Meet with Microsoft Applications Practice Team – Internet Explorer 9 Platform Preview 4


Last week, i got an invite to attend a technical briefing up on the Internet Explorer 9 at the local Microsoft Office. When I went there, I saw Harish and Sandeep ready with their slide-decks and demos. After a round of our introductions, the Tech briefing started. The discussion was primarily around the Performance improvements, HTML5 significance, Integrated SVG, WOFF (Open Font Format) and the Hardware Acceleration of the latest version of the Internet Explorer browser.

The Fourth Platform Preview moves the new JavaScript engine, codenamed Chakra, inside IE9 and brings them together into one single, integrated system. Through this deep integration, the performance of real world websites significantly improves, and IE9 becomes the first browser to have a shared DOM between the browser and the script engine based on ECMAScript5. The benefits are both in performance and consistency.

Chakra is the new JScript engine developed by Microsoft for their upcoming Internet Explorer 9 (IE9) web browser. A distinctive feature of the engine is that it compiles scripts on a separate CPU core, parallel to the web browser.

The New JScript Engine - Chakra

The performance benefits of hardware accelerated HTML5 are clear from running different sample sites side by side in IE9 and other browsers. Browsers that implement partial hardware acceleration – for example, text-only, or video-playback only, or image-only acceleration – offer inconsistent and possibly unpredictable platform experiences to developers and end-users. IE9 offers consistent, fully hardware-accelerated text, graphics, and media, both audio and video.

The IE9 Platform Preview 4 also introduces a highly-interactive and integrated SVG. Typically, developers think of SVG as the graphics format for static engineering diagrams and images. With HTML5 and hardware acceleration, SVG is an excellent choice for a new class of interactive, animated scenarios.

If you have not yet tried the Internet Explorer Platform Preview 4 and its demos., do give it a shot here – http://ie.microsoft.com/testdrive/

Few Feedbacks and Questions Raised during the Discussion:

  • When can we expect the Download Manager in the Internet Explorer Browser?No information as of now, as it was more a developer overview. We can expect some news on the User Experience features on Sep 15 (beta launch).
  • Cross Platform – Availability – No plans to make IE browser available for other platforms like Linux and Mac.
  • The Internet Explorer 8.0 Task bar Launch Issue- Scenario: Trigger a download and  close all the IE browser windows, excluding the file Download one. Now when you click on the quick launch button in the task bar, the browser doesn’t launch. You will need to right-click and open a new instance. – Feedback will be sent to the Development Team.
  • Security Enhancements – The In-private browsing experience would be much better and secure. No Concrete words from them.
  • Sand boxing Technique and Tabs, how Process Kill would be handled – The IE Browsing tabs would be more robust, but nothing clear with multiple tabs as of now; because the Platform Preview is just a frame.
  • Significance of the new UA String – Changed with the new version. Read more
  • Extensibility – Would be more developer friendly in coming days.
  • Can we expect the browser to give the same experience on Both PC and Windows Phone? – In the initial releases of Windows Phone.. No! But in the future, Yes. (Thoughts are that, the Windows Phone 7 will run with the IE6 Browser)
  • Extensions and Add-Ons – One of the biggest areas where other browsers is beating IE is with the add-on/extension support and development. There isn’t anything significant from Internet Explorer other than the 3-4 most used Add-Ons. This phase needs to be changed, to make the browser more geeky and user friendly!
  • Strategy for Pushing Internet Explorer 9 in the Market – The initial release will target the consumers; Moving forward the concentration would be to get onto Enterprises and see how it can be used in a corporate environment.

If you have any more questions / Comments to the Internet Explorer Team, do write in the comments here. I shall forward the same to them!

An Event would be conducted on September 15th at San Fransisco where the first public beta of Internet Explorer 9 will be demo’ed and made available. Lets wait for Sept 15th, to know what’s more in Store!

Update: 8th September 2010 – Sandeep Alur did try out some of the tests of the IE9 demos on latest browsers and here are his findings – “FF has improved drastically from the previous versions, but IE 9 still leads the race. Another important element to note is of the fish movements. IE9 is still smooth, while FF has a little bit of a drag. Chrome is lagging big time with massive CPU usage as indicated in the visuals.”

Fish Tank Demo in IE9
Fish Tank Demo in IE9
Fish Tank Demo in Chrome 6
Fish Tank Demo in Chrome 6
Fish Tank Demo in FireFox4
Fish Tank Demo in FireFox4

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