Microsoft released the final version of Internet Explorer 8 (IE 8) to the Web exactly a week ago. But that doesn't mean users and developers are satisfied. Instead, many are champing at the bit to get Microsoft to commit to their favorite missing features for IE 9.
Microsoft, for its part, won't say anything about IE 9, other than it's in the planning stage. During an IE 8 Expert Zone Web chat on March 25, members of the IE team reminded participants that Microsoft isn't ready to talk at all about IE 9 dates or features. The team really isn't ready yet to accept officially ideas from the user/developer base for Microsoft's next browser update.
("We will be placing a new form on [the Microsoft private test site] Connect for improvements for the next version of IE. We will send out an email to the Technical Beta participants when it is available on Connect," one Softie told chat participants yesterday.)
One chat participant opined that password save/confirmation shouldn't force an IE page load/login.
Kymberlee Price, a Program Manager for Security on the IE team, responded:
"Password management is something we looked at in IE8 but ultimately had to cut. As a user I totally understand why this is a popular and compelling scenario. But as a security person I see it as fraught with challenges to implement. Login with a single master password for example - differentiation of passwords is beneficial to protecting sensitive data like bank accounts separate from less sensitive data like Twitter accounts."
Another chatter said XHTML+MathML support would help students and others who need to publish math-centric content on the Web. A Microsoft official said Microsoft is hearing "lots of requests for this feature, as well as for scalable vector graphics (SVG), "both of which add richer presentation to the Web." But he made no promises that these would be part of IE 9.
Participants in the ExpertZone chat also asked Microsoft officials about recently reported problems between sites running in Restricted Sites zone (like SpywareBlaster, Spybot, etc.) and the final IE 8 build.
Eric Lawrence, IE Security Program Manager, responded:
"This was a side-effect of a recent change to better support non-standard top-level-domains which are becoming more common. You can read about the general issue with non-standard TLDs on http://publicsuffix.org. IE8 maintains an internal public suffix list. That list changes IE's handling of 'known' special TLDs. Unfortunately, the Zones registry format has a dependency on TLDs, which means that we must recalculate the registry against this new TLD list. That works fine in the general case, but fails badly when there are thousands of sites in the lists. We're working on this issue."
(Again, no official word on when a fix might be coming. I'd doubt this one will have to wait until IE 9, however.)
I asked Zhu Yan, who runs the LiveSino.Net enthusiast site, what he'd like to see in IE 9. He had a wish list a mile long already, including everything from the aforementioned download manager, to online Favorites service and Windows Live Gallery synchronization. He also said he's wishing for better rendering, more compelling third-party add-ons and integration with Morro (the OneCare security service replacement that Microsoft hasn't said anything about for months).
What are you hoping to see in IE 9?