Breaking: Internet Explorer 8.1 Eagle Eyes Leaked


Smashing Magazine tries to be at the forefront of new and exciting developments in the wide world of the web. You might have heard that we met with the IE 8 Chief Strategist1 in the past, so it should come as no surprise that we like to keep up with the latest events in the web browser industry.

Even with the successful recent release of Internet Explorer 8, in some underground circles there is already talk going around about the next version of Internet Explorer: IE 8.1, codenamed Eagle Eyes. Loaded with exclusive features such as a new JavaScript engine, support of WebSlices and full web standards support (CSS 3), IE 8.1 is speculated to debut in this summer.

In this article, we take a closer look at the new features of Internet Explorer 8.1, compare it with other browsers and share with you our first-hand experience with the browser. Overall the browser is faster, more flexible, more stable and also more secure and performs already much better than a recently released IE 8. One word sums up our experience with IE 8.1: Eagle Eyes is the browser that Internet Explorer should have brought on the market a long time ago – and now it’s finally here.

New Features and Notable Improvements

User Interface

The user interface of IE 8.1 didn’t change much; just some minor tweaks to make the web browser more in tune with the Microsoft Windows 7 OS theme.

Screenshot of IE 8.1

Improved Security and Web Slices

One of the promising features of IE 8.1 is improvements in security measures and their revolutionary feature: Web Slices. The SmartScreen Filter2 and Cross Site Scripting (XSS) Filter now catches 96% of known Malware and Phishing sites as opposed to the 75% success rate in the current version of IE 8. Web Slices3, the IE 8 feature that lets you keep track of changes to sites that you frequent, is noticeably quicker in letting you know that an update is made.

Web Slices.

Firefox Extensions Support

Eagle Eyes’s most exciting (and highly anticipated by developers) feature is its wide support of Mozilla-based add-ons. Though IE 8.1 duly notes that not all plugins will work perfectly, we have tested four popular Firefox plugins (Firebug, Web Developer, Tab Mix Plus, and No-Script) and they worked flawlessly (some of the developers even claim that – in terms of performance – they work much better under IE 8.1 versus Firefox 3).

Firefox Plugin Support

IE 8.1 performs better against the Acid 3 test

Our test with IE 8.1 shows that it performs very well against the Acid3 Test4, a test that checks how well a web browser follows web standards. Simply put – in relative terms to other modern “web standards” browsers such as Firefox 3 and Safari – IE 8.1 kicks major butt in the Acid3 Test scoring 71 out of 100, passing with flying colors.

Screenshot of how IE 8.1 beat the Acid3 test.

Sure, the Acid3 Test is a big deal. Microsoft is pulling out all the stops with IE 8.1. In our exploration, these are just some of the notable features of Eagle Eyes.

Fast JavaScript Engine

Internet Explorer has always been the leader of executing client-side scripts, but that didn’t stop Microsoft from continuing its thirst for excellence by including a completely new JavaScript engine called JSE, which stands for JavaScript Speedy Engine.

Do not ask about what units or methodology was used. Just trust me.

Microsoft’s Internet Explorer Development Team has teamed up with the Google Chrome Development Team to create JSE in a seemingly grand plan combat Mozilla Firefox’s growing market share. The result: a JavaScript engine that outperforms all modern browsers currently available on the market.

Overall, Internet Explorer 8.1 performs much faster, is more stable and offers users a better user experience. Dramatic speed improvements of the Javascript engine are visible and clearly outperforms other browsers.

Multiple Browser Rendering Engine Options

Apparently, the IE development Team recognized the strengths of the Gecko Layout Engine5 (used in Firefox) and the WebKit rendering engine6. Because of their GNU LPL7 licensed code base, Microsoft was able to legally incorporate a variety of rendering engines for users (and web-developers) to select from.

Browser rendering options.

In our exclusive interview with Mike Chelly, one of the senior developers of the IE development Team, we found out that Internet Explorer’s main priority during the development of the new browser was to make it much easier for developers to code and debug their sites:

Mike Chelly:
One of our primary goals is to give developers an easier way to test and debug how their sites and web apps work in different browsers, from within one browser. [Pauses to answer a call from his iPhone] We know in the past that we’ve gotten a bad rap for IE’s layout engine so we’re making up for this by not only releasing a web browser that outperforms every browser currently out there in terms of web standards support, but also gives you the chance to use another open source browser rendering engine in case you find ours isn’t good enough or if you want to make testing convenient and do it all from within the Eagle Eyes.

Server-side code decompiler

If you’ve ever wished to know how sites and web applications work, Eagle Eyes (the name is fitting in this context) will let you view the server-side source code of a web page. We didn’t explore this feature much, but from basic tests, the server-side code decompiler was able to tell us how the Mixx8 promotional algorithm worked.

Screenshot of a social media site that isnt Digg so should I really bother writing an alt attribute?

Website Skins

IE 8.1 allows you to keep a list of websites that you’d like to re-skin into one of the (currently) ten website templates that IE 8.1 comes with. When you next visit the site, it renders it into a prettier version by switching its stylesheets. This will allow IE 8.1 users to replace the design of an unreadable website to a template that is more viewable. In our test case, we used the Six Revisions9 website.

In its current state, this is what the ordinary Six Revisions website looks like:

Six Revisions screen shot. Such a great site I wonder who runs it.

We selected the “Mozkine” theme and this was the result:

Hey this looks like the theme!

Judging solely on this test case, it shows how useful this feature can be in making the web a prettier place.


Our test run of IE 8.1 shows that the developers of the Internet Explorer team have done a great job improving the browser’s rendering engine. IE 8.1 Eagle Eyes has a lot of potential to quickly become the browser of choice for many web-developers. We weren’t able to find out when exactly Microsoft is going to release the first public beta of the new browser, but some sources from the developer’s team claim that it will happen this summer.

It is safe to say that Internet Explorer 8.1. will be – based on our experience and superior expertise in this matter – dominating the browser market unless other browsers shape up and step up. We are hoping that IE 8.1 will be released soon, as we’ve been dreaming about it for a while now.

*Seriously Steve, was that restraining order necessary? I was only trying to give you a hug. In retrospect, I should’ve not done that naked.


