Microsoft IE9 developer preview with HTML5 support ready for download

Microsoft IE9 developer preview with HTML5 support ready for download

Summary: On March 16, Microsoft is making a first developer preview of Internet Explorer (IE) 9 available for download from www.IETestDrive.com and is discussing its plans for supporting HTML5, CSS3 and SVG2 with the next release of its browser during Day 2 of its Mix 10 conference.

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On March 16, Microsoft is making a first developer preview of Internet Explorer (IE) 9 available for download from www.IETestDrive.com.

The IE 9 Platform Preview doesn't include the IE 9 user interface; instead, it is the plumbing, specifically the new Microsoft JavaScript engine (which is codenamed "Chakra") and the new graphics subsystem, coupled with a home page full of test sites. There's no back button and no built-in security. It's basically the IE 9 rendering engine and early developer tools.

Microsoft officials will show off the IE 9 developer preview and discuss Microsoft's planned support for more of the emerging HTML5, CSS3 and SVG2 standards with that product during the Tuesday morning Mix 10 keynote.

"We love HTML5 so much we actually want it to work," quipped Dean Hachamovitch, the General Manager of the IE team, during a briefing I attended at Microsoft last week about IE 9.

As Microsoft supports more of the HTML5, CSS3 and SVG2 markup, the company expects its ACID3 ratings to go up, officials said. At the Professional Developers Conference in November, Microsoft officials showed a very early build of IE 9, which earned an ACID3 score of 32. The build out today is up to 55, according to company officials.

HTML5 applications are a lot richer and demanding, in terms of graphics and speed than Ajax applications. So it's logical they'll work better on multi-core machines where the browser can take advantage of multicore performance, Microsoft officials argue. That's why Microsoft's new JavaScript engine is built to take advantage of two cores, with the second core compiling JavaScript down to native machine code to help speed up the browser. (Once the native code is available, there's no need to use interpreted code on Core 1, meaning an app spends less time in JavaScript.)

Microsoft is planning to deliver a lot more preview builds of IE 9 before it hits beta. In fact, the team is committing to delivering an update every eight weeks, and to interact with developers via the Microsoft Connect feedback loop. Microsoft officials wouldn't say when to expect the first IE 9 beta or to provide any kind of ship date target for the final release. (I'm still betting Microsoft will deliver the final a few months before Windows 8 ships, in 2011 or so.)

Microsoft's high-level goals for IE 9 include making the browser snappier, maintaining compatibility with Web sites at at least the same level as IE 8 and, ultimately, enabling developers to use the same markup across IE 9 and other non-Microsoft browsers. That last of these three guiding principles is more theoretical and real at this point, but it's interesting Microsoft is thinking this way.

I'll be curious to hear what developers think of the preview once you download it.

Update: Hachamovitch said in a Q&A with press and analysts following the keynote that IE 9 will not support XP. (No big surprise there.) The preview runs on Vista SP2 and higher (which I'd figure will be the operating systems supported once IE 9 ships in final form).

Topics: Browser, Microsoft, Software Development

About

Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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93 comments
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  • Exciting!

    They still have a way to go for 100/100 acid test result... but that's the case is with all other browser vendors.

    Edit: except for opera that hits 100/100
    samunplugged
    • other browser vendors hit 100/100

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acid3#Browsers_that_pass
      surveyork
  • RE: Microsoft IE9 developer preview with HTML5 support ready for download

    Looking good so far!
    Loverock Davidson
    • I happen to agree

      IE 8 was alright, but I don't think I'd use any other browser out there that doesn't have basic navigation tools. Yet here I am, working around that downside. XD I assume the type of people on here are also the type that are going to be doing the same. ^_^;
      Michael Alan Goff
      • Uh... Did you guys read the article FULLY?

        Sheesh..

        "The IE 9 Platform Preview doesn?t include the IE 9 user interface; instead, it is the plumbing, specifically the new Microsoft JavaScript engine (which is codenamed ?Chakra?) and the new graphics subsystem, coupled with a home page full of test sites. There?s no back button and [b][u]no built-in security.[/u][/b] It?s basically the IE 9 rendering engine and early developer tools."

