Microsoft shows off Internet Explorer 10 preview

At MIX11 in Las Vegas, the software maker launched a platform preview of IE10, its next browser, stressing its continued commitment to HTML 5 and web standards
Written by Simon Bisson, Contributor on

Microsoft has introduced the first platform preview of Internet Explorer 10, which continues the software maker's championing of HTML 5.

Internet Explorer chief Dean Hachamovitch

Internet Explorer chief Dean Hachamovitch showed off a platform preview of Internet Explorer 10 (IE10) at the MIX11 conference in Las Vegas. Photo credit: Simon Bisson

The preview, intended to give developers a look at the features in the forthcoming update, was unveiled at Microsoft's MIX11 web design and development conference in Las Vegas on Tuesday. In a presentation, Internet Explorer chief Dean Hachamovitch committed Microsoft to continuing its support for web standards and to working with the web developer community.

"The only native experience of HTML 5 on the web today is on Windows 7 with Internet Explorer 9," Hachamovitch said. "With Internet Explorer 9, websites can take advantage of the power of modern hardware and a modern operating system and deliver experiences that were not possible a year ago. Internet Explorer 10 will push the boundaries of what developers can do on the web even further."

The IE10 platform preview adds support for a range of HTML 5 features, including new CSS 3 functions such as gradients, multi-column support and flexible grids. It also aims to improve JavaScript support with ECMAScript 5, and it includes the new 'strict' option that reduces the risk of code errors affecting site security.

Internet Explorer 10 will push the boundaries of what developers can do on the web even further.
– Dean Hachamovitch, Microsoft

These changes reflect Microsoft's commitment to HTML 5, which makes it easier for developers to create apps that can run across a range of hardware, according to Hachamovitch.

"The web makes progress when developers can take advantage of new technology to build sites that feel and run more like native applications than web pages, across production-quality browsers that use the same markup consistently," he said.

"Many people want a better web; a faster, more powerful, more native, more interoperable web. We want actual progress to that goal," he added.

IE10 release cycle

Hachamovitch indicated that Microsoft will change its release cycle for platform previews with IE10, with builds expected every 12 weeks, rather than the eight weeks seen with IE9.

As for the final version of IE10, Microsoft plans to ship it as part of the Windows 8 operating system release in 2012. Hachamovitch noted that the company is not following the lead of other browser makers, such as Mozilla with Firefox and Google with Chrome, in moving to a faster release cycle.

"What's important is progress over time," he told the audience. "Increased cadences just mean bigger version numbers, and more updates for incomplete software."

Hachamovitch defended Microsoft's choice of developing IE9 for Windows Vista and 7 only, noting that Windows 7 adoption had overtaken Windows XP in many markets.

"Browsers that optimise for more modern operating systems deliver the best experience, and building a new browser for a 10-year-old operating system didn't make sense. Hardware support is not a 'yes/no' checkbox, standards is not a 'yes/no' checkbox," he said.

Windows president Steven Sinofsky joined Hachamovitch to show off the IE10 platform preview. At the end of the demonstration, which pitted IE10 against Chrome 12, Sinofsky revealed that he had been using an ARM build of Windows. It was the second public airing for the operating system since Microsoft announced in January that it was working with the chip designer on the build.

Dean Hachamovitch and Steven Sinofsky

Steven Sinofsky (left) and Dean Hachamovitch shared the stage as they demonstrated IE10 alongside rival browser Chrome 12. Photo credit: Simon Bisson

Also at MIX on Tuesday, Microsoft introduced significant updates to its ASP.NET web development platform, with the release of a new version of ASP.NET MVC (model-view-controller). This adds support for HTML 5 and JQuery 1.5, as well as a new release of Microsoft's Entity Framework that allows code-first development of database applications.

Scott Guthrie, head of the .NET developer platform at Microsoft, told the audience the company is shipping a significant amount of open-source code as part of its web platform, as ASP.NET includes the JQuery and Modernizr JavaScript libraries. He also noted that Microsoft is supporting the development of open-source web tools, such as the Orchard CMS platform.

Guthrie revealed a revamp to Microsoft's Azure cloud service, which gets a new access control service that connects to external identity providers such as Google and Facebook. Other tweaks include updated cache tools; a new set of content delivery features to speed up web applications and media streaming; and support for traffic management tools that provide geographic load balancing.

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