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Internet Explorer 9 - Microsoft Previews

Internet Explorer 9
 At the MIX10 conference in Las Vegas, Microsoft on Tuesday signaled its intent to remain a contender in the Web browser battle by announcing the availability of Internet Explorer 9 Platform Preview. Dean Hachamovitch, general manager of Internet Explorer at Microsoft, characterized Internet Explorer 9 as "the first browser to take standard Web patterns that developers use and run them better on modern PCs through Windows."

By "better," Hachamovitch means that Internet Explorer 9 supports Web standards and is fast. Internet Explorer 9 supports many new elements in HTML5, the evolving next-generation standard for Web pages, including CSS3, Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG), XHTML parsing, and tags for H.264/MPEG4 and MP3/AAC codecs. Mozilla fans will note the absence of Ogg Vorbis and Ogg Theora support.

Internet Explorer 9 also includes support for hardware-acceleration, to hasten the rendering of graphics and text.
"Internet Explorer 9 is the first browser to provide fully hardware-accelerated SVG support," said Hachamovitch in a blog post. "The Internet Explorer 9 developer tools support SVG as well, and we are excited to see what developers build on top of modern hardware with a platform that has great performance and internal consistency."

Internet Explorer 9 features a new JavaScript engine called "Chakra" that puts the preliminary version of Internet Explorer 9 ahead of Mozilla Firefox 3.6 in a WebKit SunSpider JavaScript benchmark test and just behind Apple Safari 4.05, Google Chrome 4 and 5, and Opera 10.5. Perhaps most noteworthy, Internet Explorer 9 performs about six times faster than IE8 on this test.

Internet Explorer 9 scored a 55/100 on the Acid3 test, which evaluates Web page standards compliance. Firefox 3.6 scored 92/100. But Hachamovitch insists Internet Explorer 9's score will improve as it moves toward general release.

Microsoft also committed to contributing to the ongoing development of the jQuery JavaScript Library and to jQuery interoperability with ASP.NET in order to improve the development process for Web applications. And it released SDKs for the Open Data Protocol (OData), a data portability protocol based on HTTP and Atom that facilitates the exchange of data between .NET, Java, PHP, Objective-C, and JavaScript.
For Microsoft, Internet Explorer 9 has to be a hit. The company's overall share of the browser market, which includes Internet Explorer versions 6 through 8, has been declining more or less steadily for years. This has been due to security problems, particularly in IE6 and IE7, and failure to keep pace with the competition.
In February, Microsoft had 61.58% of the global browser market, according to NetApplications, down from about 80% two years ago.

In a blog post last November, when details about Internet Explorer 9 had yet to be released, Asa Dotzler, Mozilla's director of community development, predicted that Microsoft would surprise everyone with the seriousness of its effort to restore its credibility in the browser race.
"Microsoft dug a huge hole when it mostly abandoned IE 6 and the Web from 2001 until 2006," he wrote. "Their early efforts at ramping back up with IE 7 were a big disappointment to most Web developers and while their efforts with IE 8 were much better, they're still at least a full generation behind the modern browsers."


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