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Microsoft Launches Internet Explorer 9 With HTML5 Support

Gordon Kelly


Microsoft Unveils Internet Explorer 9 With HTML5 Support

We first heard about Internet Explorer 9 back in November, and it promised numerous exciting features such as hardware acceleration, HTML5, better CSS support and increased Javascript performance. So what has Microsoft come up with?

Thankfully the Redmond giant has delivered on them all this week with the 'Internet Explorer 9 Platform Preview ' - a pre-beta which aims to drag IE's performance and features up to the standards set by Chrome, Firefox, Safari and Opera.

HTLM5 is the biggest news here, since its absence up to now from what remains by far the World's most used web browser has hindered its take-up by site developers who are most concerned by compatibility. In fact, Nvidia GeForce and Ion GPU business general manger Drew Henry admitted "Internet Explorer 9 enabling GPU-accelerated HTML5 is a milestone for visual computing," adding that it "removes the glass ceiling for Web developers, enabling them to build graphically rich, high-performing Web applications."

Microsoft has been generous in its HTML5 support too since the standard still isn't fully locked down. Consequently numerous specs are covered including CSS3, Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG), XHTML parsing, and the video and audio tags using industry-standard H.264/MPEG4 and MP3/AAC codecs plus others.

On top of this hardware acceleration is something the alpha of Firefox 3.7 touched upon and enables site rendering to be offloaded on the GPU to boost performance. Microsoft admits speed is still behind Webkit based browsers like Chrome and Safari, but it is claimed to be faster than Firefox and considerably quicker than IE8.

On the downside, IE9 still lags a long way behind on Acid3 scores. This is a test page build by the Web Standards Project to see how well a browser complies with Internet programming standards. Chrome, Opera and Safari all passed scoring 100/100 more than 18 months ago while Firefox is in the 90s. By contrast IE9 only manages 55/100 - though that is at least up on the 20/100 scored by IE8 and 14/100 scored by IE7.

Microsoft has released an early developer's build of IE9 which can be downloaded from the link below. Beware though, this is strictly a testing only release and little more than an empty window for navigating the IE9 test site (pictured). There is no URL bar, no bookmarks, etc and a final release will not be for some time yet.

That said, the early promise and ambition of Internet Explorer 9 suggests - like Windows Phone 7 Series - that another of Microsoft's much lampooned products may soon no longer be a laughing stock...


Internet Explorer 9 Test Drive


March 17, 2010, 4:58 am

"Microsoft Launches Internet Explorer 9 With HTML5 Support"

I'm not sure a pre-beta is a launch!

It does look very interesting, HTML5 will be great! Web designers are going to get extremely bored of having to test on so many browsers though, myself included :(


March 17, 2010, 1:32 pm

Still slower than Chrome, Safari and Opera and only a 55/100 ACID3 score? And it won't run on Windows XP due to a lack of Direct2D. Doesn't sound like the older versions of IE will be disappearing from use anytime soon and thus will still be a hindrance to progress for many web developers.


March 17, 2010, 2:56 pm

Acid3 test scoring 55 is not really something they should be proud of considering others have long passed 100. MS marketing team is so lame.

But then Apple was boasting copy/paste functionality on iphone months earlier is something lamer


March 17, 2010, 6:05 pm

@xbrumster; But then Apple was boasting copy/paste functionality on iphone months earlier is something lamer

Wow, an article totally unrelated, and yet someone brings Apple's Iphone into it. ::rolleyes::


March 18, 2010, 8:22 am

I agree with the iPhone comment. I wish consumers had the same demand for quality in software that they do in hardware. When everything is said and done, IE9's marginal improvement is underwhelming.


March 18, 2010, 1:12 pm


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