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Jacob Gube is the Founder and Chief Editor of Six Revisions, a web publication for web developers and designers, and the Deputy Editor of Design Instruct, a web magazine for designers and digital artists. He has over seven years of experience as professional web developer and web designer and has written a book on JavaScript.

  1. 1

    It is tomorrow 1 april, not today…

  2. 2

    is it a joke???

  3. 3

    Breaking News: Smashing Magazine April Fools leaked in March

  4. 4

    […] Graph created with MS Excel to showcase Microsoft’s greatness in the software market […]

    That made me laugh.

  5. 5

    “Breaking News: Smashing Magazine April Fools leaked in March”


  6. 6

    Go for it! Where is the download button??
    I want that!

    But hey, wait. I can use my beloved IE6 till that date, cause it is faster in JS than all the others, right???


  7. 7

    I can’t believe that they actually decided to support Firefox extensions in IE! Sounds… weird.

  8. 8

    A day early, guys.

  9. 9

    Breaking News: Google’s V8 Javascript engine is slower than IE 6

    Also, the Acid 3 test is strikingly identical to the Firefox 3.0.x version

  10. 10

    Gutted :( for a second the world seemed rosey again!

  11. 11
  12. 12

    A day early!

    Also, you probably should’ve showed a “100/100″ screenshot instead of “71/100″ when you say it passes the Acid3 test :)

  13. 13

    ….would be nice though

  14. 14

    you got me !!
    I believed in 8.1, I believed in firefox extensions, but I couldn’t get the “browser javascript performance” graph. That was too much, too many mistakes. I started thinking that smashingmagazine sucks, and went down the page to see who did write that crap.

    at second reading… I start laughing out loud.
    My favourite the server side code decompiler ! (and of course the algorithm found).

  15. 15

    Nice, will link it @ work :D

  16. 16

    Smashing Editorial

    March 31, 2009 3:23 am

    @Peter Gasston (#7), @Mike Rundle (#11):

    actually, it is April 1st in Kiribati already (see )Time zones) and since we have readers all across the globe, it sounds quite OK for us to publish the post now. We don’t have that many readers from Kiribati, but it would be unfair to publish it when it’s April 2nd there ;)

  17. 17

    haha fucking awesome! :p

  18. 18

    Tip: read alt and title attributes. :)

  19. 19

    That was funny :)

  20. 20

    I still love my buggy IE 6 loaded with shit :D.

    Nice stuff for the 1st April, I must say :D

  21. 21

    Wow. I really thought I was lacking behind when I saw the graphs.

    You’ve got me. :(

  22. 22


    The whole article tells what Microsoft should do but never will do ;) Good joke :)

  23. 23

    You don’t pass an Acid test unless you perfect it. It’s not a case of doing at least half well.

    Still, I lol’d.

  24. 24

    Would be nice if it were true, but alas ’tis the season for humour :)

  25. 25

    Michael SteelWolf

    March 31, 2009 3:38 am

    That was great!

  26. 26

    you gave urself away when you said Microsoft collaborated with google for their new JS engine… lolz… ya, right…. lolz again

  27. 27

    Darren Azzopardi

    March 31, 2009 3:39 am

    Hook link and sinker…..if it weren’t for the end

    “Jacob Gube is a professional contemporary dancer for the New York City Dance Company.”

    Loved it..would be awesome if it happened :)

  28. 28

    Y’all’re assholes. Ruined my day when I realized it was April 1st.

    Well, it was nice for a short few moments …

  29. 29

    u just gave billgates a heart attack….

  30. 30

    Shame it’s a day early… but very funny! I believed the first couple of bits and was getting quite excited until the Acid test bit…

  31. 31

    Very funny! I love the server-side code decompiler! :D

  32. 32

    fail :)

  33. 33

    The server side code decompiler and algorithm for Mixx made me laugh… preg_match (‘/cats/’…)

  34. 34

    Ahahaha!!! U ROCK!

  35. 35

    damn, I read though half of it, still believing this is true. but the ‘skin option’ completely made me look at the calendar :D

  36. 36

    Five Minute Argument

    March 31, 2009 3:55 am

    You had me at “full web standards support (CSS 3)”. I’ll be amazed if IE (or any other browser, for that matter) *ever* has full CSS 3 support!

  37. 37

    (mike chelly) – “pauses to answer a call on his iPhone”

    nice touch – if the graph had been as subtle we might have fallen for it

  38. 38

    Adrian Giddings

    March 31, 2009 3:56 am

    You utter bastards :)

    Worse than falling for Eric Spiekerman as the new head of Microsoft font development last year.

    ” [Pauses to answer a call from his iPhone]” was a beautiful touch and made me think for a minute.

    Keep up the great work.

  39. 39

    Man, I know you love Microsoft’s IE :P

    Is Internet Explorer turning into a little IE Tester-like browser, now that it supports multiple rendering engines?

    God, what doesn’t Microsoft do to make you use their products.

    Since they’re not capable of creating a good browser (like Mozilla), they’re just implementing other’s engines, in case you like them more than IE’s engine…

    Lame Microsoft, not surprising at all…at least we’ll have a more standard compliant browser to replace IE6/7 in the years to come…

    Wait….now I have to test for Firefox, IE6, 7, 8 (soon 8.1 to add), and Safari? Jesus!
    This will screw my analytics too!!

  40. 40

    You had me fooled until the Javascript performance graph :)

  41. 41

    IE7 doesn’t work very well – but it works a lot better than IE8.0 (scores as low as 12 in Acid3)

    Who cares about “web slices” etc.?

    I wish they would focus on improving the core e.g. HTML and CSS rendering. Actually I wish Microsoft would give up and discontinue all Internet Explorer products!

  42. 42

    ROTFL, I have to admit I read the entire article believing that was a serious one!
    The server side decompiler scared me! :D

  43. 43

    That bar chart on JavaScript performance is completely incorrect… you actually expect us to believe that IE6 is faster at JavaScript than all the other browsers?!?

    In reality, Chrome and Opera are by far the fastest. I’ve seen this from my own testing and I’ve even talked to Microsoft people who admit that IE 8.0’s JavaScript was 10x SLOWER than Chrome in their own tests.

    If you’re going to show charts like that, please state where you got your information. I think that any web developer would tell you that that chart is completely wrong.

