I was trying to play with notes 8.5 public beta 1. It is really cool. The designer is completely changed. It looks like IDE and it is cool. The design elements are also changed.
This is the design navigator in the designer, the look and field was good. But not sure about how the application looks.
X-Pages is the component that is included in the notes 8.5, XPages are a web-only (at least for now) canvas upon which you can lay out various controls to produce radically new Domino application designs. if you i a google search you can find more about x- pages.
There is an option to view both in IE and in firefox in the Notes 8.5.
Is IBM hitting back with Lotus notes 8 in to the market? Will wait and see ... Hope back with more updates