Five Things IE9 is (Actually) Doing Right

May 9 2010 by Jacob Gube | 98 Comments

Things IE9 Is (Actually) Doing Right

Microsoft — the company we all love to hate — is turning over a new leaf. This is true, at least, with its latest iteration of Internet Explorer, the company’s web browser.

IE — if you’ve already forgotten — was once a great web browser in the mid-90s, usurping the spot of the dominant browser of that decade: Netscape Navigator. The browser was a market innovator once.

IE9, by the way it’s looking right now, is a vast improvement to the browsers Microsoft has been putting out as of late.

At the risk of being completely alienated by my fellow developers, who — like me — have fostered a gut instinct reaction to stand on guard and be ready to attack whenever we hear the words "Microsoft" or "Internet Explorer", I’d like to highlight a handful of things that the company is finally doing right with their browser.

1. Embracing Future Web Standards

If you ask any web developer why they’re not using CSS3 or HTML5, the simple answer you’ll get is, "not all browsers implement them," most notably, Internet Explorer, who holds at present over 50% of the market.

IE's marketshare in April 2010, along with other web browsers such as Firefox, Safari, and Chrome.IE’s marketshare in April 2010, along with other web browsers such as Firefox, Safari, and Chrome. Source: Wikipedia.

Even though CSS3 and HTML5 is far from W3C Final Recommendation status, we were all fearing the Internet Explorer would wait until that time to implement CSS3 and HTML5 (2022 or later).

Good news for apprehensive web developers: IE9 will support major HTML5 and CSS3 modules.

Cross-browser test results summary table comparing HTML5/CSS3 support.Cross-browser test results summary table comparing HTML5/CSS3 support. Source: Internet Explorer 9: Testing Center.

For example, IE9 supports the Media Query module in CSS3, which allows website developers a way to render pages in different ways according to the user’s client (desktop, netbook, or mobile).

Media Query rendering a web page with different user agents in IE9.Media Query rendering a web page with different user agents in IE9.

It’s important to point out that based on their track records, older versions of Internet Explorer — which doesn’t support CSS3 and HTML5 — will undoubtedly still have plenty of users even when IE9 becomes the official version. However, we can at least be assured that when those users are ready to upgrade, they will be upgrading to a web browser that supports CSS3 and HTML5. Additionally, the prospect of CSS3/HTML5 being available IE9 can give IT managers and CTOs an incentive to upgrade their systems.

2. Paying Attention to Performance

The current version of Internet Explorer is terrible when we talk about performance compared with other browsers. IE developers have known that for a while, but haven’t done anything about it in at least 2 versions.

IE8 Poor performance

IE9, though, is putting up some decent numbers using SunSpider, a popular JavaScript performance-benchmarking tool.

JavaScript execution speeds of different browsers (in milliseconds). The lower the number, the better.JavaScript execution speeds using standardized function calls of different browsers (in milliseconds). The lower the number, the better. Source: Internet Explorer 9: Platform Demos.

The bigger picture here is that there’s a stronger emphasis on software performance. If they keep improving on speed, power users and tech enthusiasts might give their browser a second look.

3. Providing Ways for Early Adopters to Weigh In

Getting the green light from early adopters is important, as we’ve seen in web apps like Twitter, where they were a key factor in introducing the service to the mainstream.

To give the public a chance to see what’s in store in IE9, they’ve set up the Internet Explorer 9: Platform Demos page.

IE9 Test Center

This section on Microsoft’s site provides early adopters a way to test drive IE9 before it comes out, as well as a spot for IE developers to share data about speed and demos of HTML5 and CSS3 capabilities for anyone to try out.

They also offer an installable IE9 platform preview for you to try out IE9 yourself.

installable IE9 platform preview

They also have a dedicated system for receiving feedback to ensure that you’re able to conveniently provide your opinions and bug reports.

4. Allowing and Encouraging External Developers to Help

Any software, whether proprietary or not, can benefit from the collective knowledge of developers. Think about Linux, WordPress, and Drupal — their successes were founded on their ability to leverage the intelligence and experience of thousands of open source developers.

In a similar way, IE9 has a suite of Developer Tools that developers can use to troubleshoot and test things with.

They’re still not going to give up their source code but at least they’re making it easier for us to poke and prod their software and debug rendering issues.

Developer ToolsNetwork inspector to see web page rendering performance.

Developer ToolsResource inspector for a finer view of web page components.

And let’s be honest: It’s great for PR. When you’re on the good side of developers, you’ve got yourself a community that will evangelize and support your products to their bosses, clients, friends, and other networks.

While their competition is going backwards and making life harder for (certain types of) developers, Internet Explorer is becoming a little more open to developers outside of their company.

5. Being More Transparent and Accountable

Microsoft has never been known for transparency. That’s why it’s refreshing to see that the IE9 blog is frequently being updated about IE9′s development. They regularly talk about their progress, as well as setbacks. They engage their audience and are slowly peeling away the cloak that always seems to hang over the company’s product development and failures.

