First of all, it is fair to say, that this article is written by a former Mozilla Firefox user of many years and a current Google Chrome user.
Microsoft is planning to release the beta of Internet Explorer on September 15, 2010. Before the beta arrives, we can see many of the new features in the Internet Explorer Platform Preview.
The most recent Platform 4th was released on august 4.
Since the beginnings of Internet Explorer, it’s had two main problems: support of web standards and poor performance.
The web browser has become more and more complex over the years. This complexity is the reason why these programs need to be optimized at maximum.
When a web server sends site content to a browser it uses a scripting language. This script is the same regardless of if you are using an AMD, Intel or a MAC, or an iPad. This is good for the server because there is no needed for different versions of the same page for every environment but it means the browser needs a way to render the code on your computer. Thus, the browser uses a component that interprets, compiles, and executes the code.
If your computer has more than one CPU core, Internet Explorer 9 can execute this in parallel so this process is completed in a very smooth way.
Better Usage Of Hardware
Browsers are not a very optimized programs with respect to hardware usage.
I’m sure you have experienced that your computer has problems showing some web pages. Sometimes it may be due to your browser was rendering something very complex. The website can be very complex but have your ever thought: how is possible that your computer is capable of rendering a full 3D game but has problems with Internet pages?
The reason for this is that these applications have never taken advantage of the Graphical Processing Unit (GPU.) In other words, they don’t use the acceleration features of your expensive graphic card.
Internet Explorer 9 is going to change that.
Better Web Standards Support
What exactly does this mean?
For a web designer is very frustrating and time-consuming to have to create different versions of your webpages for different browsers.
[Ed note: We were promised better standards adherence in IE8 and things did improve somewhat so I look forward to IE9's take on markup and coding standards.]
Here’s a list of the enhancements made in the current version of Internet Explorer Platform Preview:
Enhanced CSS3 Support
CSS is a language used to describe the look and formating of a web page. CSS specifications are made by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). CSS3 is currently under development but this doesn’t mean that browsers cannot start implementing the standards.
Have you ever noticed that many pages look better in Firefox and Chrome even with the same content? Internet Explorer 8 doesn’t support CSS3 so other browsers are one step ahead on this.
The main improvements right now are:
- Rounded corners via border-radius property.
- CSS3 background and border features.
- The opacity property.
- RGBA, HSL, and HSLA color models.
- CSS3 fonts properties and new web font formats.
- CSS3 media queries.
- CSS3 namespaces.
- CSS3 values and units.
- CSS3 selectors.
ECMAScript feature enhancements
Added HTML5 support
HTML5 is the latest version of HTML; some see HTML 5 as competition to Flash.
For now, Microsoft claims that Internet Explorer 9 Platform has the following HTML 5 features:
- The video and audio elements
- The canvas element
- The Selection interface
- Improved parsing of HTML elements
- Text selection APIs
SVG is yet another another language/markup (I think is impossible to know how many languages and formats are related to browsers.)
You can use SVG for describing two-dimensional vector graphics. The idea behind SVG is very simple: if you use a formula instead of a grid of pixels for describing a graphic then the image is not going to have distortions when you resize it.
This is the same idea that is behind the True Type Technology (fonts that can be used in any size without losing quality.)
Right now the platform has implemented the following SVG features:
- Basic shapes: rectangles, circles, ellipses, lines, polylines, and polygons
- Clipping, masking, and compositing
- Coordinate systems, transforms, and units
- Document structure, metadata, and extensibility functionality
- Gradients and patterns
- Linking and views
- Painting and color
- Paths, including full capabilities of the path element and d attribute
Developer Tools additions
Chrome and Firefox have their own tools that make a web developer’s life easier; Internet Explorer 8 doesn’t have these sort of features; however, Internet Explorer 9 offers the following for developers (in the current Platform Preview):
- Console tab
- Network tab
- UA switcher tool ( You can modify the browser type and version that your browser sends to the web server )
- Real-world performance measurement
This post was created using this information Internet Explorer Platform Preview Guide for Developers.
What’s your take on IE9? Plan to upgrade early? Are you a web developer and hold on to the hope that IE9 won’t break your sites?