Platform Preview

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.

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IE9 Platform Preview 2

by Joey deVilla on May 6, 2010

It wasn’t that long ago that an early version of Internet Explorer 9 – we called it Platform Preview 1 – was announced at MIX10 Conference back in mid-March. If you missed it, here’s MIX10’s Day 2 keynote session, in which the Internet Explorer team’s supreme Kahuna, Dean Hachamovitch, made the announcement (it’s the first part of the keynote, so you don’t have to watch or scan through the entire two hours):

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or watch the video in WMV, high-def WMV or MP4 format.

As I wrote back then, IE9 showed a lot of improvements. In addition to the improvements, IE9 came with a commitment made to updating the preview about every eight weeks.

The time has come to announce the release of IE9 Platform Preview 2! The whole story’s over at the latest post to IEBlog, but I thought I’d cover a couple of things I felt were worth noting.

Improved JavaScript Performance

Chart showing JavaScript performance of various browsers

The chart above shows the results of various browsers, including IE9 Platform Preview 2, under WebKit’s Sunspider JavaScript benchmark, version 0.9.1 on a 3.0GHz Dell Optiplex with an Intel Core 2 Duo processor, 4GB RAM and Intel Integrated Video running Windows 7. As you can see, JavaScript performance on Platform Preview 2 is a mere eye-blink away from that of the Esteemed Competition.

If you’d like to run the SunSpider JavaScript benchmark in your default browser right now, click here.

Getting HTML5ier

Acid3 test for Internet Explorer 9 Platform Preview 2 - 68/100

The goal for the final release of IE9 is full HTML5 compliance and “Same Markup” – that is, rendering the same HTML, CSS and JavaScript the same way. The idea is that you, the web developer, shouldn’t have to come up with workaround or hacks to get the same page to display the same way across browsers.

If you’d like to run the Acid3 test in your default browser right now, click here.

Part of that approach is technical: a standards-compliant IE9, and the first platform preview was a step in that direction. Platform Preview 2 add more fixes to HTML, SVG, CSS3 and JavaScript implementations as well as features like CSS3 media queries, DOMContentLoaded, DOM traversal and range, getElementsByClassName, createDOcument and so on.

While the Acid3 test isn’t the holy grail – some of its tests don’t mesh with the HTML5 standard as it is right now, others are still “under construction” – more compliance with HTML5 typically means a higher Acid3 score. IE9 Platform Preview 2 currently scores 68 out of a possible 100, which is an improvement over Platform Preview 1’s score of 55, and leaps and bounds ahead of IE8’s scores for 20.

People Issue #1: Standards

Another part of the “Same Markup” approach is working within the various standards groups defining the web experience. Among other things, we’ve been doing things like:

People Issue #2: Developers

Let me show you a couple of photos from Toronto Code Camp, which took place last Saturday. Here’s Colin Bowern’s session, titled JQuery is Your Friend:

Colin Bowern presenting at Toronto Code Camp to a packed room

That was a fairly packed room, but that ain’t nuthin’ compared to Todd Anglin’s afternoon session, The Rich Standard: Getting Familiar with HTML5, which went beyond “standing room only” and into the “any place I can park myself” zone:

Todd Anglin presenting at Toronto Code Camp to a very packed room

From looking at the crowd – and yes, talking with them, too – it’s quite clear that there’s a lot of hunger for information, tutorials, guidance and general knowledge of HTML5, CSS3 and JavaScript and how to build modern web applications using them.

That’s where I can help, and in all sorts of ways. For starters, there will be a number of HTML5, CSS3 and JavaScript articles, tutorials and pointers on this blog. I’ll also be participating in a number of presentations, workshops and TechDays events to cover HTML5, CSS3 and JavaScript. Keep watching this space for more.

Take IE9 Platform Preview 2 for a Spin!

Windows Internet Explorer 9

You can download Internet Explorer 9 Platform Preview 2 right now. As with Platform Preview 1, it coexists with Internet Explorer 8, and it’s a very thin wrapper around the engine, meaning that it’s really for developer and designer testing rather than general browsing. The UI elements you’d expect in a browser, such as the address bar (you open sites using File –> Open…), nor are the security features such as Protected Mode, SmartScreen filter and XSS scripting filter.

Platform Preview 2 installs right over Platform Preview 1; you don’t have to uninstall Platform Preview 1 before installing Platform Preview 2.

Take it for a spin and send us feedback!

This article also appears in Canadian Developer Connection.

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