ie9_logo Internet Explorer 9 Beta was shown today at a launch event in Silicon Valley, CA. The beta includes the new user experience, where what you don’t see is key. There’s no branding beyond the logo in the Taskbar. There’s no text or logo in the title bar. The goal is to let the site shine.

Ed Bott of CNET says, “It is, without question, the most ambitious browser release Microsoft has ever undertaken, and despite the beta label it is an impressively polished product.” See his review that walks through the details of the user experience at Internet Explorer 9 beta review: Microsoft reinvents the browser.

You can get started testing your sites today and try out the experience for yourself. The beta of Internet Explorer 9, available now at www.BeautyOfTheWeb.com in 33 languages. See the IE9 team blog post too, Putting sites at the center of the browsing experience, using the whole PC: IE9 Beta Available for Download.

IE 9 works with Windows 7 and Windows Vista SP2.

IE 9 Goals

With Internet Explorer 9, we’ve aimed to achieve four primary goals:

  • Speed: creating a browser that takes full advantage of your PC with hardware acceleration across GPU and multi-core CPUs, enabling your code to deliver near-native performance without having to write it differently.
  • Standards: supporting the HTML5 technologies that developers and standards bodies tell us are stable enough for vendor implementation, providing a complete implementation of those standards that enables developers to write the same markup for all standards-compliant browsers.
  • Site-centric: in IE9, we have a new streamlined interface that allows the site experience to shine through. We’ve worked on enabling web developers to more fully integrate with Windows through “site mode”, which offers the ability to pin a site with dynamic jump lists, custom thumbnail previews, and notification icons.
  • Secure: we’ve retained our efforts on ensuring that IE9 protects you from Internet threats, providing users with extra safeguards against malware and phishing sites.

Features

The beta includes these features:

  • Fully Hardware-Accelerated HTML5. IE9 offers consistent, fully hardware-accelerated text, graphics, and media, both audio and video. Try Hamster Dance Revolution, IE Beatz, or MSNBC Video in different browsers to experience the difference. Psychedelic Browsing demonstrates what HTML5 canvas can do when it’s fully accelerated with the GPU.
  • Modern SVG. With Platform Preview 4, we’re excited to show highly-interactive and integrated, or modern, SVG. Typically, developers think of SVG as the graphics format for static engineering diagrams and images. With HTML5 and hardware acceleration, SVG is an excellent choice for a new class of interactive, animated scenarios. You can see great SVG performance, animated via JavaScript, with the SVG Dice example.
  • Native JavaScript Integration. One aspect of doing these things well is integrating the JavaScript engine natively inside the browser, rather than bolting it onto the side to support multiple JavaScript engines as some other browsers do today.With this change, communication between the browser and script engine is now direct, which significantly improves performance for real world websites.
  • Fonts. developers can use the Web Open Font Format (WOFF, supported in IE9 Platform Preview 3 as well as other browsers) for both HTML and SVG content. It works well in conjunction with the CSS3 Fonts module and has broad support from leading font vendors (e.g. here, “a majority of font makers have already settled on WOFF or services like Typekit as their format of choice”). WOFF fonts are a better long-term solution.

Cool Examples of HTML 5

For HTML5, we’ve worked with a variety of top design agencies, partners and global brands to deliver some stunning experiences that fully take advantage of the hardware acceleration support in IE9. No other browser vendor has pushed the bar for HTML5 as far as we have, and you’ll want to add these demos to your arsenal as soon as possible.

A couple of examples that are particular favorites:

The Killers (http://www.thekillersmusic.com/html5) – one of the biggest rock bands in the world go live with a full IE9-optimized HTML5 site today! Showcasing video, Canvas, WOFF fonts, SVG – this site is full of easter eggs and the band love what IE9 provides.

Jitterbugs (http://html5.cynergysystems.com) – a game that uses Canvas, SVG, WOFF and audio to deliver an experience that you’d have never been able to do in a browser before IE9. Try it on Chrome – it runs almost hilariously slowly.

WebVizBench (http://www.webvizbench.com) – a benchmark for HTML5 built with data from KEXP that scales up to even high-end graphical hardware – with video, animations, WOFF and Canvas, you’ll want to try this on your home machine!

Rough Guides (http://makethemost.roughguides.com/) – this blurs the lines between a web page and a full application, integrating data from Flickr and curated content into a beautiful, zoomable interface.

Never Mind the Bullets (http://www.nevermindthebullets.com/) – a parallax comic built with HTML5.

Agent 008 Ball (http://www.agent8ball.com) – a pool game with a spy theme that uses Canvas, audio, WOFF fonts.

AP Timeline Reader (http://html5.labs.ap.org/) – a news reader with a difference – browse through the articles that you’re interested in reading and add them to a queue; then read them in a clutter-free environment with customizable fonts and high-res photos.

Enjoy.

Bruce D. Kyle
ISV Architect Evangelist | Microsoft Corporation

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