  44. 44

    Ha ha ha, this article really makes me laugh….. LOL

  45. 45

    had me for a while. i started to wonder at the firefox extension implementation. buy i just thought it would be awesome. it was the server side script decompiler that made me realise. even microsoft aren’t that stupid?

    sad really, this is how microsoft should make it

  46. 46

    That *might* happen….maybe 10 years later.

  47. 47

    exactly what IE and other browsers needs to do lol

  48. 48

    and how about the png problem ? are tested yet?

  49. 49

    Also, I think Microsoft needs to take this article seriously. Otherwise, no joke, IE is doomed :)

  50. 50

    Got me until the “server side code decompiler.” Suddenly, I realized…

  51. 51

    Matthijn Dijkstra

    March 31, 2009 4:15 am

    Well I wont put much value to those speed charts, it says that it is much faster than Safari, but which version? When you look further, they have the ‘multi-render’ feature so it can render as Firefox 3 and Safari 2! But… then again, we are at Safari 4 at the moment… which has allot of speed improvement.

    Now I have read further, and must say the Server Side decompiler is really awesome, allways wanted to know how SmashingMagazine works behind the scenes ;)

  52. 52
  53. 53

    I love how people add comments thinking this is real. I was believing it even a few minutes after reading the article. I couldn’t wait to tell everyone… but then I realized, why does SmashingMagazine talks about this (SM is an awesome blog for all JS/PHP/CSS and coding stuff) when I think I never saw a post about some “leaked” software. Then I typed in Google “Internet Explorer 8.1″ and no relevant links were found except this one :P

    You got me :P

  54. 54

    Man, you fooled me good. I was looking at the server side decompiler and asking myself: How the f%^& could they claim to do that? It has to be bogus.. Nice one, as always.

  55. 55

    Dam, you got me good I had eaten it all up then scrolled down and like… wat? April fools… :(

    Damm you.. ><

  56. 56

    I can’t decide what makes me laugh more. The article or the comments of the people who actually believed this is true.

    @Dave: Yes, the bar chart on JavaScript performance is completely incorrect ;-)

  57. 57

    IE & Improvement !!!!

  58. 58

    You blew it at the “full web standards support (CSS 3)”. “Firefox extensions support” was just icing on the cake ;)

  59. 59

    I always get a laugh how during April Fools day on the Internet, everyone seems to clamber over each other to be the first to post a comment showing that they were smart enough to tell it was a joke… :)

  60. 60

    @Rob: Haha! You know, that’s actually funnier than the poor ignorant people who have no idea it’s a joke at all.

  61. 61

    Looks very promising… you got me! …Egg and my face were in complete alignment

  62. 62

    Roshan Bhattarai

    March 31, 2009 4:25 am

    LOLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL……………I like the way you celebrated the april fool day…..but it’s just March 31st here dude…I was really shocked by the server side decompiling feature at first glance…

  63. 63

    When your post date comes up as March 31st seems slightly stupid to argue Kiribati. If the date was April 1 then would be funnier.

  64. 64

    Well let us see if these are all true…..
    and I’m in luv with firefox so don’t know whether I’ll dwnload IE 8.1 after its release.

  65. 65

    Excellent post, had me interested until the code decompiler and I thought WTF! and then – bugger date check – thanks for that but really MS should take some of these as hints how to actually make a browser people do want….

  66. 66

    Alexander Baldwin

    March 31, 2009 4:42 am

    Okay okay. I was all for this, but CSS3 support?! Come on, we all know that’s never going to happen!

  67. 67

    Wow, this seems to be the release where MS will FINALLY join the ranks…

  68. 68

    You had me until the Acid test. Microsoft, actually supporting SVG? Never happen.

    Good one!

  69. 69

    Nice, giggity :D

  70. 70

    And i thought it was actually too good to be true!!!

  71. 71

    Praveen Vijayan

    March 31, 2009 4:48 am

    WOW!! f***king awesome joke!!! a day early – wish a day ie will equipped with all this features ;)

  72. 72

    Ha ha I thought it was real until I read the comments….you SM guys simply rock at everything you do.

  73. 73

    The Monkey Pirate

    March 31, 2009 4:53 am

    Happy April foo… wait. Not yet.

  74. 74

    Firrst half of the post I was interested, second half of the post I felt DUMB due to the interest I had in the first part! LOL


  75. 75

    Firebug for IE?! Would be a dream!

  76. 76

    Simao Belchior de Castro

    March 31, 2009 5:02 am

    April fools day is tomorrow. Changing the day makes it just a plain lie.

    If you can’t fool people properly in the proper day, just don’t.

  77. 77

    LOL, Thank you, you just made my morning.

  78. 78

    You almost got me. Wondering what Microsoft thinks about this post.

  79. 79

    Happy April Fools! :P

  80. 80

    server side decompiler…. of course ;-)

  81. 81

    It sounds to good to be true…oh wait…it is!

    Good one!

  82. 82

    Even though it’s a day earlier, it’s still make a good jokes. IE could never archive any of those features :D.

  83. 83

    Wow! :D

  84. 84

    one of the best joke about IE ;) great post! wonderful, Jacob!

  85. 85

    probably it will be the best joke in the web this April,.. will see :)

  86. 86

    at first i thought .. wtf? then i saw the acid3 test and .. noway :D heh

  87. 87

    Santosh Puthran

    March 31, 2009 5:22 am

    It looks like a April fool joke.

  88. 88

    Maybe…just maybe this will happen. I will wait and see about that one. Who knows, Microsoft might have finally got their heads out of their rear-ends for a change. :)


  89. 89

    I was going to make some huffy, elitist remark and then I remembered what tomorrow (for me) is. Successful troll is successful. :D

  90. 90

    i was kind of confused as i read the first 3-4 paragraphs and took a look at the date…. not april. 1st? .. wtf?

  91. 91

    Microsoft needs to hire you guys to head product development. If they ever built such a beast, I’d probably use it.

    Come to think of it, why the heck hasn’t Mozilla created an extension to allow you to swap WebKit for Gecko? Wouldn’t it be sweet to combine IETab with a “WebKitTab” and be able to test all rendering engines from one browser? Or did they make that and I just missed it?

  92. 92

    You totally got me.

