Chances are, you’ve used Internet Explorer to browse the Internet. After all, Internet Explorer has been around a long time and recently celebrated its 15th birthday! The current version of Internet Explorer, IE8, accounts for nearly one-third of the people browsing the Internet. So you might be surprised to learn that six months ago, Microsoft gave web developers around the world an early look at what was coming in the next version of Internet Explorer, IE9. Now, with the Internet Explorer 9 Beta just a few days away, Internet Explorer blogger and Microsoft employee James Pratt is here to share with the WordPress.com community what Internet Explorer 9 is all about.
It’s a real pleasure to have been invited to write a blog for WordPress.com bloggers here on Freshly Pressed. As bloggers, you know that the Internet has revolutionized the way we communicate. Fifteen years ago, it was very difficult to take, for example, an interest in cooking and turn it into something that pays the bills. Sure you could write a book but would anyone publish it? Maybe you could create a magazine but how would you get distribution? For many of us, blogging is a way of connecting with like-minded individuals all over the globe.
Behind the Blogging Curtain
Publishing a blog and having people read it is the last part of a chain that starts with web
developers and web designers. Behind every great blogging service like WordPress.com, there’s some magic behind the links, graphics and color schemes. Long before you sit down to write your blog posts, web developers and web designers have spent hours, days and weeks writing the code that bring your blog to life. Everything that’s awesome on the web starts in the head of a web developer and web designer which is why it was so important that the first people we introduced IE9 to were web developers and designers.
When you talk to web developers and web designers about their expectations for the web, you hear a few common themes:
- When they write their site, they expect it to work the same way in all browsers
- They want to be able to use modern web standards* so that they can create web experiences that aren’t possible today
- They want their sites to be fast and responsive – both for the websites they build today as well as the ones they build tomorrow
*Think of web standards as the tools developers use to create web sites
Engaging with Web Developers and Designers
Six months ago, we released the first Internet Explorer Platform Preview to developers and designers so they could see how we were progressing in each of these areas. The Internet Explorer Platform Preview isn’t a full web browser, it’s just the part of IE9 that turns site code into the page you and your readers see and use. The Platform Preview doesn’t have features you’d expect from a browser – like a back button or address bar. The Platform Preview allows developers to see where we’re heading and to start to imagine what their sites might be like in the future. Over the last 6 months, through 4 updates to the Internet Explorer Platform Preview, we’ve unveiled support for many new web standards that will allow developers to create amazing new site experiences – for example HTML5 features like CANVAS will allow websites to easily include animations and transitions. CSS3 enables a new range of styles for your blog.
Most important of all is our innovation around using the graphics hardware (GPU) in your PC. The browser you’re using today only uses about 10% of the total computing power of your PC. With Internet Explorer 9, we’re unlocking the other 90% by using your GPU to hardware accelerate graphics, text and video.
The Future of the Web
What does hardware accelerating video, graphics and text mean? In the near future, web sites will be more graphically rich and immersive than they’ve ever been before. To illustrate this potential, with every Internet Explorer Platform Previews, we’ve been unveiling demos showing the sort of web experiences that web developers can create on a fully hardware accelerated browser. Imagine being able to flip through books on Amazon or being able to literally dive into the Flickr pictures on your favorite topic. On the Internet Explorer Test Drive site, you can see demos of conceptual experiences for IMDB, Flickr and Amazon. There’s also lots of demo eye candy like FishIE Tank, Hamster Dance Revolution, IE Beatz and Psychedlic Browsing. Note: These demos work best in a fully hardware accelerated browser like the Internet Explorer Platform Preview. If you’re using another browser, your mileage may vary.
To save you installing the Platform Preview to get the best experience with these demos, here are a couple of videos you can watch to see our demos in action:
Feedback from the developer community on IE9 has been overwhelmingly positive. On
September 15th, we’ll be releasing the Internet Explorer 9 Beta which will be the first time the rest of our customers – people like you – will be able to download and try the full Internet Explorer 9 experience. It’s going to be fascinating to see how concepts like our IMDB and Flickr demos have inspired sites like WordPress.com to do new things with their sites!
Put a note in your calendar to check back here and to visit www.beautyoftheweb.com on 9/15.