By Ed Oswald | Tuesday, March 31, 2009 at 9:39 am
[UPDATE FROM HARRY: Smashing Magazine–which I like–has a wacky sense of humor. And maybe it’s April Fools Day where it is, or close enough.]
Builds of IE 8.1 have leaked out into the wild, and while it is not going to be a release that users will notice much difference visually, underneath the hood significant changes have been made which will enhance the user experience.
Security is a big focus with this point release. The SmartScreen and Cross-site scripting filters are improved greatly. Whereas IE 8 successfully caught on average 75% of all occurences of malware and phishing, IE 8.1 has increased that to 96%.
The browser also adheres to web standards better than its predecessor, scoring a 71 out of 100 in the Acid3 test. For what its worth, my Firefox 3 browser on Mac also scores a 71 out of 100. So the two browsers appear now to be at parity.
Other features include functionality that allows the user to replace a sites CSS style sheet with a custom one for better readability, and a server-side code decompiler. As you can see, quite a bit for both the developer and consumer to show on.
However, probably the most exciting new feature in IE 8.1 is the support for Firefox Extensions. Yep, you heard that right. While Microsoft warns that not all plugins will work, many do so flawlessly. This is definitely a shot across the bow of Mozilla, and it will be interesting to see how they respond.
(Hat tip: Smashing Magazine)