IE8 Passes the Acid2 Test

Somewhat recently, Microsoft let slip the news that they are indeed developing Internet Explorer 8. Now they’ve released another interesting piece of info: As of December 12, 2007 IE8 passes the Acid2 test. If that means nothing to you, run (don’t walk) over to the Web Standards Project’s Acid2 Browser Test Page.

Passing Acid2 doesn’t necessarily mean that IE8 will be the browser that web developers have been waiting for, but it does mean that the IE developers have spent time adding features that many of us consider important. The fact that Microsoft is even thinking about Acid2 is a big win for the web, and the fact that their next browser will pass the test is huge.

Beta Week

Two betas were released this week which will probably be met with a resounding yawn from the average computer user, but which should be exciting for web developers.

First is the new version of Adobe Apollo, now called Adobe AIR (or Adobe Adobe Integrated Runtime–they want you to be doubly sure that it is indeed an Adobe tecnology.) The new name is silly, but this release marks the inclusion of full HTML and JavaScript support, making it possible to develop cross-platform desktop applications using easy-to-learn technologies that I’m already familiar with. I’m excited. I hope to put together some experiments…some time soon-ish.

The second release will interest developers who run Windows, and Mac-envious members of the general population. Apple has released the beta version of Safari 3–their web browser–for both Mac OSX and Windows. For the first time, Windows-based developers will be able to test websites in every major browser on one machine. With this release, Apple has eliminated my only real reason to buy a computer from them. I’d still love to try one out, but now it will have to wait that much longer.

You can get the Safari 3 beta for OSX and Windows at Apple’s Web Site.

Update: On the day that Safari 3 Beta was released for Windows, several security flaws were found in the software. Wired’s Compiler blog has more info about the security flaws. Safari 3 is beta software so this isn’t too surprising. I would suggest that the software is currently unfit for general web browsing, but will remain useful for browser testing.

Mozilla Thunderbird 2.0 Released

Mozilla has released version 2.0 of their Thunderbird email client. You can read about the new additions to Thunderbird on Mozilla’s website, and in-depth coverage should be available all over the web shortly. In the meantime, here are some first impressions:

  • It’s pretty fast. I don’t have data to back it up, but after a cursory evaluation it seems faster than previous versions.
  • It looks pretty good. The default theme has new icons and a few other touch ups. I thought the last version looked fine, but I guess they felt the need to tinker. It still looks like Thunderbird to me, which is nice. They appear to have borrowed the new junk mail icon from feedburner, and it looks out of place.
  • They’ve added a tagging feature!
  • The tagging feature is a rehash of the old label feature, and could use some more work. Now you can define your own tags (in addition to the 5 default ones that take their names from the old labels) and apply more than one to a single email. Unfortunately, it only shows one highlight color at a time, which is not ideal. I would like to have seen tagging implemented more like or ma.gnolia, or like gmail’s label system.

All told, I’m pleased with the new version of Thunderbird, and I’m looking forward to testing the new features more extensively.

You can download Thunderbird 2.0 from Mozilla.

Full-Page Screenshots with Firefox and Page Saver

A great website requires many details working together in harmony, and not all of these details appear “above the fold.” Many elements, from header to footer, must come together in order to effectively communicate a message. Whether you’re presenting your own work in a portfolio, or saving inspirational work from a designer that redesigns too often, why would you want to take a screenshot of just the thin slice of a site that you can see in the view port at any one time?

A while back I was admiring an incredible site and decided I wanted to save it for inspiration. I briefly considered the prospect of taking a bunch of screenshots and cobbling them together in Photoshop, but figured there had to be a better way. Fortunately, I was able to find one; I’ve been using the Pearl Crescent Page Saver extension for Firefox ever since. It is compatible with Firefox 1.5 and higher on Windows, OSX, and Linux.

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