Microsoft Launches IE9 Release Candidate

 
 
By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2011-02-10
 
 
 

Microsoft has announced the availability of the Release Candidate of Internet Explorer 9.

The release candidate, known as IE9 RC, is available at www.BeautyOfTheWeb.com in 40 languages, said Dean Hachamovitch, corporate vice president for Internet Explorer at Microsoft, in a Feb. 10 blog post. Hachamovitch said with IE9 RC, Microsoft has incorporated more than 17,000 pieces of feedback about IE9 and has moved the browser forward in terms of performance and standards, user experience, and safety and privacy.

Microsoft culled insights from more than 25 million beta testers to update the IE9 technology, including making the browser's "Chakra" JavaScript engine at least 30 percent faster than it was in the beta version.

Hachamovitch said, "The IE9 RC is faster with real world sites. In addition to making the script engine faster, we've improved and tuned the rest of the browser as well. You'll find that Gmail, Office Web Applications, and many other sites are faster as a result of scenario tuning, network cache tuning, and new compiler optimizations. You'll also find that the RC of IE9 often uses megabytes less memory than the beta because of changes like delayed image decoding. We've also improved the performance of things many people do every day, like find on page, and made improvements which extend battery life."

"The graphics engine is smoking fast. That means we can do really cool things," said Grant Skinner, chief architect and CEO at gskinner.com.

Moreover, Hachamovitch added:

"IE9 RC supports additional emerging Web standards including CSS3 2D Transforms, HTML5 Geolocation and a set of HTML5 semantic elements. We've added support for the HTML5 canvas global??íComposite??íOperation property and improved the performance of canvas's Canvas??íPixel??íArray. We've updated IE9 RC to reflect changes to the DOM events and added accessibility to the HTML5 audio and video controls. These additions reflect our pattern of implementing site ready HTML5 while ensuring developers can experiment with new and emerging specifications through our HTML5 Labs. As these specifications become stable, you can expect we will implement them in IE as we have throughout the development of IE9."

"It really has HTML5 as its foundation," said Rick Barazza, principal experience architect at Cynergy. "So it lets us focus on designing and not redesigning again and again."

In addition, IE9 continues to deliver privacy improvements, Microsoft said. In addition to shipping Tracking Protection with IE9 RC, Microsoft has four Tracking Protection Lists live and available for customers to use. Current Tracking Protection Lists include Abine, TRUSTe, PrivacyChoice and AdBlock Plus.

As for hardware acceleration and interoperability in the latest release, according to the SunSpider benchmark, IE9 RC is 35 percent faster than Internet Explorer 9 Beta-322 ms in the beta versus 209 ms in RC. Meanwhile, Microsoft continues to implement standards as they become stable and IE9 RC supports Geolocation, playback of H.264-encoded video using the HTML5 video tag and now WebM video as well, when a VP8 code is installed on Windows. 

In a tweet about the new IE9 RC, James Alexander, a .NET developer in Detroit, said, "IE9 still doesn't support text-shadow or background-image linear gradients like [Mozilla] or [WebKit] so all my cool stuff still looks like [junk.]"

Also, with the new IE9 RC, Microsoft has added more than 1,000 new test cases for JavaScript and updated more than 50 test cases based on community feedback. During IE9 development Microsoft submitted around 4,000 test cases in total for standards like HTML5, CSS, SVG and others, Hachamovitch said.

Hachamovitch also said:

"Based on your feedback, we also made it much easier to refine search queries in the One Box. Based on your feedback, IE9's download manager will now display the download speed, and download notifications are animated and more noticeable. Based on your feedback, pinned sites now support multiple home pages - 'redefining awesome' according to this comment. With Paste & Navigate (Control-Shift-L), hardcore enthusiasts can save a step pasting into the address bar. We've reduced the number of pixels in the frame, and updated the visuals, making the active tab easier to identify, and made it easier to close inactive tabs."

Other developers also weighed in on the IE9 RC. "With IE9 the browser gets out of the way," said Danny Riddel CEO of Archetype.

"I think that they've done a really fantastic job of removing the things you don't need and it lets you focus on the content, which is the reason we're on the Web anyway,"  said Robbie Ingebretsen, a principal at Pixel Lab.

 


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