    I had completely forgot that we were so near the 1st April. :o

    Though, it would be awesome if there where any browser out there that would be a “Developers browser”.

  93. 93

    The server-side decompiler blew it. Everybody knows that is impossible :P

  94. 94

    I am bedazzled, just a bit more now and I am willing to convert from open source technologies to anything Microsoft throws at me.

    Unless of course (didn’t read the whole article) Microsoft is actually offering this as open source as well.

    Cheers for best tech April 1st in years..

  95. 95

    It will let you view server side scripting… -> that was priceless. And I love how the code it was showing is PHP. I was saying to myself… “Oh $h!+ !!!” How can that be good!?

  96. 96

    “Wikipedia entry on the layout engine that IE 8.1 pwns hardcore.”


    Great job!

  97. 97

    I felt fluffy inside there for a minute :(
    you got me he he he :) Nice!

  98. 98

    lol! this is definitely april fools post!!!!!!!
    good article though !! :-)

  99. 99

    Nearly choked on my bread laughing… :D Nice one.

  100. 100

    …UH!!…too nice to be real!!

  101. 101

    If only it was true :o(….. I am so very sad now, it all looked so promising… boohoo


  102. 102

    Microsoft should take note and make these changes. Does anyone have a mailing list for Microsoft developers. I am sure most of the email addresses end in

  103. 103

    @Creamy CSS: Thanks! :)

  104. 104

    Website skins? Come on guys… That is more than lame. Based on how IE works I can imagine how using skins will ruin everything for you.

  105. 105

    Dude, I was like “HOLY SHIT!”, and then I saw the server-side script deal, which is impossible – not that Microsoft making a good browser is possible either – and I was very disappointed :)

  106. 106

    HA HA HA HA!!!!!!!! IE 8.1 FTW!!!! Nice one, Smashing!

  107. 107

    It would have been worthy to talk about compatibility mode in this post. I think for most web developers making the transition to supporting IE8 this is required knowledge.

  108. 108

    ha ha, thats excellent… almost had me until the part about plugins :)

  109. 109

    Whahahahahaha, I can’t believe this is true story! if (this== true){ i am gonna eat IE6 raw }

  110. 110

    Client-side server code decompiler… no shit ? it’s wild west on the web :) or is it like fifth dimension ?

  111. 111

    Firefox addon support would be a killer feature really.

  112. 112

    Dammit, got me. I thought I’d died and gone to heaven when I read Firebug would work on it.

    *Cue cartman voice*
    “I hate you guys!”

  113. 113

    Yeah you got me up to the firefox plugins :)

    I think that’s because i wanted good css support so badly …

  114. 114

    Thanks for wasting my time reading the first half of this crap. Real professional, guys. This was not funny or even believable, since the second section was support for Firefox extensions — yeah, right.

  115. 115

    Haha, great April Fools’ joke, also love it that the JS chart states “Graph created with Microsoft Excel to show it’s software greatness” :P

  116. 116

    sounds interesting!

  117. 117

    I love how people do not read the whole thing. You had me until the graph. Also, I have to say that the timing is actually brilliant, since it’s close enough to April 1st that it can be a joke without it actually being on April 1st and therefore obvious.

    Good job, Jacob.

  118. 118

    I knew something was up when you said “full CSS3 support”. WAY too good to be true for IE.

  119. 119

    you got me! =]

  120. 120

    LOL LOL and LOL
    heyyyy how much are you paid for, smashing????
    by the time ie can do all these things listed, other browsers will be able to support 3D simulation browsing already…….. hahahahaha

  121. 121
  122. 122

    lol nice. You actually had me for a while. I was even believing the FF addon support. But the “server-side code decompiler” is where I started lol’ing.

  123. 123

    Nice one guys.. the 8.1 on the Browser Version picture was a weak photoshop. ;)

  124. 124

    Die IE! DIE!!! +)

  125. 125


    Yeah, that’s the one that really convinced me as well.

  126. 126

    Clicked as soon as I read ‘web standards support’ really ;)

    In reality, what I’d like from a non-aprils-fooled IE 8.1 would be for it not to be rubbish. However, recent history (4, 5, 5.5, 6, 7, 8.. uh… actually most all of ‘em) dictates that I will probably be disappointed. Are my standards too high, or IEs too low? :)

  127. 127

    Cynthia Clinton

    March 31, 2009 7:03 am

    You guys suck! I was all happy that IE was going to offer the skins and the firefox extension capability. lol

  128. 128

    this post made me believe just for 2 minutes that the IE is still a … pretty good browser ;
    that was just before i realized that today is 31st march

    the IE sucks

  129. 129

    I think the joke is on you SM for forgetting that there is 31 days in March.

  130. 130

    Got me. I’m still shaking!

  131. 131

    My favourite is the Windows 7 theme

  132. 132

    Firefox rules..

  133. 133

    MS making something useful? Hah! Nice Acid test, looks uncannily similar to my FireFox screenshot. The day IE becomes a useful browser will be the day the world comes to an end.

  134. 134

    This news is FAKE because all these features are already present in IE8.0.

  135. 135

    Ha ha! Good one. This fooled my boss, he actually believed it to be true!

  136. 136

    The sad part of this joke is that we’re so used by now to MS releasing poorly designed software that we’d actually be surprised by a decent IE browser.

  137. 137

    Got me too.

    The only thing that was weird is that it was not a new version. If it was IE 9.0, that would be even easier to believe.
    What I hope now is that MS developers will see this page and will question themselves about what everyone wants concerning a navigator. They should look at the poll too.

  138. 138

    ROTFL!!! Too excellent! Congrats!

  139. 139

    Server-side code decompiler? How should this work? Magic? :D
    Good one, but where do you live? New Zealand? The Blog’s date is still the 31st.

  140. 140

    April’s fools people!!!! LOL

    sure i’ll absolutely going to download it!

  141. 141

    Lol, I love the tiny text under the graph :)

  142. 142

    You fooled me so badly lol…..

    Server-side decomplier :P

  143. 143

    haha, nice. i like the Server-side code decompiler.

  144. 144

    I got stuck on the server side de-compiling which would present HUGE risks for security reasons.

  145. 145

    haha damn it, had me going there.

