Following the release of Internet Explorer 8 Beta 2 at the end of August 2008, Microsoft offered a toolset designed to permit advanced customization of the browser. Internet Explorer Administration Kit 8.0 Beta was dropped after the English, Japanese, Chinese (Simplified), and German localized versions of IE8. On September 16, the kit was updated to reflect the wave 2 of Internet Explorer 8 Beta 2 releases. Earlier this week Microsoft made available 21 new fully localized flavors of IE8 Beta 2, bringing the total number of language versions to 25.

“With the release of these additional languages, the IE8 IEAK can now build an additional 20 language packages. We’re excited to enable more users to download IE8 Beta 2 and use it in their native languages,” revealed Vishwac Sena Kannan, IE international program manager.

The September 16 release of Internet Explorer Administration Kit 8 Beta is tailored to the new span of IE8 Beta 2 language versions. The kit is designed to permit the customization of Microsoft’s latest iteration of the Internet Explorer browser. IEAK 8 Beta enables customized packages of IE8 Beta 2 to be put together, and this is valid for the many flavors of the browser. More »

On September 16, the Redmond company went live with the second wave of IE8 Beta 2 releases, offering the browser in no less than 21 localized versions. The fresh IE8 Beta 2 releases covering 21 additional languages on top of the original four are supported only on the 32-bit versions of Windows Vista RTM and Service Pack 1, Windows XP SP2 and SP3 and Windows Server 2008.

“The IE team is pleased to announce the availability of Internet Explorer Beta 2 in 21 additional languages. The languages released today are fully localized versions of the IE8 English Beta 2. The Complete List of IE8 Beta 2 Languages: Arabic, Chinese (Hong Kong), Chinese (Simplified), Chinese (Traditional), Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hebrew, Hungarian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese (Brazil), Portuguese (Portugal), Russian, Spanish, Swedish, and Turkish,” explained Vishwac Sena Kannan, International Program Manager.

Microsoft is currently gearing up for the availability of the gold build of Internet Explorer 8. The Redmond giant has not confirmed a deadline, except to say that it expects to deliver the final IE8 two years after the general availability of Internet Explorer 7 considered by the company to be January 30, 2007, the Windows Vista launch day. More »

While rival browser makers Mozilla and Opera have launched the latest iterations of their products, Firefox 3.0 and respectively Opera 9.5, as early as June 2008, Microsoft is still in the development phase of Internet Explorer 8, the successor of IE7. August 27 marked the delivery of IE8 Beta 2, a deadline absurdly safeguarded by Microsoft, with the company only managing to confirm a release by the end of this month, and taking its due time when it came down to making available the bits for the browser second development milestone. Internet Explorer 8 is still far from the finish line, reportedly planned for November 2008, but Beta 2 feels more like a browser version ready for wrap-up than Beta 1.

The reason for this is the fact that, in comparison with the March 2008 release of IE8, the second Beta is packed with features and functionality aimed at the home and business users, on top of what has already been available to IT professionals and web content developers and designers. In this regard, IE8 Beta 1 was more of a skeleton on which Microsoft built Beta 2. Now, although Microsoft is not touting IE8 Beta 2 as a feature-complete version, it is clear that the Redmond company will move further only with the process of fine-tuning the browser got with Release to Web (RTW). More »

Internet Explorer 8 is not the fastest browser in the universe. This, according to IE Program Manager, Christian Stockwell, working on the performance of the browser. However, this is not to say that the Redmond company has not poured a consistent amount of efforts into boosting the performance of IE7’s successor. In fact, Internet Explorer 8 Beta 2, planned for release by the end of this month, will offer palpable proof of the new horsepower under the browser’s hood.

“When we took a hard look at our goals and considered what we could do to build the best browser, we were presented with a quandary. On the one hand, we could focus very narrowly on scripting performance, trusting that our investment would noticeably improve our users’ browsing experience. Alternatively, we could invest more broadly in realistic scenarios, measuring heavily-used subsystems and investing our optimization effort accordingly. We opted for the latter approach,” Stockwell noted.

Even as early as March 2008, IE GM Dean Hachamovitch indicated that JavaScript performance was up 2.5 times, the Gmail inbox was loading 34% faster, the task of opening a new conversation took 45% less time, while that of opening a thread 25% less. With IE8 Beta 2, Microsoft has tweaked the execution time for the browser, but it has also managed to speed up navigation and user interaction. More »