For example, they’ve publicly acknowledged on their blog that they will just support the industry standard codec, H.264, when there are still debates of what codec HTML5 video elements should use.

What’s so important about this particular example? It shows they’re being open about where they stand on an issue, instead of leaving us guessing and theorizing. Whether we like it or not, at least we get a chance to provide feedback before the product launches.

Another thing that Microsoft is not well known for is its ability to admit when they’re doing something wrong. Only recently have they recognized the need for people to upgrade IE6 due to security holes.

But IE9 seems different. When something goes wrong — like Google’s web app, Gmail,  not rendering correctly in IE9 — they admit the issue (with screenshots, even) instead of ignoring the feedback from their users as they most often have done in the past.

How Gmail currently looks in IE9 previewHow Gmail currently looks in IE9 preview. Source: Official IEBlog.

The worst thing you can do to your company’s image is to cold-shoulder people when they’re telling you something’s not right. Being a web developer and web designer, I know it’s hard to take in criticisms about my work, but it’s also important to be honest, to fess up to issues that are justified and to listen to constructive feedback.

Is This the New Microsoft?

Maybe. I hope so. The skeptic in me wants to hate the company for the years of agony they’ve subjected me to in getting something to work right in their browser and, worse, ignoring my requests for help by playing nice with web standards.

They’ve placed the burden of getting their software to render web pages correctly on me, a web developer who has no control or say about their products.

But I genuinely admire the IE team’s efforts in Internet Explorer 9. And though IE9 is far from being perfect compared to Chrome or Firefox in all of the things I’ve stated in this article, and a simple show-and-tell won’t be enough for me to completely change the viewpoint I’ve developed from years of poor experience with their products, I’m happy about Microsoft’s different approach to building their newer applications.

Related Content

About the Author

Jacob Gube is the Founder and Chief Editor of Six Revisions. He’s also a web developer/designer who specializes in front-end development (JavaScript, HTML, CSS) and PHP development, and a book author. If you’d like to connect with him, head on over to the contact page and follow him on Twitter: @sixrevisions.

98 Comments

abhishek

May 9th, 2010

Hi,
Is there any information of release date of IE9. Microsoft is putting too much into this browser. I hope they are planning to release something like web OS which can work on all the hardware (mobile/ipad/embedded/etc).
Am I right?
What you think?

FlyChina

May 9th, 2010

As a first next generation of web browser, IE9 would definitely tear up by Firefox 4, Chrome 6.0, Safari 5, opera 13 and even maxthon 5.

Sean

May 9th, 2010

The one thing I would like to see Microsoft do is figure out a way to get everyone using IE on the same version. On the sites I run at work, IE is the majority browser, and is split between IE6, 7, and 8, with 6 and 8 each running around 25% of total IE visits.

When 9 comes around, it won’t really matter how much better it is, even over the course of a couple of years, because it takes so long for IE users to upgrade.

Sunny Singh

May 9th, 2010

I was really happy to hear this news and am pretty impressed with the preview. This is what everyone has been wanting from IE for years now, but what I don’t get is that some people are still saying bad things about IE9. Hypocritical much?

Anyways great article.

Alyssa

May 9th, 2010

Finally! :) I never thought I’d see the day IE supported HTML5 & CSS3, hopefully this will encourage even more people to learn it!

Armin C.

May 9th, 2010

I really appreciate the improvements IE9 is going to make compared to it’s earlier versions, I’m especially happy about support for CSS3

Christoph

May 9th, 2010

Well, I hope that MS is keeping this developlemt process. It’s abouta time that even IE users know, what the web actually can do for them. Thanks for this nice overview.

Fabian

May 9th, 2010

The one thing I would like to see Microsoft do is figure out a way to get everyone using IE on the same version. On the sites I run at work, IE is the majority browser, and is split between IE6, 7, and 8, with 6 and 8 each running around 25% of total IE visits.
+1

Anne

May 9th, 2010

I’m with Sean (first comment). The trouble is with IT Managers and Intranets that are stuck in the dark-ages. The most common excuse for not upgrading to modern versions of IE is usually “cost” – but this is my opinion is a short-sighted reason to not upgrade a company intranet to run on the latest versions of IE.

Matthew Y.

May 9th, 2010

Ooooh! Rounded corners at last! Thanks Microsoft, for listening!

mauro

May 9th, 2010

Everything very nice, exept fot one thing: It doesn’t work on XP…

It’ll take YEARS to be able to use CSS3 and HTML5 features, becouse almost everyone uses windows XP…

I think this is actually a bad new…

Tony

May 9th, 2010

Thank god for competition. This will only spur other browsers to match IE and try and beat it.

Greg

May 9th, 2010

sorry but IE9 is still trash. Yeah they’ve made some good steps forward but when the new blackberry phone browser kills IE9 in the acid3 test..
I give you ie9:
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/c/c1/Acid3ie9dp2.png

Blackberry browser 5.x
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:BlackBerry_Storm2_9550_OS_5.0.0.607_Acid_3_4-15-10.jpg

that’s pathetic in my opinion.

