Microsoft Previews Internet Explorer 9 at MIX10

Submitted by lalit on March 17, 2010 - 9:04am.

Microsoft previewed Internet Explorer 9 the next version of Internet Explorer web browser at MIX10 in Las Vegas. Microsoft also announced the Internet Explorer 9 Platform Preview for developers, which is simply a preview of the platform subsystems code that is “under the hood” of the browser.

The Platform Preview is designed specifically for developers so that they can get an early sense of some of the changes in the browser including capabilities, performance, and standard support. Internet Explorer 9 Platform Preview is not a full-fledged web browser, but it includes the IE9 Test Drive website that presents a series of tests that allow developers to test the functionality of HTML5, JavaScript, etc. The company highlighted three key aspects performance, standards and interoperability, and GPU powered HTML5 for next version of IE.

Performance, specifically with JavaScript: Microsoft is using a new JavaScript engine in IE9, which is designed to make JavaScript rendering faster in IE. As you can see in the graph below IE’s new JavaScript engine is faster than the shipping version of Firefox on SunSpider benchmark test, but it’s still slower than Opera 10.5, Chrome and Safari.

Standards and interoperability: Microsoft says that it is committed to the ideal of having the same markup (tags, script, and language) work across all the different browsers. With this commitment, HTML5 is at the center of IE9, and IE9 will include extensive support for DOM, CSS3, SVG standards and XHTML.

GPU-powered HTML5: IE9 is the first browser designed to take advantage of GPU for hardware accelerated SVG, enhanced JavaScript performance, and GPU powered HTML5. According to Microsoft, by moving IE9 to the GPU and taking advantage of the latest Direct2D technology in Windows, webpages will load faster, graphics will be improved and users can take advantage of the modern hardware in their Windows PCs while taking fewer resources from their PC. We have added a video below showing the hardware acceleration for graphics on IE9, it’s interesting to see how big a difference GPU acceleration can make.

Microsoft plans to ship IE9 by end of this year and it will be available for Windows 7 and Vista only (no Windows XP support). Beta testing of IE9 will start by summer of 2010.