Features for Developers


In response to increasingly complex user interface (UI) on the Web, the Web Accessibility Initiative group has defined a roadmap for Accesible Rich Internet Applications (ARIA), which introduces ways for Web site authors to define how custom UI elements are accessed. ARIA defines a set of HTML attributes that correspond to common UI controls. As a result, users with disabilities can access Web sites with a rich interaction model. By exposing ARIA through the Microsoft Active Accessibility API in Windows® Internet Explorer® 8, assistive technologies that already use Active Accessibility can also support ARIA.

ActiveX improvements

Internet Explorer 8 offers greater control over who can install Microsoft® ActiveX® controls, and on which sites they are allowed to run.

Per-site ActiveX

Nearly half of all ActiveX controls meant to run on only one site do not use any form of site-locking technology. This means that many controls are not secure by default and could be misused by malicious Web sites. To prevent this, Internet Explorer 8 permits users to decide whether to allow ActiveX controls to run on a site-by-site basis.

Non-administrator installation

Standard users (those without administrator privileges) can install ActiveX controls to their user profiles without a User Account Control prompt or administrator involvement of any kind. If a user does install a malicious ActiveX control, only the user profile is affected; the system itself is not compromised.

AJAX enhancements

Asynchronous JavaScript and XML (AJAX) is changing the way Web applications are built. Internet Explorer 8 brings new functionality to the XMLHttpRequest object that enables AJAX applications.

CSS compliance

Internet Explorer 8 is the most CSS-compliant release yet.

Protected Mode cookies

Protected Mode restricts file writes to low-integrity locations, including cookies. In Internet Explorer 8, medium-integrity applications can access low-integrity cookies without user interaction.