Microsoft courts developers and enterprises with Internet Explorer 11 updates

Microsoft courts developers and enterprises with Internet Explorer 11 updates

Summary: New updates for Internet Explorer 11 are included with the Windows 8.1 Update and will be pushed out to Windows 7 users next week as well. A key change is Enterprise Mode IE, which eases compatibility hassles with old internal web apps. And there's good news on the HTML 5 front.

The new IE Platform Status page offers detailed information on standards support for Microsoft's browser

Almost lost in the flurry of announcements from Microsoft today are some interesting details about updates to Internet Explorer 11.

The Windows 8.1 Update, available for MSDN and TechNet subscribers today and rolling out next week via Windows Update, includes significant changes to the Internet Explorer 11 interface, including making the address bar and tabs visible persistently in the modern (Metro) flavor of IE. The new browser bits also contain improved support for HTML 5 features and (according to Microsoft) better performance. Developers will also find improvements in the F12 debugging tools.

Windows 7 users will also get these IE 11 updates via Windows Update, beginning next week.

One of the most important changes in Internet Explorer 11 won’t be visible immediately after you install or deploy the Windows 8.1 Update. Enterprise Mode IE has to be turned on by an administrator, typically by enabling a Group Policy setting and providing a list of URLs to be handled differently. When Enterprise Mode is on, sites on that list are rendered as if the user were viewing them in Internet Explorer 8.

As the name suggests, Enterprise Mode is mostly intended for use on corporate networks with internal web apps that were developed years ago and choke on modern browsers. Those sites should have fewer problems with this option enabled.

And effective today, Microsoft is also introducing an addition to its website, designed to address concerns from Web developers who are skeptical of the company’s commitment to modern web standards.

The new IE Platform Status page lists current Web technologies and standards and allows curious developers to filter the list and see whether the standard is complete or in progress, and more importantly whether Microsoft is currently supporting the standard, has committed to support, or is still evaluating. The site’s in beta now, with a final release expected in a couple months.

Topics: Enterprise Software, Browser, Cloud

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  • The F12 tools look flashier, less business-like in IE11

    They made them look too much like some weird Chrome version of the dev tools. I liked the traditional Visual Studio style debugger look they had before. Hopefully the improvements are in the look and feel category... other than that, there's not much to improve, they were already pretty good.
    • The changes are functional

      One big one is the ability to tell the debugger to ignore external libraries when you set a breakpoint and are stepping through code. It also saves breakpoints and other debug settings for the next time you use the F12 tools on a page.
      Ed Bott
      • What is Blend?

        While you are looking at these kind of details maybe you can explain the point of Blend. I find myself going back and forth between VS and Blend. They both have there jewels. Each has things the other version cannot do. Why cannot everything be in one place?

        Probably needs a separate article.
    • Looks like Chrome, no kidding ...

      it looks like Chrome, because Microsoft plagiarizes whatever is eating their lunch.
      • Chrome isn't eating their lunch

        So I guess you are a bit off.
  • It's not IE 8

    It's not the IE 8 sites that give us a headache. It's the IE 6 sites, believe it or not. We've got plenty of old in-house apps developed for IE6 security levels that simply don't handle modern browsers. These sites basically have to be sandboxed and sequestered lest we put the company's internal data at risk. Technology moves at such a quick pace these days. IE 6 may seem ancient (and it is over a decade old) but recall that the Y2K bug involved remediating applications that had been written for mainframes back in the late 60's and early 70's, and no doubt some of these apps are still being run (albeit in modified Y2K compliant form).
  • IE Metro unusable.

    I've had windows 8.1 and have never been able to use IE Metro, I just get the big blue "E" on the screen then followed by the desktop version asking me to restore session.

    NO fixes work, I've tried them all so don't bother suggesting any.
    Microsoft support is unable to fix the issue.

    Will this new update get my IE working!
    Kevin Cobley
    • I doubt it, but you can try

      I've never heard that problem from anyone else. If I don't know why it's happening, it's hard to say confidently that anything will fix it.
      Ed Bott
    • Agree with Ed

      I have several devices and types that all run IE 11 just fine. You situation sounds very unique and should be diagnosed as such.
    • Don't want the address bar

      I don't want to see the address bar and tabs unless I'm using them. In fact, I don't really have any wish list for IE11 at all. Presumably you can return to the old behavior (swipe to see the address bar and tabs) with a setting?
      • You have been able to pin the address bar all the time.

        I really don't want it displayed unless needed. Hope its only an additional option.
    • Did it ever work?

      Has it ever worked? Did you upgrade to W8x or was this a clean install? This W8 come with the PC preinstalled? If its worked before at some point then check your restore points and go back to one when it still worked (if it exists). If it worked before but you do not have a restore point to go to then do a factory reset (save your files). If its never worked before and you loaded the system or upgraded then I suspect a video driver issue.
      Rann Xeroxx
  • IE is Toast

    Not using it, developing with it anymore, nor supporting it anymore.

    All Microsoft is doing is playing catch up. Not good enough.
    • IE is a fine browser

      Developers that are refusing to develop for it should be sacked immediately. Unprofessional behavior based upon some strange sentiment or feelings should be left at home.
      • Any developer who develops for a specific browser

        should be fired at once.

        There's no excuse for developing for ANY single browser, not with the level of standards compliance that all browsers (IE11 included) have today, and with great libraries like jQuery which can smooth out any remaining problems.

        Test in IE11? Yep, you'd better. Develop for it? Except as a test bed for preliminary scripts your WinJS app, you better not!
        • I agree - writing for WebKit is pretty much the same as writing for IE6 was

          When I see misbehavior in a site these days, and I take a look at the HTML source, it's just about always because someone is using a WebKit specific feature.

          There is *so* much compatibility between browsers now, people should be targeting the standards, not targeting a browser or family of browsers.
  • Web standards aren't meant to be committed or not committed.

    "whether Microsoft is currently supporting the standard, has committed to support, or is still evaluating"
    LOL, standards (when the spec is at recommended quality) were meant to be implemented by all, not to be evaluated, so Microsoft still doesn't care about the goal of the open web standards and dictates their own rules...?
    • Close minded view

      that is a very close minded view of the way things work. Simply because some group has determined something is or should be standard doesn't mean it should be or supported as such. I could easily establish a consortium that establishes that the standard color of hyperlink should be should all browsers adopt and support that?
    • Every browser dictates their own rules

      Except maybe Mozilla, it seems to be following whatever webkit dictates.
      Michael Alan Goff
    • Did you look at the screen shot?

      If so, you should be a lot more sympathetic to Microsoft. Custom tags, for instance, are a draft with the W3C and decidedly NOT a recommendation. Ditto most of the others.