I managed to download and install IE8 today, after hearing it was available from the Microsoft web site.
The overall setup experience was quite painless, and it managed to keep all my settings from IE7.
The first page that loads after installing introduces the new features of IE8 - i.e. Activities, WebSlices and IE7 Emulation.
Activities give users ready access to the online services they care about most from any page they visit, and developers gain an easy way to extend the reach of their online services. It’s as simple as selecting text to get started with an Activity.
First up, I installed the Windows Live Translator activity and browsed to a site. Highlighting some text gave me a context menu that had the translator activity in it:
I thought this was quite a nice little feature... :)
Developers can mark parts of webpages as "WebSlices" and enable users to monitor information they rely on as they move about the web. With a click in the Favorites bar, users see rich "WebSlice" visuals and developers establish a valuable, persistent end-user connection.
So next I thought I'd try the Facebook WebSlice. I logged into facebook and installed the slice from the toolbar:
This put a new button in my favourites toolbar. But unfortunately, it didn't work too well...
I also noticed that facebook wanted me to upgrade to IE6 or any other browser...
So I thought I'd try...
Hitting the IE7 Emulation button on the toolbar actually annoyed me a little:
Couldn't this just emulate the tab...?
Anyway, I opened another IE window, emulated it and voila! The facebook warning disappeared. That's the extent of my testing this feature for today... :)
The Developer Tools is built-in for some testing fun. I'm really looking forward to using it for sifting through page responses and comparing some of the IE7 and IE8 responses.
The "Are you sure you want to close all tabs" message that appears when you try to close IE with multiple tabs open has morphed to give you the option of just closing the current tab. I always thought a cancel button in these cases is silly because the big red cross in the top right and the Escape button are just as good.
The Address Bar changes how you look at the address of the current page by only making the domain name text black and the rest gray. I'm not sure whether this is for security or just usability, but I like it.
It's definitely RAM hungry. Only 5 tabs open and already 110MB in use...
It hasn't crashed in the last hour so that's good. :) I'm planning on just using it like IE7 and seeing how I go. I'll definitely keep posting about any oddities and niceties I come across.