Internet Explorer

Quick Updates

by Joey deVilla on September 16, 2010

heading home

I’m sitting in the airport lounge in Vancouver, waiting to board my flight back to Toronto. Some quick updates:

  • TechDays Vancouver went very well. Over 800 attendees catching over 60 technical sessions on Microsoft’s platforms, tools and technologies, all taking place in the beautiful West Building of the Vancouver Convention Centre. Thanks to the presenters, staff, and especially the attendees!
  • Successful community events. Rather than have the TechDays venue lie fallow in the evenings, we put it to good use by opening it up for free community events. On Monday, we hosted CloudCamp, a gathering for people interested in cloud computing, and on Tuesday, we held a mini-conference called GoDevMental, which was aimed at students. We’re holding these events in all TechDays cities, so if you live close by, come and see us!
  • Internet Explorer 9 goes beta! Standards-compliant. Hardware accelerated. Clean, minimalist UI. Nifty Windows 7 integration. We’re back in the browser game, people, and we’re playing for keeps. Download the IE9 beta now!
  • Windows Phone 7 Developer Tools go RTM! What happens when you pair a phone with bold new UI and the awesomesauce of Visual Studio? Windows Phone 7, and the developer tools – which include Visual Studio Express for Phone and Expression Blend – have been finalized and are ready for download for free. Download the WP7 Developer tools now!
  • I’ll be at FITC Mobile in Toronto on Friday and Saturday. I’ll be minding the booth at the FITC Mobile conference in Toronto this Friday and Saturday. Come say hi, see the dev tools in action, play with a real Windows Phone and find out what we have in store!

This article also appears in Canadian Developer Connection.


New Internet Explorer 9 Videos

by Joey deVilla on August 9, 2010

Download IE9 Platform Preview 4 now!

If you haven’t tried the latest Platform Preview of Internet Explorer 9, get your hands on it now! This one’s got new goodies like a new SVG engine, the “Chakra” JavaScript engine now integrated into the browser instead of a separate object called via COM, better Acid3 (95/100) and WebKit SunSpider scores.

Channel 9 has posted some videos on this newest version of IE9, and I thought I’d share them here:

A Look at the New IE Test Drive Samples

Get Microsoft Silverlight

This video (2 minutes, 43 seconds in length) shows off some of the new demo apps on the IE Test Drive page that show off the benefits of IE9’s hardware acceleration. Rob Mauceri, Group Program Manager for Internet Explorer, narrates.

Can’t see the video? Download Silverlight or grab the video in MP4, MP3, WMA, WMV, WMV (High) or Zune formats.

A Look at SVG in IE9

Get Microsoft Silverlight

SVG is short for "Scalable Vector Graphics", whose specification is an open standard and supported by all major modern web browsers, including IE9. This video (4 minutes, 36 seconds in length) shows how you can take advantage of SVG and the fact that it’s hardware-accelerated in IE9. Patrick Dengler, Senior Program Manager for Internet Explorer, does the presentation.

Can’t see the video? Download Silverlight or grab the video in MP4, MP3, WMA, WMV, WMV (High) or Zune formats.

IE9 Rocks HTML5 Audio Support

Get Microsoft Silverlight

IE Beatz is a drum machine app written JavaScript, SVG and HTML 5 audio to demonstrate the combined power of HTML 5 and IE9. This video (6 minutes, 4 seconds) features IE Beatz’ creator, Josh Rose of the IE9 team, explaining his creation and showing some of the underlying code.

Can’t see the video? Download Silverlight or grab the video in MP4, MP3, WMA, WMV, WMV (High) or Zune formats.

This article also appears in Canadian Developer Connection.

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Internet Explorer 9, Platform Preview 4

by Joey deVilla on August 7, 2010

I’ve been busy with all sorts of stuff, so I ‘m a little late with an announcement you might have seen elsewhere online: IE9 Platform Preview 4 has been released!

Download IE9 Platform Preview 4 now!

