Microsoft adds HTML 5 Canvas, video support to new IE 9 preview

Those pesky sources were right on the money: Microsoft is making available for download a third developer-focused preview of its IE 9 browser today, June 23, starting at 5 p.m. ET.

Those pesky sources were right on the money: Microsoft is making available for download a third developer-focused preview of its IE 9 browser today, June 23, starting at 5 p.m. ET.

What's new in the latest build -- besides more test sites and test suites? Microsoft has added support for the HTML Canvas tag. That should be welcomed by the many, vociferous commentators on the IE Blog who've harped on Microsoft to support Canvas since it introduced the first preview build in March of this year.

(Canvas enables dynamic, scriptable rendering of 2D shapes and bitmap images.)

There's also now support for the HTML <audio> and <video> tags, as well as overall performance improvements. IE9’s Acid3 score has gone from 68 to 83, between Previews 2 and 3, according to Microsoft.

There have been 2 million downloads of IE9 Platform Preview and 16 million views of the Test Drive site since Microsoft launched these in March, according to company officials.

No word from Microsoft on when the first "real" IE 9 beta will hit or when the final version is slated to be released to the Web. The rumor date for the first IE 9 beta is August, as I blogged earlier today.

My ZDNet colleague Ed Bott is readying lots more -- including his impressions of the third tech preview of IE 9.

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