Doc

May 9th, 2010

Note that the W3C tests Microsoft passes are tests Microsoft wrote and only recently submitted to the W3C. This is the first time other browser vendors have seen those tests which, obviously Microsoft had prior knowledge of.

Notice, too, Microsoft only shows the tests they run well and not the ones they do poorly at or don’t support at all. anyone?

Also, notice Microsoft compares current browsers to IE9 which won’t be released in almost two more years. I didn’t check but are all those comparisons in the IE9 preview or only promises?

Young

May 9th, 2010

I fully agree with Sean.
When IE8 came out I found myself even more frustrated that now I had to filter for different versions of IE rather than all IE…seriously MS, force people to upgrade like you force so many things down their throats…

Cliff

May 9th, 2010

I agree with Sean. IE8 was a huge improvement from 6 and 7 but that doesn’t stop the huge split between people using different versions of IE. IE users tend not to be quick at updating (especially without an automatic update feature that pops up like firefox) or are used by corporations who seem to love IE6 despite its security flaws…

Hopefully they do something to push the slooooowly disappearing IE userbase to upgrade to IE9 (or if it’ll even be available to XP or Vista users)

TheAL

May 9th, 2010

My hopes are hanging by a thin thread. I’m just so used to IE letting me down. But I commend Microsoft for trying harder with each new version. Eventually they’ll give in to standards and stop trying to reinvent a wheel that doesn’t need their type of reinventing.

Alan Feekery

May 9th, 2010

Good read. Hopefully M$ look into some sort of upgrade notification system for it’s IE7/8 users to make them upgrade when IE9 becomes available.

s427

May 9th, 2010

I’m pretty sure the IE4 team was a great team too. They did manage to release a browser that was way better than Netscape at that time. The problem is that the IE team is not Microsoft -only a very small part of it. And when IE had finished his job of crushing Netscape by the late ’90s, Microsoft simply got rid of the IE team. Remember that? No meaningful evolutions for years. A stagnant web. Until Firefox got enough success to force MS to re-create the IE team.

I don’t think Microsoft has fundamentally changed. Its primary goal is still to please its shareholders -not its users, or only as a mean for that goal. And while it is indeed great news to see the dominant browser catch up with the other browsers, I think the lesson of the first browsers war is quite clear: you don’t put the future of the web into the hands of such a company.

Jaap

May 9th, 2010

I dunno. I really believe that the developers of IE8 want to create a kick ass browser but MS being MS there will come a time when the marketing people take over.

Sergio Bobillier

May 9th, 2010

This is really great. At least web developers will rest assured that their pages will render the same way in Internet Explorer as long as they abide by the W3C standards. Is great to see that finally Microsoft recognizes that using the industry standards is better than just inventing their own.

I’ll be supporting Microsoft with this new point of view and I’ll make sure to download a copy of IE9 as soon as the first stable release come out. But I also hope that seeing how well IE performs and respond to the W3C’s new standards will encourage the guys from Mozilla to keep improving their browser and hopefully Firefox 4 will perform and respond to W3C standards as well as IE9 does.

Nice article.

Wype

May 9th, 2010

All the web developers will continue to hate IE. It’s like a religion, you believe since you’re small, you can’t get rid of your first impression! :)

Belinda

May 9th, 2010

I totally agree with Sean. There should be some sort of automatic upgrade required especially IE6 users – the amount of respectable companies (here in Australia anyway) who force their employees to use IE6 is ridiculous.

I think IE9 looks great so far.

german hernandez

May 9th, 2010

Actually i don’t support html5 is because it is not a standard yet. And firefox, honoring their roots, has become a horrible slow. Piece of software. Future looks interesting but a lot of things stil have to ocurr to for html5 to become a standard.

Khoa

May 9th, 2010

It’s clearly a good news for developers (including myself), but from the web user side, I don’t see myself switching to IE9 for daily web surfing. Regardless of being more standard, IE interface just drives me away. The look, the feeling of click on a button on IE, it just doesn’t seem “right” to me.

Francis Adu-Gyamfi

May 9th, 2010

I personally think IE9 will be my next favourite browser (after Opera that is) because I believe we will see a super cool browser UI. More of this on my blog.

However, I my current wish is that IE9 will contain some kind of auto-update functionality like Firefox or Opera, so we do not have to wait 3 years after IE9 is released to get any significant updates for it, or have to wait explicityly for IE10. This is why Microsoft have lost in the browser wars for so long, simply because they do not deliver core and rendering engine updates to their browser on a regular basis to keep them in the competition.

Medisoft

May 9th, 2010

Looking forward to the new competition, FF is great, hope it stays that way.

Chris

May 9th, 2010

Awesome, I can’t wait to upgrade IE on my Windows 2000 installations, the installer is broken in IE 7 and IE 8.

