IE8 Release Candidate Coming on 1Q 2009

Microsoft's Internet Explorer 8 apparently will have its product debut sometime next year, according to an announcement released on Wednesday by the company. The Web browser is currently available as IE8 Beta 2, and Microsoft hopes to get some more feedback from the public and technical community before finalizing it.

A blog post by Dean Hachamovitch, Microsoft's general manager of Internet Explorer, laid out a time line for IE8's release.

The release candidate (RC) version of IE8 will be available in the "first quarter of 2009," Hachamovitch wrote, marking the end of the beta period.

"We want the technical community of people and organizations interested in web browsers to take this update [the RC version] as a strong signal that IE8 is effectively complete and done," he wrote.

After getting final feedback on the RC version, Microsoft plans to deliver the final product. Hachamovitch didn't provide a specific date. However, the time between RC and product release can be short. In the case of Silverlight, Microsoft's multimedia solution, it took just 17 days to go from RC to product release.

The announcement of the IE8 product time line drew some skeptical comments on Microsoft's IE blog. One reader wrote, "I hope the time between RC and RTM [release to manufacturing] is at LEAST 3 WEEKS so that we have time to sync up with whatever you actually plan to ship."

Another reader asked if all of the internal IE8 fixes were listed on the Microsoft Connect portal. "Kellie" of Microsoft (perhaps Kellie Eickmeyer, IE lead program manager) replied that the bug fixes would be posted "when the RC build is released."

At least three readers complained about testing a buggy Beta 2 version of IE8. They pleaded with Microsoft to release a third beta before the RC. "Please give us a testable beta before a release candidate," one wrote.

Microsoft wants feedback on "critical" matters, which Hachamovitch described as "issues impacting robustness, security, backwards compatibility, or completeness with respect to planned standards work."

The protocol for reporting bugs is described here. To download IE8 Beta 2, go here.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is online news editor, Enterprise Group, at 1105 Media Inc.