  146. 146

    God I hate this website

  147. 147

    Christopher Mena

    March 31, 2009 8:07 am

    I freaked out at the style sheets option… GOOD ONE SMASHING! You guys rock.

  148. 148

    if they copy soo much from firefox or google chrome maybe they should start using the actual code from chrome or firefox and contribute back to the community

  149. 149

    the “Server-side code decompiler”, is not something like, wow, i can see the passwords to databases to many many sites of rookies developers who put them in php scripts?, it’s that a good idea?, i think it’s stupid, thank you microsoft for another one, and, if their os it’s bad fixed and too much expensive, how can i wait something good for this?

  150. 150

    Haha you guys had me going for a minute, the Firefox extensions thing is impossible though, and the source code view thing gives it away.

    1) Firefox extensions are built on top of Firefox’s framework. Even just porting a Firefox extension to another XUL-based application is hard work. Making extensions work on IE would be impossible, especially something like Tab Mix Plus, which majorly changes how the Firefox tab bar works and is very dependent on… well, the underlying tab bar being the Firefox one. Even small changes to Firefox will break extensions that use the features that were changed (hence why addons are disabled when you upgrade until they are patched).

    2) There is no standard way to query a website for its PHP or ASP source code. The website must specifically choose to make a method available for download of its source, and for the most part many websites will not because they are “closed source” (, for example, would never do it anymore than they would release the source for Windows).

    3) IE6 and 7 score very poorly on JavaScript benchmarks. Although it is believable MS would skew their own benchmarks. The tiny text is good and I completely missed it.

    4) IE would not let you use a competitor’s engine inside their own browser unless they completely switch to Webkit or whatever (I think there were legit rumors they planned to chuck Trident and do this in the future). There would also be licensing issues considering Gecko and Webkit are under some form of open source licences.

    5) Website skins would not work since every website author will code their site differently. With an ideal design where HTML is used to store content and CSS for styling, multiple styles can be provided BY THE WEBSITE. However styling can be embedded in pages as legacy HTML tags (IE font tags) and HTML tables can be heavily used/abused to fix layouts. These would be impossible to adjust with a universal restyling engine. Even with an ideal page such an engine would have to be able to dynamically figure out what on the page is a header, what is content, etc. Failure rates would be high.

    Right now Stylish is an extension for Firefox which can be used to change the look of webpages, but they are written to change INDIVIDUAL pages or sites, and are written for the specific page or site.

    Not to mention MS wouldn’t include a Mozilla styling. :P

  151. 151

    @ Mark: lol, I didn’t even notice that the first time around.

    You had me jumping with glee, until I realized that a server-side code decompiler would reveal all my site’s secrets to hackers. Then wait… this is too good to be true.

    Although, it’s not April Fool’s….

  152. 152

    Actually I still hate Microsoft for releasing IE6.
    But if they are able to take down IE6 to an acceptable limit (5% or less) I’m going to love them for their great newcome with IE8 and, of course, Windows 7.
    Of course I’ve several doubts about the security of IE8 but I hope Microsoft learned of its mistakes.

  153. 153

    damn, got me hook line and sinker.

  154. 154

    I think the comments from the people who thought this was serious are just an entertaining as the article itself.

  155. 155

    We hate explorer…

  156. 156

    You know, the start of it was actually looking promising, particularly as I use IE8 as my primary browser, and as part of web development. It really would have helped re-establish IE as a good browser.

    Very bad call >:(

  157. 157

    Very good Jacob, Nice writing… Even for sometime i also think it all was real… but it isn’t… it’s so good to be true… anyway nice effort.

    DKumar M.

  158. 158

    alt=”Do not ask about what units or methodology was used. Just trust me.”

    alt=”Screenshot of a social media site that isnt Digg so should I really bother writing an alt attribute?”


  159. 159

    April Mob… hehe

  160. 160

    If it aint April 1, it’s not an april fools it’s just lame?

  161. 161

    MICROSOFT IS DEAD TO ME! All their products are an absolute nightmare. One thing that makes me laugh, is that office 08 is actually so much easier to use on a MAC than on windows. How the hell did they screw that up!

  162. 162

    “Fast JavaScript Engine” that title made me realize.

    what a joke, is smashing magazine an aussie website ? :p

  163. 163

    Thomas Thomassen

    March 31, 2009 9:03 am

    A bit quick on the posting trigger there aren’t we? 1st April isn’t here yet.

  164. 164

    It took me an embarrassingly long time to catch on

  165. 165

    I’m not sure how 71/100 on ACID3 “kicks major butt,” other than relative improvement to its own past versions. I’ve seen Safari 3.2.1 score 74/100 (with “LINKTEST FAILED”) and others mention 75/100. I’ve also seen Firefox 3.0.7 score 71/100 with no failure messages.

  166. 166

    LOL! i really felt ashamed for being so behind with all this news :P although the poll made it seem like some sort of an unusual thing, I still fell for it.

    that was good.

  167. 167

    I think the best part of this is all the people saying, “Hey, this isn’t April Fools yet!” just because it’s not April Fools where they are.

    Uh, Internet? Time zones? Global access?

    Narcissist, much?

    The timing made this whole thing especially brilliant….

  168. 168

    Ha, Server-side code decompiler. Now that would be scary.

  169. 169

    Good work, guys! :)))

  170. 170

    @Israel you’re telling me!

    I didn’t realize till this was a fake till I read the ss decompiler lol. I thought it was strange IE6 outperformed chrome & safari with its javascript engine.

    good one Smashing.

  171. 171

    Everything, from a technical point of view, is feasible, except Server Side Decompiler… It was a really good joke until that.

  172. 172

    I need a copy now so I can make all the websites I visit prettier with the new Website Skins feature!

  173. 173

    What about support for SVG and the Canvas tag? ;) April Fools!

  174. 174

    Man, that had me going too, especially when seeing the server-side decompiler… I had loud security alarm bells going off in my head… Then I began to wonder how that would even be possible… Then the website skins part…Then I started reconsidering my career choices… Then I looked at the calendar and saw the comments. Good one!

  175. 175

    You don’t need Eagle Eyes to spot this is a wind-up. Good one though :-)

  176. 176

    Server side decompiler… yeah right… I’d like one like the reflector so I can decompile it in ASP.NET (C#) and not PHP :))))))))

  177. 177

    I’ll never download IE, so also not Eagel Eye.

