Microsoft says the development of its next browser, Internet Explorer 8, has made significant progress and is set for beta 1 release in the first half of next year.
Marking progress, last week IE8 correctly rendered the "Acid2 browser test" that determines how browsers work with different standards, Microsoft said. "While supporting the features tested in Acid2 is important for many reasons, it is just one of several milestones for the interoperability, standards compliance and backwards compatibility that we're committed to for this release. We will blog more on these topics," wrote Microsoft General Manager Dean Hachamovitch in Microsoft Developer Network IEBlog.
"For IE8, we want to communicate facts, not aspirations. We're posting this information now because we have real working code checked in and we're confident about delivering it in the final product," Hachamovitch added. "We're listening to the feedback about IE, and at the same time, we are committed to responsible disclosure and setting expectations properly. Now that we've run the test on multiple machines and seen it work, we're excited to be able to share definitive information."
Hachamovitch's posting prompted a slew of comments, including this person hungry for more details:
"It's great to finally see some actual news about the next version of Internet Explorer. Hopefully, this is just the start of IE's trend towards open standards compliance," one blogger said. "As stated in the post, this is just a single test case, but it is surely a sign of progress and probably a significant internal milestone.
"I look forward to seeing continued progress but still do not understand the unwillingness to talk more openly about anticipated features," reads the post. "I feel the development community would appreciate more transparency here even if the IE team is unable to deliver 100% on their goals. It would be more reassuring to hear about the teams expectations for the next release than to hear about improvements only once such milestones have been reached."