The Developer Channel release, available to Windows 7 Service Pack 1 and Windows 8.1 Update users with IE 11, provides an early look at the features Microsoft expects to provide in the next release of IE.
Here's how Microsoft officials described IE Developer Channel:
"Internet Explorer Developer Channel provides a sneak peek at Internet Explorer as it's being developed. It can run alongside and independently of IE11, and has all of the browser features that you love in IE11, as well as the latest platform features we’re working on."
Other browser vendors, including Google, Mozilla and Opera all offer similar Developer Channel releases.
Microsoft made public its plans around upcoming features on its status.modern.ie site, which shows the status of Microsoft's support for current and evolving Web standards.
DC1 also is a virtualized release, meaning it uses Microsoft's App-V client to run virtually alongside IE 11. Because this may create "a small performance hit," as the FAQ notes, Microsoft doesn't recommend using this release to measure site performance. The FAQ also notes that Microsoft officials haven't yet decided -- or are publicly acknowledging -- whether or not future Developer Channel releases will continue to use App-V client.