Microsoft is keen on keeping apps built on top of Internet Explorer 8
as a platform as high quality as possible. With the vast majority of add-ons now under the Redmond-based company’s control, as they are third-party built extensions, it’s only up to non-Microsoft developers to ensure that IE8 indeed gets enhanced and not handicapped by any additions. Still, the software giant does provide the necessary guidance and requirements
for third-party devs that are looking to extend IE8.
“We created these guidelines to respond to demand from the developer community and to help share the thinking of the IE team, gathered from years of providing support to users and developers. We strongly recommend that developers follow these guidelines when developing add-ons for IE users. We occasionally come across add-ons that violate these guidelines so egregiously that we treat them as malware; on the other hand, we frequently see really helpful and creative add-ons that put the ‘user in control’ and enhance the browsing experience,” revealed Frank Olivier and Herman Ng
, Internet Explorer Program Management.
According to Microsoft, no less than three critical details make up the core aspects of the guidelines. Add-on developers must never limit the user’s ability to access IE8 features, the level of control over settings, and must only leverage supported application programing interfaces.
“Users require access to the entire set of Internet Explorer features, including but not limited to: the address bar, search box and new tab page to navigate and search the Internet easily and safely. Users expect these features to be available to them at all times and our support data shows that users are confused and unhappy when these features are obscured or changed,” Olivier added.
Controlling IE8’s settings is equivalent to controlling the entire browsing experience. Internet Explorer 8 comes with a range of configuration options, and Microsoft doesn’t want add-ons that cut end users off from configuring the browser in any manner. It is obvious that the first two core aspects of IE8 add-on guidelines are designed to protect users from malicious programs. Fact is that an add-on that takes control over the browser out of the hands of end users can only be malicious in nature.
“Add-ons should only use supported Internet Explorer and Windows application programming interfaces (APIs), detailed on MSDN. Using an unsupported method of extending Internet Explorer or relying on implementation details in a specific version of IE may cause browser stability problems when Internet Explorer is updated. Also, when two add-ons try to use the same unsupported method of extending Internet Explorer they might crash the browser – our APIs are specifically designed to prevent this kind of problem,” Olivier stated. Internet Explorer 8 (IE8) RTW is available for download here (for 32-bit and 64-bit flavors of Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows Server 2003 and Windows Server 2008).