Microsoft released a new preview version of its Internet Explorer 10 browser for Windows 7 Nov. 13. With the IE10 Release Preview for Windows 7, consumers can now enjoy a “fast and fluid” Web with the updated IE10 engine on their Windows 7 devices. IE10 is the default browser on Windows 8 and is built for touch. eWEEK Senior Editor Darryl K. Taft spoke with Dean Hachamovitch, Microsoft corporate vice president for Internet Explorer, about some of the changes in IE and what to expect from Microsoft on the browser front–now that the release preview of IE10 on Windows 7 is available for download. Hachamovitch is Microsoft’s lead man on IE. See what he has to say.
eWEEK: What’s the primary message or theme you want to express to users about IE10? Same question for developers.
Dean Hachamovitch: IE10 is an entirely new IE, and we built it be the best way to experience the Web on Windows. IE10 on Windows 8 brings a pretty exciting new set of capabilities to the Web, such as a browsing experience that is perfect for touch, a full-screen UI, security improvements that offer the best protection against the most common threats on the Web, improved performance, and much better support for HTML5 and CSS3 standards.
The latter is particularly important from a dev perspective since we’ve added support for all of the standards that developers need, such as CSS 3D Transforms and CSS3 Transitions and Animations for rich visual effects and things like flexbox support for better page layouts. We’ve also added better storage with IndexedDB and HTML5 application cache and support for Web Sockets, HTML5 drag/drop, sand boxing and so forth. There’s a lot here for developers to get excited about.
IE has been losing market share. What in IE 10 for Windows 7 do you expect will help regain some of that loss?
Total share isn’t the optimization. Gone are the days that you can meet and raise consumers’ expectations by building for the lowest common denominator. The browser is really only as good as the OS it runs on. IE9 was a huge step forward for Internet Explorer and has been doing extremely well in the market. The latest numbers from Net Applications show IE as holding more than 54 percent of global market share, and that has been fueled heavily by growth of IE on Windows 7. Not only does IE10 shine on Windows 8, it brings the same powerful HTML5 engine to Windows 7 customers, so we expect it to do very well.
We’ve done a lot with Chakra in this release and that, plus additional improvements to the hardware acceleration, make IE10 really fast. We continue to focus on real-world performance as the key indicator of speed, but we’re pretty consistently beating other browsers on independent third-party benchmarks now, which is a nice reflection of the work the team has put in here.
There’s a very detailed blog up on IEblog that lists out all of the enhancements to Chakra, but a few things I’d call out are the substantial improvements to the JIT compiler, plus a lot of great enhancements to the memory allocator and garbage collector.
Microsoft’s IE Chief: The Browser Is Only As Good As the OS It Runs On
What was the issue with the timing of this preview? It seemed to take some time. There was a lot of progress and then it seemed to come to a halt. What gives?
We have always had the point of view that we build a browser for the OS–taking advantage of all of the underlying performance of the operating system. In the case of IE10, we built an entirely new browser that takes advantage of all of the great advances in Windows 8. As IE10 was finalized for Windows 8, we worked to bring the performance enhancements in IE10 and Windows 8 to Windows 7, and this involved quite a bit of work and time.
What are you doing with Adobe on IE10 for Windows 7 regarding whitelisting and Flash?
Customers generally expect that the primary device they walk around with should play the Websites they rely on. In some cases, this involves Flash, so we’ve been working closely with Adobe to make sure that customers using Windows 8 devices have a good experience on their favorite sites.
While any site can play Flash content in IE10 for the desktop, only sites that are on the compatibility view list–also known as the CV list–can play Flash content within the immersive experience. We place sites with Flash content on the CV list if doing so delivers the best user experience for those sites. For example, is the content designed to be responsive to touch? Does it work well with the on-screen keyboard or affect battery life? Do visual prompts comply with the user experience guidelines? There is a lot of information on this and guidance for developers that want to submit their sites for the CV list on MSDN.