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IE8 – So What’s new?

Windows Internet Explorer 8 (commonly abbreviated IE8) is the next version of  Microsoft’s Windows Internet Explorer web browser, succeeding Internet Explorer 7. Beta 1, targeted for web designers and developers, was released to the general public on March 5, 2008. Microsoft released Beta 2, targeted for all consumers, on August 27, 2008. The final version is scheduled to be released soon.

According to Microsoft, security, ease of use, and improvements in RSS, CSS, and Ajax support compared to IE7, are its priorities for IE8.

Internet Explorer 8 beta is intended to enable developers, web developers and IT pros to begin to test the new browser for compatibility with their applications and Web sites. End-user improvements include two new features: Activities and Web Slices. Activities are contextual services that allow easy access to Internet services from any Web page. WebSlices is a new feature for Web sites to connect to their users by subscribing to content directly within a Web page. WebSlices behave just like feeds where clients can subscribe to get updates and notify the user of changes.

Beta 2 is the second public pre-release of Internet Explorer 8 and adds Accelerators–which let you complete your everyday browsing activities more quickly and discover new services; InPrivate Browsing, search suggestions, and other new features.

If you want to try it out for yourself, you can download it from Microsoft. You can run it on XP and on both the 32- and 64-bit editions of Vista, Server 2003, and Server 2008. There are different downloads for each OS, so be sure you get the appropriate one.

10 Reasons to love (and hate)
#1: Faster is better
#2: Like a rock
#3: Crash recovery
#4: Browsing in private
#5: Tab grouping
#6: Accelerators and Web Slices
#7: Getting suggestive with search
#8: Security, security, security
#9: Where did those toolbars go?
#10: Standards break some sites
Visit TechRepublic’s Blog for full analysis. Also view Picture Gallery

Apart from above, there are some more features/integrations in IE8
These are:
Facebook Integration – Yes, seriously! With a Flock-like feature as an unexpected surprise, Microsoft capitalized on their partnership with the popular social networking site, Facebook, to allow IE8 users the ability to get status updates from Facebook right from their browser toolbar.

eBay Integration – Like Facebook, this feature also uses IE8’s new technology, called “WebSlices“, which introduces a new way to get updates from other sites via the browser itself, without having to visit the web site. With WebSlices, IE8 beta users can subscribe to portions of a page that update dynamically, in order to receive updates from that page as content changes. EBay will offer webslices, too, letting you track your auctions from the browser toolbar. Basically, WebSlices look like Favorites on your Links toolbar but they have a little arrow next to them – clicking on this arrow will show you a small window of live web content.

Live Maps Integration – Another WebSlice was integration with Live Maps. It appeared that you could even highlight text on a page, like an address, and then right-click and choose Live Maps from the context menu to get a WebSlice preview of that location on a map in a small pop-up window. How convenient!

Integration with Me.diumMe.dium integration will be supported in IE8 via WebSlices. Me.dium will now help web surfers discover and view WebSlices directly from the sidebar. The Me.dium sidebar will alert users to the presence of WebSlices on any page – and even allows users to read each WebSlice, without leaving the Sidebar. In addition, Me.dium will make real-time recommendations for other WebSlices on other relevant web pages and provides direct links to them based on the real time activity of other Me.dium users.

Effective working with AJAX pages – IE8 will offer better functionality when it comes to AJAX web pages. The example showed a page where you could zoom in using AJAX technology. Previously, hit the IE “Back” button would take you back to the last page you were on. Now, “Back” will zoom you out.

Download Internet Explorer 8 (Beta) from Microsoft

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September 17, 2008 Posted by | Browser, Internet, Microsoft, Technology, Web 2.0 | , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

What is AJAX? A not so technical answer

Ajax‘ is thrown around a lot, but there’s still a lot of confusion about exactly what it is, especially in non technical circles. So here is a quick run through for those of you who aren’t deep in weeds technically.

Ajax stands for Asynchronous Javascript and XML, but what it really means is a way for web pages to query the server without reloading the entire page. Without Ajax, submitting information back to the server involves submitting the entire page back to the server and refreshing the entire page in the browser. But with Ajax, the entire page doesnt need to be submitted. In javascript the browser can make a request in the background to the server. The Asynchronous comes from the fact that the request happens in the background while the user is looking at the page. When the javascript web request finishes it returns data to the browser, sometimes as XML. Its not always XML, a lot of times its JSON or text, but XML was first and that was how it was named. The browser then manipulates the data returned and uses DHTML to display it.

For an example of AJAX put your mouse over here AJAX

In short: Ajax is a way for a web page to communicate with the server without having to reload the entire page.

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August 28, 2008 Posted by | Browser, Internet, Technology | , , , , | 1 Comment

Buzz word: Web 2.0 – But what is it?

Web 2.0 isn’t a thing…. Its a state of Mind.  Its a term invented by Tim O’Reilly and Dale Dougherty.
Web 2.0 is a term describing the trend in the use of World Wide Web technology and web design that aims to enhance creativity, information sharing, and, most notably, collaboration among users.

Web 1.0 vs. Web 2.0
– AltaVista vs. Google
– Hotmail vs. Yahoo Mail
– Ofoto vs. Flickr
– Mp3.com vs. iTunes
– Geocities vs. Blogger
– MapQuest vs. Google Maps
– Encarta vs. Wikipedia
– Netscape vs. Firefox

So What Makes a Web 2.0 Application?
– Open Data
– Architecture of Participation
– Rich User Experience

Core Web 2.0 Technologies
– Open data through API’s and web services
– RSS
Ajax
– Web Standards (DOM Scripting, XHTML, CSS)

Some Cool Web 2.0 sites:
Google Maps
Flickr
Vimeo
WordPress
GMail
Writeboard
LastFm

Check out other cool Web 2.0 Sites

Resources on Web 2.0:
– Web 2.0 on Wikipedia
– Article by Tim O’Reilly

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July 11, 2008 Posted by | Technology, Web 2.0 | , | 1 Comment