Microsoft made quite a number of changes to the Internet Explorer (IE) 10 browser that is bundled into Windows 8 between the September Developer Preview and the recently-released Consumer Preview/beta.
A quick refresher: Microsoft will offer two IE10 flavors in Windows 8 on x86/x64 devices: A Metro-Style, touch-centric IE10 and a non-Metro-Style Desktop IE10. If you need to run plug-ins, you'll need the Desktop version, since Microsoft has decided not to allow plug-ins in the IE10 Metro-Style browser. On Windows 8 on ARM (WOA) devices, Microsoft is not allowing plug-ins at all with IE10, so there won't be but there still will be an IE Desktop version.
Microsoft execs are attempting to make the case, as this latest blog post makes clear, that the Metro-style version of IE10 has value even if you aren't using it on a touch-enabled PC or tablet.
Here's Microsoft list of some of the IE10 features that changed between the Developer Preview and the Consumer Preview:
- Full, independent composition enables responsive, fast and fluid behavior on real websites (including pages with fixed elements, nested scrolling regions, animations, and video)
- Back and forward swipe navigation with preview
- Double-tap to zoom in on content
- Fast back and forward navigation controls for mouse
- Mouse (CTRL+scroll wheel) and keyboard methods for quickly zooming in and out to mirror touch interactions
- Automatic domain suggestions for faster navigation and less typing
- Share charm support for URLs, snippets, images and selection with Mail and other apps
- Search charm with visual search suggestions
- Devices charm for printing, projecting, and playing video to external devices like TVs
- Plug-in free support: notifications for sites requiring activeX
- Background notifications for pinned sites and other tile improvements
- Jumplists for pinned sites
- InPrivate tabs that are easier to open
- Clean up tabs command, which quickly closes all but current tab
Other browser makers -- Mozilla and Google -- have both said recently they intend to build Metro-Style Windows 8 versions of their respective browsers. (Opera is still mulling the idea, it seems.) But it's not clear what kind of restrictions to which Mozilla and Google may be subject, especially if they attempt to find a creative way to enable plug-ins.
Microsoft published a white paper in late February designed to help third-party vendors wade through the particulars of developing browsers for Windows 8. In that paper, entitled, "Developing a Metro style enabled desktop browser," Microsoft officials explain how browsers are subject to different Microsoft rules and regulations than other kinds of Windows 8 apps.
Speaking of Internet Explorer, Microsoft already is thinking about and even talking about IE11, as noted by Microsoft Group Policy Most Valuable Professional Alan Burchill. Burchill's post is all about using Group Policy to default to IE10 Desktop mode, by the way....