Helge-Kristoffer Wang

May 9th, 2010

Finally! I have been waiting for this a long time now, and it seems like Microsoft finally picks up the pace with the other web browsers.

(Quoted from Sean)
“The one thing I would like to see Microsoft do is figure out a way to get everyone using IE on the same version.”

I figured. One way of doing it is to make a forced update. They’ve done it before, and I’m sure they can do it again if it’s necessary. I actually hope that’s what is going to happen!

Probably we can start using HTML5 and CSS3 soon! Looking forward to it! :)

Hugo

May 9th, 2010

Thanks God I use Mac.

May Fay

May 9th, 2010

Thats a late apri fools. Has someone tested this? The IE the only browser which supports everything? The fastes and reliable? You must be kidding. These data are fake. If they use IE9 then you should test FF 3.7 beta, Chromium 5 and alle other Beta and Alpha Releases. FF3.6.3 and Chrome have made nearly all tests. And IE9 doesn’t even has made the Acid3 test now.
It’s fake.

Hector Jarquin

May 9th, 2010

Well put Jacob, I’m very enthusiastic of web standards’ adoption. I expect a broader understanding of its importance among non web workers in the near future.

Andy

May 9th, 2010

Good, but they will always be playing catchup. These are all benchmarks against currently released browsers. It’s not a static target. Microsoft should switch to webkit and just concentrate on th

dave

May 10th, 2010

I have to smile when Microsoft’s actually getting 5 things right is worth a headline. But, in the spirit of good-sportsmanship, I’m willing to accept that getting 5 things right is a serious sign of improvement (even if it’s not a particularly high hurdle).

Now if they can just keep up the good work they might, eventually, someday, maybe, get 5 MORE things right. At that pace they should be able to catch up to Firefox and Chrome by 2020, or so.

RSA Online

May 10th, 2010

Really number 1!!? And that is implemented today? So IE9 pretty much will ship like this! That is great news for all of us developers who have wasted so many hours “making things work in IE”.

But on the issue of what is Microsoft doing wrong with IE9.. I hear that it will not be compatible with XP.. so I suppose we’ll have to wait a long-long time before this gains any usable level of ubiquity. ie. I can’t see people upgrading their OS or PC just to upgrade to IE9.. guess we’re just going to have to wait maybe 10+ years for all those XP PC’s to physically die.

Faceless

May 10th, 2010

You for got internationalized domain names. No other browser has adapted to these domains the way IE has.

Seeker

May 10th, 2010

When the IE9 is released, things won’t change that much, really. Most of the users using IE9 will be those that already used IE8. There will still be people that are stuck with IE8, IE7 and IE6. No change, at all… Also I’m a bit worried about the final release of IE9, I have a feeling the developers won’t, as it’s usual from IE devs, finish things up to a perfect state, preferably greens and 100s across all the tests and benchmarks that matter…

Karim D.

May 10th, 2010

As you said, the sceptic in me wants to go on hating the company for the agony they made us go trough.
I guess till we can really forget about IE6-8 there will be plenty of time to slowly get over it. Assuming that Microsoft IS on the right track now…

Ash

May 10th, 2010

Nice article…

I think the improvements are a welcome change to the way Microsoft handles product development and release.

I agree with Sean though, what really needs to change is the number of versions I have to consider when developing, I wish MS would follow other browsers and automatically upgrade users, surely it’s in everyones best interest to be using the latest browser?… for me, as good as the improvements are, it’s just another browser to make sure my sites render properly in… which really grinds my gears… :-)

cara

May 10th, 2010

While it is great that M$ is playing catch up and overtake, the problem remains that many users are still working with older versions like IE6 and even IE7. Looking at my site stats, 14% of the people who visited the site were using IE6. The 38% using IE8 don’t bother me because IE8 at least renders valid pages correctly, but IE6 is the one that takes hours of hacks etc to get working even sort of correctly.

Dennis

May 10th, 2010

Who brought the DOM and XMLHTTP to the web?

Pradoo

May 10th, 2010

At least they’re doing something but the damage is done IE6 has probably set the web back by about 10 years.

Tazz

May 10th, 2010

Gonna try it for sure, but I think the damage has been done with the previous browser abominations.
A while ago i installed IE8… took 10 minutes and a reboot was necessary to run it… WTF.

Terra

May 10th, 2010

To be fair, Firefox with AdBlock blows IE8 out of the water. It’s not that I don’t like ads… I don’t like ads which make noise, animate, pop-up out of nowhere, cover the content of a website begging for a click. If ALL adservers rejected flash ads, and went with text only ads…I probably would turn off ABP.

And sorry, IE8 has a lot of security flaws, ActiveX plugins that have system access are ALL security exploits waiting to happen.

Alas…only in a perfect world.

IE9 does look like a step in the right direction, but I won’t believe it until the final version is released.

papayashake

May 10th, 2010

Happy to know that IE started following standards other than standards set by Microsoft.

