Microsoft has released the Internet Explorer 9 Platform Preview 2, keeping to its promise of delivering new IE9 functionality every eight weeks.
Microsoft originally introduced the IE9 Platform Preview in mid-March at the MIX 2010 show in Las Vegas, and just seven weeks later the software giant has released version 2 of the IE9 Platform Preview, which features advances in compliance to industry-standard tests, improvements in performance and a lot more. Internet Explorer 9 Platform Preview 2 is available for developer download at the IE Test Drive site: www.ietestdrive.com.
Moreover, according to a source close to the company, there have been more than 1 million downloads of the IE9 Platform Preview to date
Among the goals of IE9 is to deliver HTML5 capability into the browser as well as the "same markup" experience to developers -- which basically means developers will be able to write code once and have it run on multiple sites without modification. Essentially this means enabling the same markup - the same HTML, the same CSS and the same script - to work the same across different browsers is as crucial as performance for HTML5's success. Developers should expect the same markup to produce the same results across browsers consistently.
Microsoft has created a rhythm of disclosure around IE9. At the company's Professional Developers Conference in November 2009, Microsoft discussed performance, hardware acceleration and same markup. At MIX 2010 the company discussed performance, hardware acceleration and same markup. And on May 5 Microsoft is back with improvements to its IE9 preview for developers.
To be sure, the new release builds on the initial platform preview . And in addition to more improvements to IE9's performance and support for standards , with this release Microsoft has submitted additional tests to the working groups at the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). Indeed, Microsoft submitted 79 new tests to the W3C, bring the number of tests the company has submitted to 183, a company spokesperson said. Microsoft has been busy creating, submitting, and revising comprehensive test cases for developers and browser manufactures to responsibly test and design for same markup.
Meanwhile, according to Webkit.org's SunSpider benchmark test, Internet Explorer 9 Platform Preview 2 is now even faster. The overall performance results have improved by 117 milliseconds.
In addition, more than 10 new developer samples on the IE9 Test Drive site highlight performance, graphics and HTML5 . Developers can take a look at these samples in a video at http://vimeo.com/11370608, or view demonstrations of the concept of same markup in action at http://vimeo.com/11478301, http://vimeo.com/11478843, and http://vimeo.com/11479609. Should a password be required, use "samemarkup," however the videos will be live on Microsoft's Channel 9 by mid-day May 5.
Microsoft also changed the platform preview console window to be a full tab that includes diagnostic information from IE. The company also added a "Change User Agent String" tool that enables you to change the UA string sent with every request, selecting from preset strings or creating your own custom string. This complements another feature Microsoft added - the IE9 UA string.
Said a company spokesperson: "We know that when developers spend less time re-writing their sites to work across browsers they have more time to create amazing experiences on the web. At its essence, that is what we are trying to achieve when we say 'same markup.' It's allowing for an interoperable web so developers can create the next class of rich web apps that will take advantage of the capabilities that will be made available with HTML5."