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03.05.11

IE10 Preview

Only four weeks after Internet Explorer 9 (IE9) was officially released, Microsoft revealed a preview of their next Internet browser, Internet Explorer 10 (IE10). The announcement was recently made at the MIX 11 conference in Las Vegas, on April 12th, 2011.

If Microsoft usually takes its time between each IE release, unlike competitors who release new versions more often, such as Firefox and Chrome, this does not seem to be the case with IE9 and IE10. The time lapse between two Internet Explorer versions has never been so short. According to the IE team, the reasoning behind the short time lapse is that “showing pre-release software in meaningful updates every 8 to 12 weeks is a better way to go than to release a full-blown new browser on the world every couple of months, as Google does and Firefox plans to1.

Though just a preview,IE10 is already available to download on the Microsoft’s website. However Microsoft has not given any information concerning its official release.

In terms of CSS 3 and HTML 5 support, as well as speed performance, IE10 seems to only offers a slight improvement to IE9 rather than offering any awesome new features such as did IE9 for IE8. Indeed, as the corporate vice president for Internet Explorer Dean Hachamovitch explains, Internet Explorer 10 is designed to offer more support for CSS 3 and HTML5, such as the Flexible Box Layout, Grid Alignment, Multi-Column Layout, Gradients and ECMAScript (another name for JavaScript).

To test their new browser, Microsoft released some test-drives for those who would like to see it in action. Emerging standards like CSS 3 Multi-column, Grid and Flexible Box Layouts, and CSS 3 Gradients can be tested along with ECMAScript 5 Strict Mode.

The most surprising news regarding IE10 is highlighted when trying to install the preview on a non-Windows 7 OS.  An alert appears that says “Windows Platform Preview does not support any operating system earlier than Windows 7”.  This is not Microsoft’s first attempt to push users to switch to their latest OS (Windows 7). While IE9 only runs on Windows Vista and 7, leaving millions of XP users in the lurch, IE10 will now leave Vista users behind as well.

Microsoft argues that “Windows Vista customers have a great browsing experience with IE9, but in building IE10 we are focused on continuing to drive the kind of innovation that only happens when you take advantage of the ongoing improvements in modern operating systems and modern hardware2.

While competitors like Firefox and Chrome focus on interoperability by offering their browser on as many OSs as possible, Microsoft is going the opposite direction, opting for running their browser with their latest OS (Windows 7) in order to optimise integration and performance. With the success of Windows 7, it may not appear to be such as a big risk as some users might suggest.

Perhaps Internet Explorer is catching up with its competitors?

References
1 Internet Explorer 10 Platform Preview 1: Hands On
2 Internet Explorer 10 Drops Vista Support


Further Reading
Windows Vista: No IE10 for you
Microsoft Unveils Internet Explorer 10 Platform Preview
Internet Explorer Platform Preview Guide for Developers
Internet Explorer 10 Won't Run on Vista
ECMAScript 5 Strict Mode, JSON, and More

Vincent Patry, Developer

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