Joe

May 10th, 2010

The work the IE9 team is doing is fantastic so far.
However they have got to figure out a way to force the holdouts to upgrade.

Jason

May 10th, 2010

That’s great and all that they’re working on yet another version of IE that is more standards compliant, but honestly, it will eventually be another version of IE to detect and make workarounds for just like every other version.

Microsoft, just give it up already? Please?

Chris Pierre

May 10th, 2010

So far everything sounds good for the latest IE9 but I will really have to test it out before I can judge. Hopefully it will live up to its hype an gain the trust of fellow developers.Thanks For The Encouraging Post!

Chris P.

Nathan B

May 10th, 2010

@Sean

exactly, exactly. Firefox, Chrome et al. have a far lower percentage of users using outdated versions. That’s just one of the things that makes them superior. Even if IE9 could claim to be on par with the current version of them all (and it might get reasonably close), its upgrade percentage would lag years, literally, behind.

Najam Siddiqi

May 10th, 2010

nice one and hope so that MS will keep going the development process.

Jacob Gube

May 10th, 2010

First, wow, wonderful comments, please keep them coming. I’ll address a handful right now:

@abhishek: Anything web-based and they’re going to step into a territory where they’re out-gunned and far behind (think Google). They’d be the underdog unless they can convert most of their desktop users quickly. My experience is that Corporate IT – which comprises a significant amount of Microsoft users – is hesitant about public/Internet-enabled apps, because of security. That’s why it’s popular to have an intranet in large, multi-national corporations, cordoned off from the rest of the world. This is just an anecdotal argument from me, though. I think there are talks of placing MS Office in the cloud (maybe I’m just imagining things), not so sure about Windows.

@Sean: I actually had a section about that exact same thing. I cut it out because the article was getting long and seemed to ramble. I wish I’d left that in now that you mention it. What’s nice about FF is that once the stable release is officially out, they ask you to upgrade every time you open your web browser. This is how IE should work. *Generally*, there is no good reason to use an older version of any software that you don’t have to pay for.

@Sunny Singh: It’s because we’ve been burned by this browser line for many years. When I saw the updates on the IE testing platform page, my instinctive reaction was to disparage their low Acid3 test score, overlooking everything else they’ve done, and just focused on that one thing. That reaction was actually what inspired me to write this.

@Fabian, @Anne, @Young, @Cliff, and @Belinda: 100% agree. Again, now I feel I should’ve left in my discussion of this issue in the original draft of this article.

@Greg: Yeah, that is a low score, like I said in my tweet last week before I wrote this article. Here’s the IE team’s explanation and promise about this, in case you’re curious: HTML5 and Same Markup: Second IE9 Platform Preview Available for Developers *(you’ll have to scroll down somewhere in the middle of the post to get to the discussion of the Acid3 test results). Also, read @Doc‘s comment above.

@s427: Windows 7 and Office 2010 also show similar improvements like IE9 when it comes to UI and customer satisfaction compared to older versions.

@May Fay: I feel like you’re reading my April’s Fools article on Smashing Magazine from last year, and not the one above. Funny though: A lot of the things I mentioned in that April’s Fools article may happen in IE9 (with regards to performance, at least).

@Terra: I agree with you. Firefox and Chrome, both younger than IE, is still way ahead of IE. Especially when it comes to add-ons.

Valtorc

May 10th, 2010

I will still use Chrome for performance, and Firefox for when I’m developing. Firefox has such amazing plugins that make web design and development a little bit easier; and saving MUCH time.

David Hammond

May 10th, 2010

“Cross-browser test results summary table comparing HTML5/CSS3 support”

That’s very misleading. That table shows the results of testing a specific set of test cases that Microsoft developed. For example, it doesn’t test any aspect of canvas support, it doesn’t test any aspect of background-size, background-clip, background-origin, background-quantity, etc. It just tests some specific scenarios with a few specific features, hand-selected by Microsoft.

Lee

May 10th, 2010

Bottom line is that IE9 is going to be awful, buggy, and slow. Just like IE1-8 was and just like IE10-Infinity will be. Period.

Rochelle Dancel

May 10th, 2010

Fabulous. Now if they could just force everyone using IE6 to upgrade…

Kobold Avenger

May 10th, 2010

Some of those tests, are based on the actual W3C recommendation, such as the Borders & Background test. They were testing specifically for “border-radius” rather than “-moz/-webkit-border-radius”, as you notice that Opera got pretty high in that test as it doesn’t require a prefix for a lot of the borders & background module.

Chris McCorkle

May 10th, 2010

Firebug support? No? I won’t be developing in IE9.

cara

May 10th, 2010

I think there are two things to consider.

Firstly M$ offering an improved web browser that is complient is a good thing for web developers. As odd as it is, people trust M$ software and specifically IE. So the fact is there are many people out there who would not consider an alternate browser because they don’t know it, will consider IE9 because it is just the latest version from M$.

