image Back in March at Mix10, Dean Hachamovitch, the General Manager of the Internet Explorer team, introduced the IE9 Platform Preview, an early look at the features coming to Internet Explorer 9 (including a new JavaScript engine, HTML 5 support, GPU acceleration, and more).  It’s not a beta per-se; the browser doesn’t provide a complete experience – there’s no address bar or back button, for instance – but it does put the proposed feature set in your hand earlier than ever before in the history of IE.

Today, in keeping with the pledge to update the preview every eight weeks, the IE team has released Platform Preview 3, which includes

  • More HTML5 tag support: <canvas>, <audio>, and <video>
  • Web Open Font Format (WOFF) support
  • Additional performance improvements to “Chakra”, the IE9 multi-core aware JavaScript engine: Platform Preview 3 improves IE9’s benchmark score by 25% and now outperforms both Chrome 4 and Firefox 3.6 on the SunSpider test
  • Support for ECMAScript 5, with a side-effect of a 35% improvement in the ACID3 test (from 68 to 83).

With Platform Preview 3, Microsoft has updated its contributions to standards testing (including 1500 HTML 5 test cases submitted to the W3C) and is also releasing 15 new demos on the Test Drive site.  Here’s one that leverages the <canvas> element: the FishIE tank - get it, Fishy…. Fish-I-E :) – along with a frame-per-second meter showing the performance gains of IE9’s background JavaScript compilation in contrast with some of the ‘other guys’  [Yes, this IE9 Platform Preview 3, not IE7 as reported by the page]

FishIE Tank
IE9 Firefox 3.6 Chrome 5

There have been over a million downloads of the IE9 Platform Previews thus far – join the fun (oh, and if you’ve already got one of the previews installed,  you can simply install Platform Preview 3 right on top of it).