Microsoft Delivers IE Developer Channel Release

Microsoft announced the delivery of a new release of Internet Explorer expressly for Web developers--the IE Developer Channel release.

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Microsoft has delivered a Developer Channel release of its Internet Explorer browser aimed at developers.

The company announced Internet Explorer Developer Channel in a June 16 blog post, saying the release is a fully functioning browser designed to give Web developers and early adopters a sneak peek at the Web platform features Microsoft is working on. The Developer Channel is available for download for both Windows 8.1 and Windows 7 SP1 customers running Internet Explorer 11.

IE Developer Channel comes with support for the emerging WebDriver standard, through which Web developers can write tests to automate Web browsers to test their sites. It's a programmable remote control for developing complex user scenarios and running them in an automated fashion in your Web site and browser, said Jason Weber, partner group program manager for Internet Explorer, in the blog post.

The Developer Channel release of IE also provides new enhancements to Microsoft's F12 Web developer tools, including enhanced debugging with event breakpoints that help developers get to their event-driven bugs faster. Microsoft also is providing richer analysis capabilities throughout the Memory and UI Responsiveness profilers, and an improved navigation experience that provides more keyboard shortcuts as well as new header notifications. This enables developers to quickly determine whether any of the profiling tools are running or how many errors their page has, Weber said.

Moreover, IE Developer Channel comes with support of the emerging Gamepad API standard that enables developers to use JavaScript to add gamepad support to their Web apps and games. IE Developer Channel also improves WebGL performance and adds support for instancing extension, 16-bit textures, GLSL built-in variables and triangle fans.

"This release of the IE Developer Channel uses a combination of code changes and App-V Client to virtualize and run alongside IE11," Weber said. "This virtualization creates a small performance hit, so we don't recommend you use this version to measure your site's performance. We also don't recommend you install this version in your enterprise environment."

Providing a Developer Channel release is a new approach for Microsoft, whereas other popular browser makers such as Mozilla and Google have long offered developer channel access to their upcoming releases.

"IE Developer Channel can run alongside and independently of IE11, and has all of the browser features that you love in IE11, as well as the latest platform features we're working on," Weber said.