Then the real problem is all the IE6 versions out there. Firstly just demanding upgrade like firefox does will not work because IE6 packed with windows 2000 the NT version which runs on windows 2000 server. Now many businesses still use this server so no hope for an IE upgrade from these users. It is not a case of these guys upgrading their browser, it is a case of them upgrading their entire server and consequent windows environment which costs lots and lots of many. In addition, Windows 2000 NT was and probably still is, even by todays an excellent platform and all the eyecandy offered by windows just does not warrent upgrading an entire system.

So what M$ should have done is provide a fixed version of IE6 which was complient and continued support untill such time that business environments moved on from Windows 2000.

This they did not do, so we web designers are left with the IE6 bug bear and it will persist for a while yet.

So yes, great, IE9 is looking good, but it does not solve the web designers porblem, creating sites that work in IE6 but have all the snaz offered by more modern browsers.

Keeping all this in mind, it then becomes a case of knowing your market. I have two site a maintain. One is a site where the target market is embassies and NGO’s many of whom are still slogging along using windows 2000 so for this site IE6 compatability is essential. The second site is an ICT site where most visitors are using alternate browsers so here I can use CSS 3 and other snazzy tricks with only minimal support for older browsers is required.

In summary … keep working M$ and web designers, know your market so you can make informed choices.

Louis

May 10th, 2010

Great job on this article, Jacob. Some good info here, and good to see a non-biased look at IE.

Unfortunately, Chris McCorkle’s comment above is spot on: Microsoft will never produce a developer’s browser. That ship has sailed, and they missed the boat (or whatever other corny methaphor you want to use). Firebug is just too valuable, which is the only reason developers haven’t switched to Chrome exclusively (although I pretty much have).

Ken Harper II

May 10th, 2010

Hi Jacob!

Good article; stirred up a lot of discussion and concern. Now if there was only some way of sharing this insight with those developing IE9 . . . .
Well done.
Take care.

mario

May 10th, 2010

IE9 advocacy is a delay tactic.

Even if MSFT does implement current web standards (many question their willingness and competency here), it will take some time for deploying IE9.
Past behaviour seems to suggest, that there won’t be a roll out of IE9 if it became available. So IE6 will hold back the Web for another while, even if IE7/IE8 are deployed widely and almost match Firefox 0.9 or Opera 5 in standards compliance.

Microsoft currently gains little from better HTML5 support. This will only help Google. So Microsoft is basically just feinting to not lose too much market share nad user loyality. IE9 is vaporware at the moment.

Darren

May 11th, 2010

Its great to see MS doing this.

Just wondering when IE ill be open source :L

cchana

May 11th, 2010

I don’t mean to sound sceptical, but this is probably the shorter of the two lists you could have created, because as history has shown, I’m sure there are plenty of things that ie9 is going do wrong!

standards compliance is going to be a big improvement and might make up for any other short comings, but unless there’s a significant boost in speed, Chrome is going to be my browser of choice for the foreseeable future. Not counting for the fact I’m on a Mac, lol!

Robin Carlsson

May 11th, 2010

Wow, I’m lookin forward to the day when web developers convince their clients to swtich from firefox to IE for a better experience.

Techwatch

May 11th, 2010

I turned away from IE years ago moved to FF but that became unstable and now use Chrome, I think IE was once great player but has lost its edge

Jacob Gube

May 11th, 2010

@Chris McCorkle: Agreed. But you can develop – CSS3/HTML5 more comfortably once IE9′s marketshare picks up, without having to worry about how IE users will see the pages you develop or experience (in terms of performance) – in Firefox.

@Louis: True. And also, check out the built-in Developer Tools (Ctrl/Cmd + Shift + I or Options > Developer > Developer Tools) in Google Chrome. The toolset (based off WebKit inspector) is pretty sick, and has a lot of what Firebug has (if not more).

Jordan Walker

May 11th, 2010

Chrome still is the bee’s knee of web browsers. IE has a long way to go!

Najam Siddiqi

May 11th, 2010

nice one and hope so that Micro Soft will keep going the development process.

Ishan Chattopadhyaya

May 12th, 2010

How much has Microsoft paid you for writing this article?

Chad

May 12th, 2010

I can’t help feel that Microsoft is becoming more “transparent” (which I really don’t think they are, but are only trying to portray the image that they are) because that is what people want, and not because that is the right way to do business.

ekom

May 12th, 2010

So that mean we have to test from IE6 – IE9 for CSS2,3 & HTML4, 5 for our web projects…it’s pretty annoy~

Soyale [MSFT]

May 13th, 2010

@Chris @Jacob @Louis

Install IE8 if you haven’t already and hit F12 – voila, built in developer tools : view/edit HTML & CSS, profile script, experiment with different browser modes.

The IE9 dev tools – available in the IE9 Platform Preview – also include a network monitor.

George

May 20th, 2010

I started using Firefox as my preferred browser lately. But looks like I can now happily switch over to IE9. Great article :)

Technology around

May 23rd, 2010

Yes, it seems that Microsoft has learnt a lesson from past mistakes. Support for HTML5 and utilization of GPU is indeed a great milestone for IE.

jellybeangamer

June 12th, 2010

Anything comparing stuff like IE9 to ff 3.6 is unfair.

