Having downloaded both IE8 BETA releases in order to better understand the re-coding necessary on some of our menu systems I was sorely disappointed in both IE8 performance and User Interface.
Since UI is subjective I'll let that piece drop and talk about speed. After Microsoft released the final version of IE we noticed a definite increase in the speed of IE8 vs Firefox 3.0.7. We called around to other developers and they were reporting similar experiences - all purely anecdotal, though. We were happily surprised to see the same conclusion in independent testing by PC World on March 19, 2009 - IE8 really is faster than Firefox!
My work computers were really flying but my older Vista lap top and my wife's office computers were having other issues. When 4 or 5 web pages were opened at the same time in tabs the response was very slow and at times it looked like pages were not loading completely. After looking at five or six "fixes" that didn't work we started looking at the .dll's that were registered (or not) on the computers. Since we had just integrated a third party vendor software that required (shudder) ActiveX components we looked at what was different and hit upon the ActiveX Interface Marshaling Library.
After re-registering the actxprxy.dll (at the command prompt in Windows XP type: regsvr32 actxprxy.dll) the constantly spinning tabs went away. The process is slightly different in Windows Vista where one needs to type cmd in the search box from the start menu and run the cmd.exe as an administrator.
But the real issue with IE8 is the interface. Subjective as the issue is, we will look at browser interfaces in an upcoming post.