Microsoft’s search engine division came roaring back to life this week with the release of the Internet Explorer 9 Beta. IE9 brings a whole host of innovations to the table, which finally brings IE to the adult’s table to sit with Firefox and Chrome. In some instances, actually, it shoves those other browsers right to the kiddie’s table.
So what does it do? Well for this post we are going to focus in on what the new update means for web designers. However, let’s do a general overview. First and foremost, the browser is thin. It doesn’t use that many resources, unlike IE iterations of the past. Even Firefox is becmoing quite the resource hog in recent years so this makes IE and Chrome the skinniest browsers of the lot. This is important for, well, just about everyone. Who wants a browser who is gonna muck up the entire waterworks? Nobody.
The browser even looks thinner. Check out the photo below.
Microsoft is so dedicated to this aspect that IE9 comes standard with a function called “performance monitor” which does just what the title implies: It monitors your browser’s performance and lets you know about any situations that are causing lag and gives you the tools to stop it in it’s tracks. This is far and above what the competing browsers have offered.
Now we come to the main course. What’s in it for you burgeoning web developers? Well, first and foremost, IE9 features robust connectivity with HTML5. The use of HTML5 is opening up new arenas for developers to create all manner of applications and in-browser games. This, potentially, could work as a more “legit” and well-rounded version of the Firefox add-ons system. Steve Ballmer of Microsoft has likened his vision to that of the Apple App Store. This is great news for developers. It’s about time Microsoft decides to team up with developers and not try to bury them.
These applications could come in the form of helpful apps to make browsing easier, games or entire websites. Check out this neat game of pool made with HTML5 for IE9 below.
The functionality is full of little touches to make lives easier for developers. For instance, IE9 lets you use a wide variety of fonts without having to Photoshop images of them. No more dragging images in and out. Over and over and over. This feature alone could save dozens of manpower hours for each individual application.
HTML5 isn’t alone. Internet Explorer 9 allows the use of CSS 3 code also. This is pretty standard with the major browsers but, until now, has been conspicuously missing from Microsoft’s product. So now you all can make rounded corners until you are blue in the face. This should go far to make IE9 an all-around flashier experience.
Best of all, it’s free to use and free to get started developing for. That’s the great thing about browsers. They are free and easy to take for a test spin. If it doesn’t work out, Chrome and Firefox are waiting in the wings.