Reason:
They are comparing the future to the present.
If they want a fair comparison, they should compare IE9 to FF 3.7 pre-alpha (available on the mozilla.org FTP). If they did this FF would beat the living crap out of IE9, just like ff 3.6 beats the living crap out of IE8.

Also:
The market share does not really count, as IE is a monopoly. May I remind everyone of the Microsoft vs. DOJ case… that was about ie being a monopoly.

Jellybean (Does not support web terrorism (AKA IE) because he uses Mozilla Firefox)

Bed Ridden

July 15th, 2010

my firefox is getting too fat. if adblock and mouse gestures were in IE9… i am sold.

Daquan Wright

July 25th, 2010

From my experience in IE Tester, the biggest hurdle is not that IE is non-compliant. It’s the fact that when you debug and hack the browser to work, you’re doing it for 3 or 4 versions that dominate the browser market. Debugging one browser is easy, tripling the effort (not so much).

Unless IE9 eradicates this split that dominates the market you will still have headaches while developing you’re pretty RIA’s.

Craig

September 12th, 2010

Great article, and agree Microsoft need to make some sort of upgrade incentive from the older browsers.

Get real!

September 12th, 2010

Wow,
I can’t believe that this are actually ‘developers’ complaining about the fact that users won’t be willing to upgrade their existing IE6, IE7 and IE8! What have you been developing throughout the years if you’re not capable of adding a few lines of code, notifying that users that the page won’t show correctly with an older version of IE?

In fact,
there are also people out there who still use old versions of Safari, Opera and FF! Last time I checked my statistics, I saw a lot of people still using FF 2.x …

Dooming a browser which isn’t even released yet only because of some people might avoid an upgrade does not sound very smart – at least not if this comes from people who claim to be ‘developers’!

I also find it a good move that MS is not releasing it for XP anymore! This way, they can focus on getting it right and perfect on Vista and W7. If people want to stick to an operating system that is now 2 generations behind, then they will have to live with the fact that over time fewer and fewer new software / technologies will be available for it.

Well,
I could go on for ages, yet, I am sure you all got my point!

Aio

September 15th, 2010

I just installed ie9 and i dont like too much favorite tab or status bar being no transparent like the rest of the deign. And I dont like the big button on the left be-back not completing the rounded shape.
Silly things but not very nice for me.
I would like to have the possibility to change the placement of all buttons, like home, favorites and tool freely, to change its positions and so..
I would have put the adress bar with favorites, home and so in the same line that minimize and close, and down the tabs, all transparent. Status bar transparent too. It seems to be something apart from the whole same block.
And another thing i would like to see in ie is the possibility of third party plugins, such as “search preview” in firefox.
IE9 looks fast, secure and lets see whats more to find out.
Salutes.

xzyrex

September 18th, 2010

well i downloaded it and installed it to my leptop.. when i open it a massage popup say the program stoped working and asked to close the program. do you guys have any idea why this heppening

Kevin

September 20th, 2010

I absolutely love microsoft`s new IE9, As a consumer it`s now become even more convenient for me and thats where the bottom line is with many people like me these days, Convenience, It`s very fast and robust and now it utilises my i7 930 and Ati 5970 to their maximum potential, Too many times with previous IE browser`s saw me and i`m sure alot of other users being frustrated not being able to use our hardware especially the GPU to render video`s and imaging due to their browser software limitations, The fact “now” i can use my hardware with IE9 GPU-powered HTML5 graphics to view videos, Preview crystal clear images, photo`s and surf website`s for a more richer experience at super fast speeds, Can only imagine what kind of deals are being struck up by the manufacturing companies of computer hardware that already utilise Microsoft`s software, And there lies the other problem for browser`s such as Mozilla, Safari and Opera, “Who has more resourses” when it comes to satisfying consumer expectations…(Microsoft).

Whoever

September 21st, 2010

I just downloaed IE9 today for try it and see it what looks like BUT unable to open web browser because the program stoped working! that what xzyrex says. so went back to IE8 looks better. you better leave it alone and wait until get new laptop always will be IE9 and next few years later will be IE10 without download…..download is not good. I just figure.

Azer

September 24th, 2010

I couldn’t find any chance to IE9 since it’s a necessity to buy and install a new operating system and even a computer. And wrote a blog about distribution and business models of Microsoft: http://io.kodfabrik.com/2010/09/23/ie9.html

Tez

October 22nd, 2010

IE9 is an improvement, but the 2 things that MS will continue to get wrong is.

1. They will probably not force all vista and win7 machines to install it(?)

2. People on XP cannot run it…this still means coding for IE6/7/8/9 for the next 5-10 years…and even then IE7/8 code will probably be required after that!!!