    If IE becomes the only webbrowser in the world, I’ll cut my internet connection with a knife.

  178. 178

    uh.. im not too sure all the info in this article is correct. Its almost the opposite of what i’ve read previously..

  179. 179

    damn you guys, I was genuinely excited that IE might actually not suck. Alas, I was wrong.

  180. 180

    OMG: it’s already available as the Ubuntu package ms-internet-explorer8!

  181. 181

    Hey dudes… Stop whining. It’s already April in some countries. Oh wait… you’re right. There’s absolutely nothing outside the States.

  182. 182

    Haha, funny. What gave it away was the non-rounded corners for the navigation in the first smashingmagazine screenshot yet you went onto say it supported CSS3! Nearly had me!

  183. 183

    Yeah, ok. I laughed out loud (briefly) and then was kinda angry and disappointed. I was (ignorance is bliss) getting seriously excited with the prospect of those (albeit impossible to implement) features.
    Seriously though, I would be almost as happy if I never had to think about, or deal with IE 6 ever, ever, ever again.

  184. 184

    Heh, Over 100 comments since I saw this, Loved the bit with the decompiler, I think we probably all wanted this review to be kind of true considering the previous versions of IE have been somewhat lacking ;)

  185. 185

    haha :D i beleved it at first but the “Server-side code decompiler”? lol!

  186. 186

    Would’ve been more convincing if you hadn’t used MS Sans Serif for the fake text in your screenshots, when the other text is Tahoma.

  187. 187

    @Daniel, the same here: It all seemed possible until the “server-side decompiler”. And the code decompiled is so lame, it gives all away :P

  188. 188

    lol excellent

  189. 189

    Hahah this was very funny indeed :)

  190. 190

    LOL. You got me; up until the Javascript engine. Sounded too fake, numbers did not make sense.

  191. 191

    damn, you had me going there lol good one!

  192. 192

    I analyzed your Firefoxaddonsupportpicture with JPEGSnoop:
    *** Searching Compression Signatures ***

    Signature: 01C26040DB5181BA3B5CD7A813FAD209
    Signature (Rotated): 01C26040DB5181BA3B5CD7A813FAD209
    File Offset: 0 bytes
    Chroma subsampling: 1×1
    EXIF Make/Model: NONE
    EXIF Makernotes: NONE
    EXIF Software: NONE

    Searching Compression Signatures: (3327 built-in, 0 user(*) )

    EXIF.Make / Software EXIF.Model Quality Subsamp Match?
    ————————- ———————————– —————- ————–
    SW :[Adobe Photoshop ] [Save For Web 060]

    NOTE: Photoshop IRB detected
    Based on the analysis of compression characteristics and EXIF metadata:

    ASSESSMENT: Class 1 – Image is processed/edited

    Good Joke


  193. 193

    March Fools Day – for those who just can’t wait the extra 12 hours.

  194. 194

    Hahaha, server side decompiler rofl

  195. 195

    Thomas Thomassen

    March 31, 2009 1:54 pm

    @Peter Gasston (#7), @Mike Rundle (#11):
    actually, it is April 1st in Kiribati already (see Link []) and since we have readers all across the globe, it sounds quite OK for us to publish the post now. We don’t have that many readers from Kiribati, but it would be unfair to publish it when it’s April 2nd there ;)

    Still… the post date is 31. March.

  196. 196

    And with this news, I’m blocking ALL IE users from my site. Why? Because Microsoft just doesn’t get it. You do NOT catch up by spitting out product after product of JUNK that serves no purpose but to rip off what other people have already perfected. They need to just give up on the browser wars. They’ve lost. It’s OVER. IE is a miserable failure, and always will be.

  197. 197

    Server-side code decompiler is unnerving, our code is our IP will this work for localhost and remote sites? this could be a security nightmare.

  198. 198

    I guess the most amusing thing about the article, is the Acid3 claim. Midori browser already gets 100 of 100 on the test. Though, it should be noted, the test is supposed to load and render SMOOTHLY. Midori and any other browser that has ever achieved 100 pauses momentarily before completing the test. Yeah, 100 of 100, but not perfectly smoothly. Oh well, nothing’s perfect. Midori is close enough, for the time being.

  199. 199

    @Hackerandy: You had to do all of that to determine that this is a joke? :)

  200. 200

    Hold on just a big fat minute.

    You compare a PRE-beta IE8.1 with the current version of Safari in the ACID3 test? Why not compare it to Safari 4, available to anyone & everyone at Apple’s web site? It scores a perfect 100 on ACID3.

    Also, Microsoft should be comparing its IE betas to Safari 4 in their speed tests. Safari 4 will blow it’s doors off.

    C’mon people, try to be fair.

  201. 201

    Oh, 1 more thing. That post above, about Midori and any other browser that passes ACID3 not being smooth. You obviously haven’t tried it with Safari 4. Smooth as glass.

  202. 202

    I switched to FF some years ago, since IE6 was really terrible. Now I’ve been using IE8 for 2 weeks…and I’m loving it!

    I’m not going back to FF anymore….

  203. 203

    DAMN YOU for getting my hopes up.

  204. 204

    haha, i read this in my rss reader first and there were no pictures there… I was really sold, and confused, until I actually visited the site.

  205. 205

    I read the first bit and sent a link to my mates. Then read the rest. Bugger. Well done, very good :)

  206. 206

    The Frosty @ WPCult

    March 31, 2009 2:55 pm


  207. 207

    ok nice one guys, you had me going for a while!

  208. 208

    “One word sums up our experience with IE 8.1: Eagle Eyes is the browser that Internet Explorer should have brought on the market a long time ago – and now it’s finally here.”

    What word?

  209. 209

    A day early for me, but great one, nonetheless. Good April Fools jokes are getting rarer by the year, this one included. :D

  210. 210

    lost me with the server side script edit feature…
    course I forgot about april 1…
    the feature is of course impossible…

  211. 211

    This image title: title=”Wikipedia entry on code that Microsoft is allowed to steal.”

    refers to this piece of text:

    …Microsoft was able to legally incorporate a variety of rendering engines for users (and web-developers) to select from.

