[LINK] Internet Explorer 9

stephen at melbpc.org.au stephen at melbpc.org.au
Fri Feb 11 20:31:51 AEDT 2011

Release Candidate IE9 was posted today ..

Five things that excite me about developing for Internet Explorer 9

By Robert Johnson | Published February 10, 2011, 8:49 PM

I gave up on Internet Explorer way back at IE7. As a user interface 
developer, the CSS and JavaScript workarounds created way too much 
unnecessary work. 

So I turned my attention to the next best thing at that time, which was 
FireFox. It was the most standards-compliant browser on the market at 
that time. Its plugins (e.g., FireBug) made my work easier and much more 

So as I spent more time with it as a developer guess what happened? I 
also became a regular user.

The IE9 Release Candidate, which Microsoft posted today, may change all 
that again. 

IE9 is the first Microsoft browser in years that has me excited about UI 
development. Finally, I can see a future void of the many CSS hacks 
necessary to get a page to play nice with IE. There are five features in 
this release candidate I am excited about as a UI developer.

Five Things

1. CSS 3. CSS 3 comes with loads of new features that will help make web-
based apps feel and function more like desktop based apps. From a pure 
visual perspective, rounded corners comes to IE for the first time. At 
this time Safari 5 and IE9 are the only ones to implement it without 
special browser markup.

2. HTML5. With IE9 more developers can jump on the HTML5 bandwagon. 
Including myself. Support for canvas and video will go a long way towards 
making online video a ton easier to develop.

3. Hardware Acceleration. This one is huge. Not only does it bring with 
it significant speed increase, but it also results in fantastic looking 
graphics and text. No UI designer wants to design a great-looking site 
only to have it look terrible to most of the people who will see it. I'm 
a huge fan of TypeKit, and IE9 does an awesome job of displaying type 
from this service. In my opinion type looks better on the Mac, but most 
people don't view the web on Macs. Most are on Windows PCs. And when it 
comes to IE9 vs. Chrome or Firefox, my sites (and hopefully yours too) 
look way better in IE9. Not only that, they load faster.

4. Jump Lists. I am particularly excited about this one. With IE9 sites 
can be saved onto the toolbar and launched just like any other 
application. With Windows 7 any icon on the toolbar has a jump list. IE9 
allows developers to customize the jump list. For instance, if you run a 
sports site, you can store different sports categories in the list so 
that when a user clicks the NCAA Football link it will take them to that 
page. This feature is definitely blurring the line between desktop and 
web-based applications.

5. Developer! Developer! Developer Tools! I never really cared much for 
the developer tools in IE. In IE9 improvements were made and I think 
these tools are a lot easier to use now than before. While they won't 
convert me from FireBug, I have to give Microsoft some credit here: the 
new Networking and CSS tab enhancements are welcome. The CSS tab 
organizes CSS files a lot nicer and will make debugging CSS issues a lot 

The new network profiler is another welcomed addition to the developer 
tools. The summary view will tell you the original URL requested, all 
resources requested by HTML and CSS, and all requests made through 
JavaScript. I no longer have to download add-ons when I need to quickly 
find out what's slowing my UI down.

Final Thoughts

I love the new IE9 and it will become one of the browsers I use on a 
regular basis. I definitely will start taking Internet Explorer more 
seriously from a developer perspective. The tools are nice. The hardware 
acceleration and CSS 3/HTML 5 compliancy were a long time coming.

But there is one thing that really concerns me as a developer: updates. 

Microsoft usually has taken a long time to develop new versions of 
Internet Explorer, while Chrome is updated on a more frequent cadence 
sometimes adding new support for CSS 3 or HTML 5. I hope that Microsoft 
does not intend to wait another 2 years to update IE. If it does, we will 
probably find ourselves back where we started: where every browser 
supports modern standards, except for IE.

Robert Johnson is a user interface developer specializing in the user 
experience (UX) of .NET-based web applications. He is a Betanews reader.


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