If you want the full story, check out IE General Manager Dean Hachamovitch’s blog entry over at IEBlog, where he goes over the latest platform preview of our browser in detail. I’m just going to give you the major points, such as IE9 PP4’s Acid3 test score:

Screenshot: IE9 PP4's Acid3 test results: 95/100

…plus how IE9 PP4 stacks up against its previous incarnations and browsers built by the Esteemed Competition, according to the WebKit SunSpider JavaScript Benchmark test

Chart: WebKit, SunSpider JavaScript Benchmark Results, showing IE9 PP4 in 4th places, only milliseconds behind Chrome 5. Chrome 6 nightly and Opera 10.6

…and that there are a new batch of demos showing HTML5 compliance, hardware graphics acceleration, JavaScript speed and the really wacky things you can do with IE9 if you use a little imagination, such as a game that melds “Hamster Dance” with Dance Dance Revolution:

Screenshot of "Hamster Dance Revolution" showing a framerate of 41 fps

Go Get IE9 Platform Preview 4, Get Ready for the Beta

Download IE9It’s one thing to talk about the goodies in IE9 PP4, but it’s an entirely different thing to experience them. Take the latest version of IE9 for a test drive – go and download it now!

As you take this version for IE9 for a spin, you might want to start thinking about getting your sites, whether they’re already up or in the works, ready for the next big leap: IE9’s transition from “Platform Preview” to “Beta”. That’s coming soon.

Here are some things to think about, as suggested in IEBlog:

  • Test your site in IE9 Standards Mode.  This mode provides the best performance and interoperability and will offer additional benefits in the IE9 Beta. We suggest using the HTML5 doctype. More details here and here.
  • We recommend sending IE9 the same standards-based markup your site sends other browsers. More details here and here. From the feedback so far, and our experience with sites, the best way to get your site working in IE9 Standards Mode is to start from the same markup other browsers receive rather than IE6, IE7, or IE8 markup.
  • Use feature detection, not browser detection to handle any cross browser differences in behavior or feature support.  This keeps your site working even as browsers change.
  • Please continue to report issues on Connect if your site doesn’t look or work right, and you’re giving it the same code as you’re giving to other modern browsers. With IE9 Platform Preview 4, we’ve fixed over 100 community-reported issues. We will fix even more between now and the IE9 beta and want your feedback.
  • Consider the experience for IE9 Beta users if you find that sending the same markup creates more issues than you can resolve in your production site. It is possible that running your site in Compatibility View is better for your users.
  • Take advantage of HTML5, CSS3, SVG, DOM, ES5, and more… all described here in the developer guide.  We’re excited to run the amazing experiences you bring to the web using these new capabilities, taking advantage of hardware through IE9.

Download IE9 Platform Preview 4 now!

This article also appears in Canadian Developer Connection.


IE’s Big Leap Forward

by Joey deVilla on June 28, 2010

"nine" spelled using the IE logo for the "e"Peter-Paul “ppk” Koch writes in his blog, QuirksBlog (which lives on his site, QuirksMode):

In the past few days I’ve been revising the CSS compatibility table with information about the latest crop of browsers. There’s no doubt about it: this is IE9’s show. It just supports nearly everything. No hassle, no buts.

Microsoft has finally taken the big leap forward we’ve been waiting for ever since they announced their decision to restart IE development back in 2005.

IE9 promises to be an excellent browser. Its CSS support is now at par with that of the other browsers — although each browser still has its specific areas where it performs less. But we cannot in good faith say that IE is behind the others any more.

In the article, he does a run-down of CSS selectors and finds that the upcoming IE9 does an excellent job of supporting them.

Go take IE9 for a spin – download Platform Preview 3 and try it out – and make sure to try your hand at CSS 3 as well!

Download IE9 Platform Preview 3 now!

This article also appears in Canadian Developer Connection.


Internet Explorer 9 Videos on Channel 9

by Joey deVilla on June 27, 2010

nine on 9By now, you’ve probably seen my article covering the new, faster, even more standards-compliant Platform Preview 3 of Internet Explorer 9. From hardware acceleration to a speed-boosted JavaScript engine with support for new ECMAScript 5 language features to support for SVG, <audio>, <video> and <canvas> tags, IE9 is shaping up to be a great browser for an open web.

