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Microsoft Reveals First Internet Explorer 9 Details

Gordon Kelly


Microsoft Reveals First Internet Explorer 9 Details

A double dose of Microsoft today as the Redmond giant has now come forward with the first details of Internet Explorer 9...

Speaking at its Professional Developers Conference (PDC), the company details plans which ranged from the blindingly obvious to really rather ambitious with the main highlights being:

  • Hardware Acceleration - the most exciting news is that IE9 will tap into DirectX hardware to use the power of the GPU to assist the CPU. The result is said to be much faster overall rendering performance, especially with AJAX

  • HTML 5 - An obvious, but hugely necessary one. Speaks for itself.

  • Better CSS support - Ditto

  • JavaScript - will be apparently boosted to a par with Firefox and Chrome, a loose statement given those two browsers are not remotely equal in their performance (though they do both spank IE8)
On the downside Acid3 scores still seem hugely lacking with the internal IE9 beta claimed to have scored 32/100 compared to 24/100 on IE8. By comparison, Opera and Chrome both achieve 100/100 on this web standards compatibility test while Firefox 3.6 beta manages 92/100. Must do better.

Perhaps worryingly Microsoft was unable to put a timeframe on IE9, even for beta testing. Given its market share is down to 64 per cent as of September 2009 (from over 90 per cent a few years back), coders might want to hurry the hell up...


via ComputerWorld

Current Browser Market Share


November 19, 2009, 5:12 am

If I were you guys I wouldn't even bother reporting any IE developments. The less the world knows the better.

I actually sent back a Netgear GS724AT switch because it wouldn't work with any browser other than IE6/7 with the MSXML 6.0 service pack. I use Firefox and Safari (on both PC and Mac) though I do have IE8 buried in my start menu somewhere too, but the sooner the corporates and the web professionals all realise that even supporting an EIGHT year old browser like IE6 means they're prolonging it's life, the better and they wouldn't have to fend off issues like Chrome Frame. Until Microsoft swallow their pride and implement WebKit instead of the godawful Spyglass they use in IE then there's no news here afaic.


November 19, 2009, 6:45 am

"JavaScript - will be apparently boosted to a par with Firefox and Chrome, a loose statement given those two browsers are not remotely equal in their performance"

could you elaborate ?


November 19, 2009, 12:50 pm


I do think it's worth reporting IE developments. Lets face it, most businesses use it, many of us TR readers work in I.T. and have to support IE so I'd like to read more about IE9.

Robert Elliot

November 19, 2009, 2:20 pm

If it helps kill IE6 & 7, more power to its elbow. And if it means that at some point in the future we can do cross-browser rounded corners without needing to introduce superfluous markup, so much the better! Roll on widespread css3 support.

Hamish Campbell

November 19, 2009, 2:44 pm

I think its quite an achievement to get such a low acid3 test score. Reckon Chrome and Firefox guys would struggle to make a working browser that did so badly.


November 19, 2009, 2:54 pm


Backing up what Steve says here. I work as an IFA. Quite a few of the major adviser websites I have to use for my job only work properly on IE. Crazy really, but there you are. I use FF for everything else though!


November 19, 2009, 6:25 pm

I just realised the other day that I can't do without Chrome. I dabbled with Opera for a while and liked it a lot, then tried Chrome out and wasnt too sure... but going back to opera now :S... I just can't. I love Chrome's address bar and new tab screen and the way it remembers stuff.

The only aggravation I was having which led me to retry Opera (10 this time) was that Chrome gets temperamental with Flash sometimes and it takes an age to close if I have a lot of windows open. But then I left Opera10 open over night and it was taking up over 700MBs of RAM the next day...

Anyway, long story short: Chrome used to be my preferred browser for netbooks. Now it's just my preferred browser period!


November 19, 2009, 6:48 pm

Good to see MS taking yet another miniscule baby step towards standards compliance. That said, even the supposedly more compliant browsers have funny little quirks. I came across one the other day with a javascript lightbox over at http://www.loafinglist.com/... (click map to see what I mean)

I wanted a map in a lightbox centred with CSS fixed positioning, so it would stay centred even if the window was scrolled. No problem - "position: fixed; left: 50%; top: 50%; margin-left: -300px; margin-top: -200px; width: 600px; height: 400px". Job done. On FF and IE7 it worked like a charm. I had to fudge it using relative positioning and a CSS expression in IE5.5 / 6 (because they don't understand fixed positioning). But in the Webkit browsers (Chrome, Safari) it broke - the lightbox stays put but the map scrolls out of the lightbox. Very irritating. I couldn't work out a fix yet, so Webkit browsers currently are stuck with absolute positioning. You can see the effect I'm talking about by launching the lightbox map on a Webkit browser and running this scriptlet from the address bar:


Now scrolling the window causes the bizarre overlap artifact I mentioned.


November 19, 2009, 9:02 pm

Microsoft must struggle to make a modern software and stay in 1999. No thoughts about 2009, will reach this year after 50 years or so.

Always beads and mirrors for the natives. Win7.....Explorer9.......baah....


November 20, 2009, 10:10 am

@John McLean:

Have a look at jQuery and the jQuery tools here: http://flowplayer.org/tools... for the overlay and this jQuery plugin for Google Maps: http://plugins.jquery.com/p...

jQuery is one of the most popular and well supported AJAX API's and will take a lot of the fuss you have with AJAX out of development.

@Steve and Bluepork

The problem is that the IT suppliers like the adviser sites Bluepork stares at every day don't support other browsers because their corporate clients only use IE, while at the same time the corporates continue to use IE because the apps they use are IE-only. It's a vicious circle.

There are 3 ways to solve the problem:

1. Corporates demand their suppliers create standards-compliant web apps (because they realise that maintaining XP desktops past the time Microsoft obsolete the OS will cost a little too much and that you can't run IE6 only apps in Windows 7)

2. Vendors support all browsers - B2C vendors do, B2B vendors don't because they haven't got the requirements to do so

3. There is a legal precedent set from a non-compliant site being busted under the Disabilities Discrimination Act for not being accessible (accessibility and standards compliance are pretty much the same thing), which much to the RNIB's chagrin, corporates are ignoring.

Don't get me wrong, 8 years ago IE was a brilliant browser. I made a site for Microsoft in 1999 for an IE5 site and one of the IE developers said to me "I never knew IE could do that". The very fact it's being used nearly a decade later is testament to how good it was, but a decade in IT is an epoch. The world has moved on since then.


November 20, 2009, 8:22 pm

@Mr. Horizontal - thanks for the pointers. I'm already using jQuery extensively on http://www.loafinglist.com and in other projects. A fantastic framework not just for AJAX but for general javascripting. It keeps code minimal and manageable while offering a great deal of flexibility. Also, because it is widely used it also sits in a lot of browser caches already, speeding up page loads and reducing site bandwidth load. This is especially true if, like me, you load jQ from googlecode.

I hadn't come across the jQ Google Maps extension before, but will take a look. I guess I hadn't really looked for it before because Google Maps integration is so trivially straightforward anyway. But I do plan to implement additional features (looking up nearby items using an AJAX call and displaying them on the map as additional markers, for example) and anything that can simplify this and keep code count to a minimum will be welcome.

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