to be demand-driven there, but those specs you mentioned are largely at the top of our list.
Q - In the future do you plan on incorporating a web browser sandbox the same way chrome does?
A - On web sandbox, actually we had a similar set of features (Protected Mode and Loosely-Coupled IE) already in Beta 2. We'll continue to drive security forward there - but we do see a problem with any system that doesn't attempt to limit addons' ability to exposure security issues too, which is why our system is different.
Q - Why is there no shortcut to start inspecting the element page? We have to hit F12, then click on inspect element to start inspecting or by hiting Ctrl + B. Ideally there should be a shortcut which does F12 & Ctrl + B together. Also is there a way to launch the developer tool windows within IE to dock?
A - I don't think there is a shortcut to launch straight to inspect element; that's a great feature request, though. Keep 'em coming!
Q - How comes you didn't opt for the ribbon interface for IE this time around? Any plans for that in future Internet Explorer releases?
A - We were pretty focused on simplifying the interface and getting out of the way of your web content; that translated to the Ribbon not being a good choice for IE8. I don't know when/if we might pick it up.
Q - At what point will your OEMs be shipping ie8 as standard with new Vista installations?
A - That's up to each OEM individually. I expect you'll see them all migrate soon, though.
A - There is no "8.1" announced (aside from an April Fool's prank:) ). For the next version, we're doing planning now, as we finish up Windows 7 as well. We don't yet have a confirmed plan for individual features, of course. I think you will see a lot of continued work on furthering the web platform in that plan, though.
Q - Am I right in thinking that IE8 is a clean code base and doesn't take anything from the previous browsers? i.e. that's how you managed to get a clean and complete impl. of CSS 2.1?
A - IE8 does actually build on the IE7 engine; the only area that is a "clean rewrite" is the new layout engine (which is only used for default (IE8) standards mode - quirks and IE7 standards mode are still handled by the IE7 layout engine.)