        Do you REALLY wanna go out on the wild and wooly web without security...?

        Deploying this now is something crazy only Mike Cox would do... Geeze.
        Wolfie2K3
        • Unlike you guys

          I don't really go to sites that are a security hazard. If I did, I would go on them with my IE 8. That, of course, means that none of you should be looking up your porn on IE 9 preview. :)

          Back Button? Why would I need that? I can just enter the website address again.
          Michael Alan Goff
          • Er.. You DID get the security advisory today about Drudge

            Seems "good" sites have been serving up malware and such as well..

            Fortunately, this thing seems to be quite limited as to where it can go
            Wolfie2K3
          • Malware?

            Eh? I trust my nice firewall and virus program to take care of those.
            Michael Alan Goff
  • RE: Microsoft IE9 developer preview with HTML5 support ready for download

    I'm a harsh Microsoft critic but after looking at what
    they want to do with the browser... I'm actually excited.
    (Can't believe I just said that!)
    meeyanpeat
  • Fast, SVG, better CSS and HTML5 including video

    The hardware accellerated stuff on
    http://ie.microsoft.com/testdrive/
    is amazing.
    Flying Images demo makes Chrome look slow
    Demo link: http://ie.microsoft.com/testdrive/Performance/01FlyingImages/Default.html

    Also dual HD video trough HTML5 video tag on a netbook in keynote was impressive. Chrome using html5 video tag has troubles rendering singel HD video and does not perform dual video's.
    IE11
    • 48 FPS in FF for Linux

      Is that good? This is an old Dell Optiplex GX280 circa 2005 running OpenSuSe 11.2, 1GB ram, and running Apache, PostGreSQL and Samba.
      davidr69
      • I would say that's pretty good

        n/t
        Michael Alan Goff
      • Yes, but misses the point.

        Yeah that is a good score but the demo they showed at the key note showed a netbook comparison. With a weak CPU it can still achieve a high score and still have CPU cycles to spare. The goal is to show how the IE 9 rendering engine offloads the tasks from the CPU to the GPU.
        mikefarinha
      • FPS irrelevant...

        The FPS count is pretty irrelevant in that test.

        Look at CPU usage.

        Q6600, 4GB RAM, Windows 7:

        IE8 : 3fps, 1 core maxed out
        IE9 : >60fps 1 core running at <20%
        Firefox 3.6 : >60fps, 1 core maxed out, jaggy images and still jerky

        The preview is a real eye opener and Google, Opera, Mozilla and Apple need to be on their toes to remain competitive, at least in terms of animation, rendering speed and processor usage.

        They will need to really look at investing in DirectX and OpenGL support for their rendering engines.

        Firefox managed to complete all of the tests, apart from the falling balls, where they are supposed to fall off the screen, but they remain inside the box, disappearing at the borders...

        But, even though Firefox completed all of the tests, IE9 was noticeably smoother and none of the processor cores even broke a sweat.
        wright_is
      • 50 FPS in IE for XPSP2

        Is that good? This is an old 2003 Gateway 400
        with 512 MB of RAM. no video RAM, SQL Server 2005, low on disc.
        xuniL_z
    • Actually....

      ...I recommend trying tests on Firefox 3.6.

      Since I don't have Vista or 7 at the office, I can't test the demo.

      Kudos for MS for not making the demo available for XP. It seems IE8 will be the last IE to run on XP, and gives users another reason not to upgrade to IE8, as the transition to IE9 will demand moving to Vista or 7.
      cosuna
      • That makes no sense

        Why shouldn't users upgrade to a more secure OS and a more secure browser?
        Michael Alan Goff
        • Sure it does

          One of my daily users is a Win2K box. I'm posting from it right now. With comparable hardware it runs circles around anything newer and it's just as secure. So there's nothing past IE 6 for me (not that I'd use it anyway).
          Jordon
          • No it does not.

            On comparable hardware, win2k is slower and far less secure than even xp, let alone Vista and Win7.
            rtk
          • Huh?

            You're saying that with the same CPU, the same motherboard, the same hard drive, the same video and one gig of RAM, XP, Vista and 7 will out perform W2K?

            I want some of what you're smoking.
            Jordon