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Sunday | April 18, 2021
IE9 Developer Preview

IE9 Developer Preview

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Microsoft have launched a new site to allow developers and geeks alike to test drive the next generation iteration of Internet Explorer.

There are three main components to the update to Internet Explorer 9 from the current version – speed increases in javascript, support for HTML5 and support for open standards such as SVG2.

The new Javascript engine codenamed “Chakra” has had a major overhaul and now runs on the second core of the host system allowing the first core to execute interpreted code at full speed.

“Chakra” is a Sanskrit word and has a mystical meaning for the followers of Hinduism. It looks like Internet Explorer 9, in its current state, has caught up with other browsers for speed, even surpassing the likes of Mozilla Firefox 3.6 according to Microsoft figures (see figure).

GPU acceleration is coming to HTML5, especially in video decoding of H.264 – used by sites like Youtube, which will help with the transition away from proprietary standards such as Flash which has also been given GPU acceleration capabilities in version 10.1 beta currently available for testing from Adobe. However HTML5 may be an open web standard it is worth pointing out that H.264 is also a proprietary standard and one that is not currently supported by Mozilla or Opera.

Better support for open standards is on the cards, for example SVG which is an old standard that really has not taken off, allowing vector graphics for lines and fonts meaning no loss in detail when zooming into text or line diagrams. Anyone who has created a PDF or other desktop publishing document will be at least slightly familiar with SVG. Also better compliance with standards such as COM and CSS3 is promised and in Microsoft’s own tests they scored 55 in using a well known industry benchmark Acid3.

Microsoft promises to post 8 weekly updates to the platform preview – which is still in its infancy. IE9 in its current released form has no address bar or back button and is intended for developers and the morbidly curious.

The platform preview will not work with Windows XP and requires at least Vista SP2 to be installed.

Source: IE9 Test Drive


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Stuart Davidson

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