Before there were Microsoft blogs (such as Canadian Developer Connection), there was Channel 9, Microsoft’s community site run by Microsoft employees. Like Microsoft blogs, Channel 9 gives you unfiltered access to the people building stuff at The Empire, all outside the control of the marketing and PR departments. Channel 9 features a lot of videos – there are times when they post several videos in a day – featuring developer news and training, training kits and courses, discussion forums and wikis for various Microsoft tools and technologies. If you’re a .NET developer or just curious about what’s going on the in the .NET world, you should check out Channel 9 and see what’s happening.

Channel 9 posted a number of videos covering the new features in the third Platform Preview of Internet Explorer 9. I’ve gathered them all into this blog article – enjoy!

A Look at the New IE9 Demos

Get Microsoft Silverlight

Can’t see the video? You can download and install Silverlight or download the video in MP4, MP3, WMA, WMV, WMV (High) or Zune formats.

This video shows some of the sample apps living on the IE Test Drive site in action. It covers the following demos:

<canvas> and FishIE Tank

Get Microsoft Silverlight

Can’t see the video? You can download and install Silverlight or download the video in MP4, MP3, WMA, WMV, WMV (High) or Zune formats.

Here’s a closer look at the FishIE Tank demo and how it makes use of <canvas> to draw up to thousands of animated, moving, scaling fish sprites.

<canvas> and

Get Microsoft Silverlight

Can’t see the video? You can download and install Silverlight or download the video in MP4, MP3, WMA, WMV, WMV (High) or Zune formats.

Another <canvas> demo: Amazon Shelf. This one ties into Amazon’s data to create a virtual bookshelf that lets you browse Amazon’s catalogue of books.

<video> and IMDb Video Panorama

Get Microsoft Silverlight

Can’t see the video? You can download and install Silverlight or download the video in MP4, MP3, WMA, WMV, WMV (High) or Zune formats.

The IE9 team showed a preview of support for the <video> tag, and with Platform Preview 3, you can try it out for yourself. In this video, you see how it’s used to build the IMDb Video Panorama demo.

ECMAScript 5 and the Tile Game

Get Microsoft Silverlight

Can’t see the video? You can download and install Silverlight or download the video in MP4, MP3, WMA, WMV, WMV (High) or Zune formats.

There are lots of boring ways to show of ECMAScript 5’s new array methods in action, but why not show them off with a fun game? In addition to the new JavaScript goodies, the ECMAScript 5 Game demo also shows off:

  • HTML5 <video> and <audio>
  • CSS3 multiple backgrounds
  • HTML5 local storage (first made available in IE8)
  • DOM Level 3 events
  • <window.getComputedStyle()>

Download IE9 Platofmr Preview 3 now!

This article also appears in Canadian Developer Connection.

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IE9’s Hardware-Accelerated Canvas in Action

by Joey deVilla on June 24, 2010

As announced in yesterday’s posting, Platform Preview 3 of Internet Explorer 9 is out, and it’s faster than snakes on ice. Some of the credit goes to “Chakra”, the new JavaScript engine, and some of it goes to IE9’s hardware acceleration, which bypasses the layers of abstraction between your web app and the “metal” (namely, your browser, and then the underlying OS).

Download Squad have posted a video showing IE9 Platform Preview 3 blazing past Chrome 6 in side-by-side sessions of the “FishIE Tank” canvas demo. Even on my “medium performance” machine – a Dell Latitude XT2 tablet whose graphics card gets a 3.2 on the Windows Experience Index – I have to push the fish count to 250 before the frame rate drops below 30 fps. Here’s a screenshot taken from that laptop running FishIE Tank, rendering 250 constantly moving and scaling fish sprites between 22 and 29 fps:

fishIE tanks screen shot

The Mr. Potato Gun canvas test is amusing. You load a reasonable facsimile of a popular toy into a potato gun, pull the trigger and watch the hapless tuber’s components fly all over the screen:

mr potato gun

Here’s a demo featuring a more practical use of canvas: Amazon Shelf, which presents a bookshelf of some of’s current bestsellers:

amazon shelf 1

Click on a book in Amazon Shelf to get a better look at its cover:

amazon shelf 2

Click on that cover and get the publisher’s blurb and customer ratings:

amazon shelf 3

Take IE9 out for a spin! Visit the IE9 Test Drive site, download IE9 Platform Preview 3 and hit some canvas-enabled sites.


