Internet Explorer 9 Launch


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Ari Bixhorn is the Lead Product Manager at Microsoft. We were fortunate to catch a few moments of his time during the Internet Explorer 9 launch party during SXSW. The browser launched today amidst much ,a href=”http://www.eweek.com/c/a/Enterprise-Applications/Microsoft-Internet-Explorer-9-Arrives-10-Reasons-to-Use-It-851132/”>fanfare from reviewers. I even happened to see a Tweet earlier which said “IE 9 isn’t your momma’s Internet Explorer. Give it a try!” Strangely worded, perhaps – but true.

The first major difference that Ari pointed out during the interview is the sheer speed of this iteration. It is noticeably MUCH quicker than any previous version, which is important in today’s browser wars. We demand that our pages load instantly, and we don’t settle for anything less. From all reports, IE 9 actually performs up to par. The browser has an improved JavaScript engine named Chakra and uses hardware acceleration to deliver Web pages to users sooner.

Microsoft also drastically changed the entire user experience this time around. They have placed the focus onto the web sites you are visiting and shifted the focus away from the browser itself. In past versions, Microsoft forced users to deal with too much clutter around a Web page. You’ll find that ugliness is gone now.

There are some hefty privacy and security updates, things that are crucial if the Redmond company is to survive amongst other offerings on the market. Some of the updated features include tracking protection and control over ActiveX filtering. The tracking protection function allows you to place a limit on which websites are allowed to communicate with your browser. The tracking protection list blocks certain sites from monitoring what you are doing online. Having control over your ActiveX filtering gives you the ability to select which sites you trust to access information to create your interactive features when surfing the web. Additionally, IE 9 introduces “hang recover” in this version, which will isolate a malfunctioning tab while letting other open tabs continue to work properly and independently.

Another important factor to note is that IE 9 was built from the ground up to support HTML5. This is good in that developers can build upon HTML5 across multiple browsers. Consumers can experience sites in ways they never could before using HTML5, such as with videos and games. This will have a huge impact on what you can do when you are online.

Believe it or not, the demo shown during SXSW proves that IE 9 can run with the big dogs when it comes to speed: several sites were demo’d which ran smoothly in IE 9 but were choppy and slow in both Firefox 4 and Chrome. Don’t believe me? Ask Dave Wolf – VP of Strategy at Synergy. They produced a neat little game in HTML5 and showed off a short demo of it in this video. It renders at about ten times the framerate in IE 9 as it does in Chrome. Again, don’t take my word for it – watch for yourself.

As already mentioned once – give it a try before you simply write it off. I think Internet Explorer 9 is going to surprise you.

Have you played around with the new Microsoft browser offering yet? What are your initial thoughts?

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