Microsoft is making available to anyone interested a seventh developer preview build of its Internet Explorer (IE) 9 browser on November 17.
The latest preview build is downloadable as of noon ET today from the IETestDrive site.
The new preview, which follows by just about three weeks the sixth IE developer release, includes new demos, including HTML5 Galactic, Shakespeare's Tag Cloud and an HTML5 Sudoku Solver game. The preview -- unlike the beta release -- does not include the new user interface.
Microsoft officials said that 13 million people have downloaded the IE 9 test builds since the company first made its browser available to testers in March, 2010. (Less than a month ago, that number was 10 million, by the way.)
I am one of those who who has downloaded the IE 9 beta (released in September 2010). I've had mixed feelings and mixed results. I've finally gotten used to the UI changes Microsoft has made (for the most part), but I am not making use of a lot of the new functionality.
Example: I have stopped using site pinning because I have found it too confusing. I am one of those IE users who have lots and lots of tabs open. When I use pinned sites, I lose track of where my open tabs are... are they under this pinned site, or that one? I also don't seem to use many sites that Microsoft and some content producers have optimized to work with IE 9. Instead, I run into a number of sites that don't work quite right with IE 9. (I've been having a heck of a time to get the new Twitter site to work with my IE 9 beta, for example.)
Microsoft officials still are not providing any information as to when the final IE 9 will be released to the Web. A number of us are thinking before mid-2011 is the likely target.
I'm curious to hear from readers who have been using IE 9 test builds. What is/isn't working for you? What do you like and not? I would be happy to see a new beta with the latest UI updates, but ther's no word as to when or if that may be coming....