IE 8 to feature WebSlices, Activities

IE 8 to feature WebSlices, Activities

Summary: Internet Explorer (IE) 8, a first beta of which Microsoft is preparing to show off at its Mix '08 conference this week, includes a number of new features, including WebSlices and Activities.


Internet Explorer (IE) 8, a first beta of which Microsoft is preparing to show off at its Mix '08 conference this week, includes a number of new features, including WebSlices and Activities.

Microsoft is touting the two new technologies on an IE 8 Beta 1 Welcome page that was visible on the Web on March 4.

IE 8 to feature WebSlices, Activities

This is how Microsoft describes WebSlices, a feature allowing Web sites to connect to their users by subscribing to content directly within a Web page

"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."

And this is the company's description of Activities, which are contextual services for accessing a service from any Web page. Activities are designed to make copying and pasting between Web pages easier to do, Microsoft says.

"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."

Other new features coming in IE8 Beta 1 include a new favorites bar, automatic crash recovery and an improved phishing filter that includes a new "Safety Filter."

One of Microsoft's goals with IE 8 is to provide developers with built-in tools that will circumvent the need for them to switch behind the browser and a separate development environment. The tools will be useful for professionals and "those trying CSS and scripting for the first time," according to the company.

Microsoft is expected to field a private test build of IE 8 first, most likely as soon as this week. Some time after that, the company is planning to open up IE 8 Beta 1 to the public. There is still no word from Microsoft on when it is planning to release the final version of its IE 8 browser.

Microsoft officials said earlier this week that the company is planning to make "super-standards" mode the default for IE8. Originally, the company was planning to default to the existing IE 7 standards mode, a plan which angered many standards advocates.

Topics: Browser, Microsoft, Software Development


Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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  • I've got a funny feeling

    that it's going to make writing "MS javascript (TM)" and "MS CSS (TM)" much easier to write. Much easier, that is, compared to the pants that it used to be to get W3C stuff operating correctly in IE.

    Thank Mozilla and Firebug for that, because MS used to obfuscate this stuff so that "look at me Mom I'm a web developer" types wouldn't dare to step outside of Dreamweaver/Front Page!!
  • RE: IE 8 to feature WebSlices, Activities

    Mary Jo, once again you have shown you are one of the quickest journalists to cover MS tech news!

    looking forward to IE8 Beta1!
  • The Return of Active Desktop Channels

    Anyone remember Windows 98 Active Desktop "Channels"? This allowed you to place a portion of a website directly onto your desktop and update it when needed.

    Maybe it has been revived/modified into WebSlices? At least, it sounds like the concepts are somewhat alike.

    • Active Desktop = Sidebar

      Makes me wonder if these WebSlices can be viewed in Sidebar...
    • Ahhh, "Channels"

      I remember them well. The days of 'push' technology. Did anyone actually use them? I always wondered if the thousands of lines of code needed to support them still sat inside later versions of my browser, never to be executed.
      Salman Pak
  • Already running it here...

    Of course, I get ALL of the private betas. My rep delivered the IE8 bits to me in the usual fashion, with an elegant hand-off at Yarrows. After having a fine glass of after-dinner cognac, I went home and immediately installed IE8. Before I knew it, I was slicing and dicing the web like nobody's business. I was aggregating content and channeling information directly to my desktop. I was going so fast, I had to slow down because my heart was racing. I quickly calculated my productivity increased 725%. I called my rep with this news and he told me this was the result Microsoft expected.
    Mike Cox
    • Oh my god

      How come that you always make me puke? I suspect that you
      get a lot paid from MS to write this nonsense BS my friend BS
      • Hello little fishy...

        ... obviously you don't know about Mike.

        Well done Mr Cox! Another one bites on the hook! Tell your rep to order you another round of drinks!
    • 9.0

      Already hooked a fresh fish...
      M.R. Kennedy
    • That's nuthin. My rep gave me...

      IE 9.0
      Invitation to Bill & Melinda's home.
      Dodge Viper
      New Home
      and that's just for starters.

      Your rep ain't worth a hoot compared to mine.

      My productivity went up 7500%. My rep has Microsoft do all our production coding for us.

      Have you tried the new time travel widget?
    • What's going on?

      This sounds more like a good round of sex than checking out a new browser. Perhaps a clue is provided with: 'my rep'. Maybe an assumed 'he' is in reality an attractive 'she' rep?
  • RE: IE 8 to feature WebSlices, Activities

    Too right, well said

    • If it's not Welsh....

      IT'S CRAP! ;)
      • RE: If it's not Welsh...

        Isn't it :)
      • Or, locally:

        If it ain't Dutch
        it ain't much....

        (PA Dutch for our Official Language)
        • Dutch country

          Went there last year on vacation with my wife and 4 year old Son. Dutch Wonderland was just right for a 4 year old. We went to a classic Dutch country restaurant and ate with strangers, how quaint. Thomas the train was in Strassburg, which was the main event. <br><br>
          People say Pennsylvania is Philadelphia on one side, Pittsburgh on the other and Arkansas in between. Found that to be totally inaccurate. Well, maybe just a little bit. ;)
  • Welcome, finally, THE most standards...

    compliant browser ever. All that and the innovation of Microsoft included. <br>
    Done deal. <br>
    Since we saw Windows Server take another step ahead of Linux in the server marketshare in 2007, along with IIS 7 ousting apache in many shops (now with PHP support), i suspect the share spread between IE and FF to widen considerably. Linux folks and Apple are doing admirable jobs at keeping somewhat reasonable facsimilies of Microsoft technology going and with Governments picking and choosing marketshare for the companies in some cases (cough eeyooo cough) there is a choice for those who draw the short straw.
    • Sorry not here

      Well here in Norway we have the complete oppesite M$ is
      loosing out big time towards the goverment, well it is not
      just here but in all the nordic countries, but hey i guess that
      you got your head showed up M$ ass to really see whats
      going on.....
      • But does losing out to the government

        mean losing out to the people? And does that mean you have your head up the government's A**?
        Has Norway become a dictatorship when i wasn't looking? Maybe the Microsoft era is the modern day equivilent of the viking age as it conquered and pillaged your software mindshare. ;) <br><br>
        Seriously, the funny thing is the countries with the highest Microsoft marketshare, are in Europe. It's not the U.S. I think Microsoft is very popular among the large majority of people, even in Norway, but the government is trying to change that because they don't like seeing all those profits going back to a foreign country, God forbid especially the U.S.
    • re: Welcome, finally, THE most standards...

      As far as being standards compliant, they'll probably still be lagging behind Opera, Safari, and Konquerer, which have been passing the Acid2 test for a while. In addition, Firefox is getting close to passing the test as well, as Firefox 3 is getting close to release.

      So they [i]might[/i] leapfrog Firefox, if only temporarily. But they won't be getting ahead of anybody else.

      And as far as "innovation" goes, lol! Sorry, that one just makes me laugh. They're still way behind in the innovation battle. You're sounding like Mike Cox.

      I'd like to see other browsers gain marketshare. It's been proven time and time again that innovation only happens there's competition. I dare say that if Mozilla/Firefox hadn't started eating into IE's marketshare, we'd still be using IE6. Microsoft absolutely refused to innovate in the browser market until they had competition.