Internet Explorer 9 Platform Preview 6 Announced Today

imageToday marked the launch of PDC 2010, a two-day Professional Developers Conference held at Microsoft’s corporate headquarters in Redmond, Washington.

At PDC 2010, Dean Hachamovitch, general manager for the Internet Explorer team announced availability of the sixth platform preview for Internet Explorer 9.

In September, Microsoft released a beta version of Internet Explorer 9, and today’s platform preview builds on the underlying platform that powers Internet Explorer 9.

New in this release are CSS3 2D Transforms, HTML5 Semantic Elements, and improvements to the overall developer experience.

Today’s release is targeted at developers and is not an update of Internet Explorer 9 for end-users. Microsoft has said that the next public Internet Explorer 9 release will be the release candidate but have not given a release date.

To download the Platform Preview, visit http://www.ietestdrive.com.

Internet Explorer 9 – Review

On September 15th, Microsoft released the Windows Internet Explorer 9 beta at an event in San Francisco.

I’ve been using the beta for a while now and I can say that I’m impressed. Microsoft has made numerous improvements and it really shows through in this release.

The top features in Internet Explorer 9 are Hardware-accelerated HTML5, support for modern web standards, deep integration with Windows 7, and a new UI that emphasizes browsing over browser.

Internet Explorer 9 moves rendering of text and graphics from the CPU (processor), to the GPU (graphics card). What this means is that graphics will appear richer, text will appear clearer and crisper, and video will play smoother. I’ve included a screenshot example below to illustrate the difference between the new DirectWrite rendering engine and the GDI rendering engine that is used in older versions of Internet Explorer, as well as Internet Explorer 9’s Compatibility Mode. (The top screenshot is rendering with DirectWrite and the bottom is rendering with GDI.)

IE9-DirectWriteIE9-GDI

Internet Explorer 9 includes support now for HTML5, the next major revision to the HTML web standard. Features in HTML5 include direct embed support of video and audio, offline storage, enabling websites to become web applications, and drag and drop. Some of these new features work best with hardware acceleration, and Microsoft is taking hardware acceleration to a whole new level with Internet Explorer 9. Because Internet Explorer 9 uses APIs like Direct2D and DirectWrite, HTML5 websites feel less like websites and more like applications.

In the Internet Explorer 9 Product Guide that Microsoft published, they use the phrase “Your websites shine.” I completely agree with this statement. Because of the new user interface introduced with IE9, websites truly shine. IE 9 is, dare I say, one sexy browser. The browser has been simplified by combining the address box and the search box into what Microsoft calls “OneBox”, easier and clearer notifications, and hiding the unnecessary menu items. By simplifying the user interface, the focus is off of the browser and on the website.

IE9-UX

If you’re a Windows 7 user, there is now more to love about Internet Explorer 9. With Internet Explorer 9 you can pin websites to the taskbar for easy access. Pinned websites open in their own browser windows and the browser and navigational controls integrate the site’s icon and primary color, improving the browsing experience.

IE9-PinnedSite

Internet Explorer 9 includes Jump List support for Pinned Sites and makes it very easy to access areas of different websites that the website creator wants to expose.

IE9-JumpList

Other features include tearable tabs, meaning that tabs can be moved to other windows or torn off and separated on their own, a download manager (finally!), and improved overall performance.

I am thoroughly impressed with Internet Explorer 9. The new user interface, hardware accelerated HTML5, and personal favorite, the integrated download manager. In my opinion Microsoft has done it right. Sure, other browsers have had download management and simplified user interfaces for a while now, but Internet Explorer 9 takes it up to the next level. If I was giving it a rating based on stars I’d say 5 out of 5.

If you are on the adventurous side, I highly encourage that you visit the Microsoft website and evaluate the beta today. You can find the beta by clicking here.

Introducing a More Beautiful Web

IE9DownloadBannerToday in San Francisco, Microsoft is officially unveiling Windows Internet Explorer 9, and releasing a beta version to the public.

Microsoft is touting Internet Explorer 9 as a release that is clean, simple, and enables you to focus on the content you care most about.

With Internet Explorer 9, Microsoft is introducing a new interface that puts you and your content first. Clutter has been reduced and the browser controls are being placed into glass. This means more room for content and a simplified browsing experience.

This is the first release to feature the use of the graphics card (GPU) for rendering graphics and text, using Direct2D and DirectWrite APIs. What this means for you the end user is that websites will feel more like native applications and provide for more immersive browsing experiences.

From a security standpoint, Internet Explorer 9 is shaping up to be the safest release yet. Internet Explorer 9 includes a new feature known as Download Reputation that uses reputation data to remove unnecessary warnings for safe files, and show warnings when a file is known to have a higher risk of being malicious.

Microsoft is partnering with renowned digital artist Joshua Davis, creator of the Endless Mural, Davis’ first project created in HTML5. You can learn more and contribute to the Endless Mural by visiting Microsoft’s Beauty of the Web site.

If you are interested in downloading and trying today’s beta release, you can either click the picture above, or visit http://bit.ly/IE9BetaDownload.