    :D :D XD

  212. 212

    Hah, alarms went off on the Javascript Engine (More of a backwards graph) …then the Plug-Ins were suspicious… then the Server-Side Decompiler gave it away. :D Great post.

  213. 213

    I can think (at least hope) that MS goes with another rendering engine in the future, but version 8.1 that is supposed to be out in the summer having such major changes? Not kosher in my book. I might have accepted version 9 out 2 years from now with some early build, new UI, etc. What really gave away the joke (as I read through it) was this line:

    “Internet Explorer has always been the leader of executing client-side scripts”

    Leader in Javascript? Don’t make me chuckle.

    Seriously. Don’t.

  214. 214

    April Fools :)

    I totally fell for this. I knew it was too good to be true.

  215. 215

    Happy April fool’s day!

  216. 216

    It is april 1st here in New Zealand, in fact its almost over

  217. 217

    Damn you had me fooled! I guess i still hate IE just as much as before ;)

  218. 218

    @Oliver and @dc: Using IE6 huh? Now, what other dumb shit have you guys done lately?

  219. 219

    ahaha you totaly fooled me, but it stop with the server-side decompilator… come on, who could believe this? lol

  220. 220

    Server-side code decompiler!? LOL. April Fools! :)

  221. 221


  222. 222

    I dont know but what I am really waiting is that people don’t use ie6 / ie7 anymore…

  223. 223

    Server-side code decompiler… Nice one!

  224. 224

    :) April fools of the WWW 2009 by SM. Thanks for these all. This article really make fun for every SM readers. Thanks men.

  225. 225

    I sensed sketchiness when you mentioned FF plugins working in IE. Increased sketchiness when I got to the JS performance. I absolutely knew you were full of it when you said it had a server-side decomiper, which is, of course, impossible. VERY good article. Almost got me. :)

  226. 226

    If your going to publish an April Fool’s joke, at least make sure that the date of the article is “April 1st” not “March 31″.

  227. 227

    I’m almost believed this, until I saw Firebug and Mozilla add-ons :)

  228. 228

    You got me on that one!!

  229. 229

    This is funny. Microsoft wished…
    Server-side code decompiler, Really????!!! LOL

  230. 230

    Very nice write up on what every one wishes they could have. I mean what better, a server side code decompiler AND Firebug! If only it were true.

  231. 231

    FYI: the latest Safari passes all acid3 tests.

  232. 232

    I can’t believe I read the whole thing!

  233. 233

    - firefox extentions
    – viewing server side code
    – skinning via a python script
    I dream of such a browser every day you r*tten b*ast*rds :(

  234. 234

    Not a day early for all of us on the other side of the world don’t forget! Not everyone is behind in the times so to speak ;-) Awesome prank.

  235. 235

    Fast JavaScript Engine and Server-side code decompiler are funnier and I could not stop from laughing. I burst into laugh with that reading.

    Good post for a Fool’s day.

  236. 236


  237. 237

    You’re a day early. FAIL.

  238. 238

    Good one… hahahah!

  239. 239

    Can see server-side code?my God…nice joke…LOL

  240. 240

    lol, that’s cool!

  241. 241

    Hahahaha – You made so much effort. Microsoft would be stupid not to use those infos for their new version. For the moment I stick to my Firefox. But I almost fell for it. Well done. Made my day.

  242. 242

    Thanks for allowing us to dream of a perfect browser world for a second ;)
    Nice try and have a good April 1st :p

  243. 243

    there are too many (‘s on the “decompiled” script ;P

  244. 244

    Nikolaus Rademacher

    March 31, 2009 11:36 pm

    Will there be a mac version too? :D

  245. 245

    When i looked at the first image, i know it is fake.
    Please compare ur IE8(the number ‘8’) in the About…


    Happy April fool!

  246. 246

    Sorry, but you missed some key features. I have been in close interaction with the Eagle Eye team.. In fact I was a team member who was thrown out when I was caught surfing for lolcats at work.

    So in revenge, I am going to leak some secret info.

    1. Every time you visit a webpage that insults george bush, the republican party will get a secret memo about it.
    2. attempting to subscribe to iTunes on IE8 will fail repeatedly
    3. Searching on Google will yield results from msn .0345 per cent of the time (which will increase the hits MSN is getting twentyfold).
    4. every time you start the browser, Bill Gates will give a penny to a poor african child (so get cracking!)

  247. 247

    Linux version coming right up :))))))))

  248. 248

    This is awesome seriously. It had me till the server-code decompiler. My jaws nearly dropped. Then I re-read it, and decided it was simply too good to be true.

    You got me, Smashing. xD

  249. 249

    Federico Capoano

    April 1, 2009 12:50 am

    you got me… it would have been such a beautiful news

  250. 250

    mindblowing folks :-) lol

  251. 251

    Nobian Princess

    April 1, 2009 1:54 am

    Coooooome ooooon ….. u got me :-D
    It was a sweet dream why did u wake me up ppl :-))))

  252. 252

    Do’h! when i read it for the first time I was crying as I could not believe it! but I did… haha, nice joke
    I hope it would be true :_(

    Nice 1st april day!!

  253. 253

    Im missing what was popular last year

    Click for nostalgia’s sake

  254. 254

    Haven’t seen such a good effort for fooling for a while :)

    My Favorite : Server Side Code Decompiler — Haha – Only possible in the hereafter.

  255. 255

    Very good very good. Firebug was the one that got me thinking! HA!

  256. 256

    “[Pauses to answer a call from his iPhone] ”

    Classic! :)

  257. 257

    Wow, lots of stupid americans, posting at 11am 31 March, not realising that its 1 Apil in several places

  258. 258

    what the hell so funny in those 1 in april posts?!!?

    i fucking thought it is true and now i now its not.
    and!? what funny in that!?

  259. 259

    For all those people claiming that SM released the April fools a day early, remember the are other people in the world who live in time zones before yours, so SM did release it on April fools, just not your April fools.

  260. 260


    …ok, you got me.

  261. 261

    Manoel B H Carvalho

    April 1, 2009 3:43 am

    Well, you forgot to mention that ie 8.1 will run on wine for unix-like systems. :P

  262. 262

    I read this yesterday, and I seriously started to cry :P
    71/100 on acid3 lol

    Great joke!