Paul

November 1st, 2010

Used firefox, used Chrome, used netscape pretty much used them all because of those awkward people that want to use every browser other than the one provided by microsoft soley for the reason it was provided by microsoft.

Im sorry but if I did not have to test on other browsers, I would never install anything but IE. It has done a job and done a job well for years. as a developer its the anti microsoft rhetoric that causes more problems than microsofts software.

colinbashbash

January 17th, 2011

Bleh to the browser graph… i’m sure you could find more up to date information at http://caniuse.com

dan

January 22nd, 2011

@paul
“It has done a job and done a job well for years. as a developer its the anti microsoft rhetoric that causes more problems than microsofts software.”
– you must not develop very much if you think internet explorer is actually good, and has done a good job for years, no its not the anti microsoft rhetoric, its IEs inability to adhere to web standards that has developers fuming all these years. I think if you are as pigheaded as yoiu are to believe that “I would never install anything but IE” then you really are a stupid web developer. whats the bet you use frontpage hey?

Emanuel

January 27th, 2011

I’m sure MS is on the right track… Windows 7 and IE9 is what everone needed and not that horrible Windows Vista and IE8.

Max Developer

February 23rd, 2011

I’m not sure why we all argue over this – If any other developer or development team were to put out such a badly coded piece of junk no-one would even bother with it – website support would fail as web developers refused to even consider the thing, and the program would die on the vine as users were forced to start using other browsers that actually work properly.

Do we?

No. We double or even triple our workloads in an effort to make our latest creations work on just ONE badly coded browser; We KNOW that everything will work on all of the others – its only IE that breaks everything.

Businesses especially (I’m a commercial developer) like to crow on about supporting everyone and ‘Market Share’, but if no-one bothered to make their sites work with IE the market share would plummet and the problem would soon disappear in a puff of standards compliance.

I am currently writing a number of browser based applications, and in every single instance the only problems are caused by IE – even to the point where different versions of IE fail at different stages – Its not as if we are even dealing with just “IE”, we have to make changes to encompass several versions that are all equally diabolical, but diabolical in different ways!

I hate to jump on bandwagons but when it comes to IE I loath it in all of its incarnations – I see no reason why this version or any subsequent versions will be any different as long as everyone indulges MS in their broken dreams of internet domination – I swear that half the time I could believe that they deliberately make their browsers non-compliant just out of pique that their browser does not dominate everything.

Sorry for the long rant, but its only us, the web developers, who can drive IE to compliance or obscurity by not supporting it – Image if Facebook suddenly withdrew support? Would all those IE users stop using Facebook? No! They would install a browser that worked with it!

Suffo

March 11th, 2011

Isn’t it easy to dominate a market, when you are the main or most important power behind an emerging standard? Had the W3C the nerve to say “No” from time to time, the web could actually be a happy place; I do not care a lot for IE.

Long live XHTML.

Rey Pinyoko

March 15th, 2011

haters gonna hate no matter what happens..

Melli

March 15th, 2011

IE sucks, that’s all…

Suffo

March 15th, 2011

Readers read, no matter what’s hip.
SCNR ;->

Melli

March 15th, 2011

Me and my friends web developpers won’t do absolutely no efforts to fix our works for any versions of IE. Just because MS deliberately let all that things go on.

Why do you all support it anymore !!! I know some of you just have no choice for professional reasons and I really complain you; But you are some way responsible of that situation.

IE9 will be a real piece of s*** and you know it.

The only things MS did well are the DirectX libraries…

wansai

March 16th, 2011

Melli, are you really a developer? The fact is, you’d be *not smart* to not support IE. A lot of people still use it and will ONLY ever use it.

It’s just basic common sense. If your customers are using one thing, even if you don’t like it, you have to support it. It doesn’t matter what your personal opinions on it are.

IE9 released. I’m a firefox user and I can say without question that IE9 is good.

Suffo

March 18th, 2011

Officially now: I don’t get it.

What is the purpose of yet another standard if not to allow web-pages to become “more useful” or let web-designers (or application-developers) do their work with less hassle.

As far as I can see (and read), the progress in IE is all about HTML5 which, when compared to the achievement and possibilities of XHTML has almost … nothing to offer than letting people who are more fond of HTML4 or in general like adding funny stuff to a media which was basically there to present textual contents, have their fun.

Nice use-interfaces are programmed with GUI-frameworks. I do not need HTML5 for that. The web, on the other side, is another thing.

In short. Who needs HTML5 may be in need of something like IE9. Who does not, does not. I don’t.

Mike

May 12th, 2011

IE9 is a piece of trash. Each extension/plugin get’s its own toolbar? wtf? The favorites tab has been moved to the right? But the favorites button is all the way to the left? But wait if you click that button it ONLY adds it to your bookmarks toolbar? WTF is this? Wait why is my tab on the same line as my URL field? Wtf is this

TLDR: IE9 is a piece of garbage, yet another botched piece of software from MS. What a shame – Do they even care that Apple is CRUSHING THEM? I’d be embarrased

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