Internet Explorer soars new heights with IE9

By Kshitij Sobti | Published on 17 Mar 2010
Internet Explorer soars new heights with IE9

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Finally, those will to bear the brunt of beta can get their hands on a preview of Internet Explorer 9!

Microsoft has released a "Test Drive" preview build of internet Explorer. Be ready to drive without a seatbelt or even a steering wheel though, as this browser preview contains just the engine. The preview browser right now is simple window with no toolbar, no location bar, no tabs either. Heck you cant even go back and forward in History! Still the very fact that Microsoft has released a preview in such an early stage is surely a good sign.

So far all the reports on Internet Explorer 9 has been rather poor, with a mere 32 on the Acid3 tests and JavaScript performance which failed to break any barriers. Now with this preview release Microsoft has shown they are indeed serious about IE. Even so, don't expect this to run Google Wave.

The new build has a great focus on three things, JavaScript performance, HTML5 support, and graphics performance. Touting the new DirectWrite support for rendering graphics, IE9 performs admirably even while manipulating complex graphics on page. The animations and objects render smooth, and the text animations specifically render extremely fine thanks to GPU rendering. Even compared to Firefox and Chrome, IE9 stands out here. Of course, Firefox is working on Direct2D / DirectWrite support of its own, and performed as well as IE9 in these tests when I used GPU enabled builds.

In HTML5 support IE9 touts support for only some of the latest standards, leaving much to be desired. Considering that IE9 is still far from release and once released wont be updated for years, and that it will be the judge of standards to come, this si bad news surely.

Finally, when it comes to JavaScript performance, with its new JavaScript engine 'Chakra' IE9 rips past Firefox 3.6 and 3.7b2! Bad news for Firefox fans, their favorite browser is now slower than IE! Hopefully Firefox won't have to suffer this for long, as they have a few tricks up their sleeve yet.

Overall Internet Explorer 9 is pleasantly surprising, and shows that this browser may still have some life left. As it currently stands Internet Explorer 9 gives a pleasant view of the browser to come, and they are right to focus on the internals instead of adding useless features. Now if only Microsoft could play by standards.

Download the preview build from here.

Kshitij Sobti

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