This article also appears in Canadian Developer Connection.


"nine" spelled using the IE logo for the "e"

Back in March, when the first platform preview of Internet Explorer 9 was released at the MIX10 conference, the IE9 team promised to release new previews of the browser about every eight weeks. Eight weeks after MIX10, they kept their promise and released Platform Preview 2. It featured improved JavaScript performance and better adherence to HTML5/CSS/JavaScript standards.

A red, green and blue "Pokeball", each with the IE logo on it

Eight weeks has passed since Platform Preview 2, and it’s time for another release. I’m pleased to announce the launch of Internet Explorer 9 Platform Preview 3! Go ahead, download it, and read on to find out what’s in this new Platform Preview.

V8 engine: "Hardware acceleration"

Not so long ago, if you were using an application, chances are that it was a desktop native app running on top of your operating system. These days, the odds are that the apps you’re running are web apps, which run inside your browser, which in turn run on top of your OS. Even if you’re not factoring in network latency, that extra layer of abstraction slows things down. Hardware acceleration is one fix to this problem, and that’s a major focus of Platform Preview 3. IE9 takes advantage of your computer’s GPU to render HTML graphics and text with greater speed.

Rocket-powered 18-wheeler truck: "JavaScript Performance"

When we say “HTML5”, we’re talking about more than just HTML and the associated styling, but JavaScript as well. Luckily, we’re not only speeding up HTML rendering; we’re also cranking up the JavaScript engine, codenamed “Chakra”, which is even faster in this release.

All this work means that IE9’s performance has been improving steadily since it was first shown (but not released) to the audience at the PDC conference in November. Here are the results of the SunSpider JavaScript benchmark for a number of IE9 iterations (and a Firefox thrown in for good measure):

Graph showing the performance of various version of IE9 previews

And here’s a “wider” version of that chart, showing more of the Esteemed Competition’s browsers:

WebKit SunSpider JavaScript Benchmark results, showing IE9 Platform preview 3 placing nicely

This puts IE9’s JavaScript performance within 50 milliseconds of the fastest browsers – that’s the time it takes sound to travel less than a couple dozen paces.

As the IE9 team will tell you, while JavaScript speed is important, many sites spend cycles in a browser’s subsystems that aren’t JavaScript. They’re always benchmarking against more than just the SunSpider test, but against some of the most popular sites on the net, a real-world test of a browser’s performance, and they’re not done optimizing yet.

By the bye, IE9’s JavaScript isn’t just fast, it adheres better to the ECMAScript standard and even implements new features in the 5th edition of the spec, known colloquially as ES5. They include new array and object methods, as well as other language enhancements for working with strings and dates, and the IE Test Drive site has some demos showing them in action.

"Three Keyboard Cats" pardoy of the "Three Wolf Shirt": "Audio and Video"

Speed is just one dimension of browsing – standards is an important one, too! The support for the <audio> and <video> tags we talked about at MIX10 has been baked into Platform Preview 3.

There is one tag that was conspicuous in its absence, leaving a number of cynics, wags and conspiracy theorists to jump to the conclusion that it would never be included in IE9. Well, it’s here…

Vincent Van Gogh: "Canvas!"

That’s right, Platform Preview 3 introduces the <canvas> tag to Internet Explorer. And it’s hardware-accelerated, too!

We’ve got a number of demos on the Test Drive IE site showing off hardware-accelerated <canvas>, including “Asteroid Belt”, shown below:

Screenshot of the IE9 "Asteroid Belt" demo

So how does Platform Preview 3 fare on the Acid3 test suite, the supposed bane of Internet Explorer’s existence? Not too shabby, jumping up to 83 out of a possible 100 (if you recall, Platform Preview 2’s score was 68):

Acid3 test result screen for IE9 Platform Preview 3: 83/100

There’s a lot more in Internet Explorer 9’s Platform Preview 3, but in the spirit of “Show, don’t tell”, I’m sending you to the IE Test Drive site to download it and take it for a spin, and please let us know what you think!

Download IE9 Platform Preview 3 now!

This article also appears in Canadian Developer Connection.