  263. 263

    The Graph was a killer ! And server-side code decompiler was awesome news, I guess I don’t have tow work any more as a PHP programmer :D

  264. 264

    Happy April Fools! :P

  265. 265

    sorin frumuseanu

    April 1, 2009 4:08 am

    Firefox Extensions Support for IE :))
    Any update?

  266. 266

    Best IE joke of the year

  267. 267

    Patrick Britton

    April 1, 2009 4:18 am

    If you would have said it allows developers to easily design websites for it without pulling out your hair THAT would have been the perfect April fool’s joke.

  268. 268

    What fake .. Php is server side, so everything would have to change on the Internet.: P

  269. 269

    Oh man! I so fell for it! You shoulda seen my face…. XD

  270. 270

    You had me all the way up to:

    “Fast JavaScript Engine

    Internet Explorer has always been the leader of executing client-side scripts, but that didn’t stop Microsoft from continuing its thirst for excellence by including a completely new JavaScript engine called JSE, which stands for JavaScript Speedy Engine.”

    Waaay too obvious.

  271. 271

    It’s photoshopped.

  272. 272

    Too little too late?

    IE8 has only just been released, perhaps they should have added these updates as one final release, so now we gotta code to IE7, IE8 and IE 8.1


    “Microshaft, too little, too late.”

    “I’m a PC, and I crash every day”

  273. 273

    Cant be a April Fools BTW people since it was posted yesterday not today, so if it is, epic fail by smashing :)

  274. 274

    Eliezer Moreno Mtz.

    April 1, 2009 5:48 am

    Happy April fools!

    Here in México we celebrate at 28 Dec, but anytime is a good time for a joke ;)

  275. 275


    April 1, 2009 7:03 am

    Gosh, I knew Microsoft just needed time and confidence! Nice to have them on board!
    BTW, anyone knows when this IE 8.1 will be available?

  276. 276

    LOL, great one guys !

    You brought each feature slowly one after the other to really build that up. You got me at first. But it sounded to good to be true.

    It’s just impossible for microflop to come up with such upgrade of their browser. I mean, you simply need to remember that it took them IE7 to support png transparency. There would be no way so many great feature appears in IE8.

    As a web designer, i started to dream for a very short while. It almost seems that most web developer/designer nightmares just disappeared while reading this article.

    @smashingmagazine: may bill listen to you!

  277. 277

    Sounds good. I just formatted my hard drive so I can install 8.1 as cleanly as possible. Thanks for the heads up.

  278. 278

    Weird, my IE8 says 20/100 and not 71/100 and with that, linktest failed!

    I gotta laugh on that Javascript chart… That make my day nicer. IE sucks as usual and to say that IE is faster than FF or Safari is equal like that I say my 98 years old Grammy knows how to develop better browser than complete Microsoft.

    Khm… They add “Multiple Browser Rendering Engine Options” because of something good or because they know that IE sucks and that where a good idea to not loose the rest of IE users? :) I think 2nd opinion is more correct lol.

    And about that add-ons, that’s just lame. They don’t have their own so they added feature to import from firefox. Lame one lol.

    But yea… Go Go MS. You are better :) Still, weak and buggy and not compatible with a lot of things BUT!… better :D

  279. 279

    Acid 3… LOL!

  280. 280

    Most excellent ruse.

  281. 281

    Absolutely the best April joke I’ve ever heard! :D:D:D
    You fooled a lot of big news portals with this post :D

  282. 282

    Mauro De Giorgi

    April 1, 2009 10:07 am

    Very funny!!!! lol

  283. 283

    It’s sooooo funny how people thought this was real! lol!

  284. 284

    Funny thing is, I tried to download the new IE8 about a week ago. It wouldn’t let me download it because my IE7 is broken (maybe that’s why I wanted IE8). Long story short, I was gonna give MS a chance, but they won’t give me a chance to give them a chance. Oh well.

  285. 285

    cant wait to get my hands on the server side decompiler feature! awesome.

  286. 286

    I bet the survey at the end was to see how many suckas read this article.
    “I vote yes, absolutely” :)

  287. 287

    I made the mistake of skimming down and only reading first paragraph about Moz extensions and CSS3 support, I was so exited thinking about all the free time I would have on my hands not having to debug all over again for that POS! Damnit.. You got me..
    *note to self: actually read articles..*

  288. 288

    This really got me, I was like oh God bye bye Firefox, bye bye Opera, bye bye Safari.

    You really hit the nail on the head of the “dream browser”. If Microsoft did something this epic, and it was a clean release, I would have no hangups in forgiving them for IE7 and down.

    Seriously, I was fearful for firefox. luls

  289. 289

    good prank …..
    It is like

    Vishnu Agarwal

  290. 290

    I skipped straight to the ACID 3 results, got excited, then saw the JS performance graph underneath and told myself “Happy April Fools Day”.

  291. 291

    Haha great one :)

    Server-side code decompiler, come on now!?

  292. 292
  293. 293

    LOL I cant believe I actually fell for it ….
    I searched on google about it and everything…..
    I wasnt interested in IE 8.1 until I read the “Source code viewer” , I said to myself HOLY SHIT !! that cant be true ! I so want IE 8.1

    but then after reading comment by Smashing Magazine Author , I realized it is an April fool Joke :p
    Nice one btw..

    PHP Mysql Tutorials [How to download IE 8.1] :p

  294. 294

    FUCK you assholes.

  295. 295
  296. 296

    This is about the lamest ‘April fools’ post ever.

  297. 297


  298. 298

    I bought it, hook, line and sinker.

  299. 299

    hahaha! i was reading this the other day going wtf… doh!

  300. 300

    For a moment the world looked happy and joyfull…
    And then I snapped back to reality.

  301. 301

    I was getting excited about actually using ie 8.1 it seemed too good to be true

  302. 302

    IE 8 is offering a lot of tools to play with, I might say It beats firefox, chrome, safari.
    Really good job from Microsoft.

  303. 303

    Ha ha, excellent, very good work. This is the best 1 April Joke I ever seen. Very good Work.
    Well find.

  304. 304

    IE naaaaaaaaaa ihate ie

  305. 305

    Fakest article ever! April 1 already??

  306. 306

    You would have had me going, but I found it from a page of April Fools jokes

  307. 307

    Great afford.


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