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Internet Explorer 12 to feature 'substantial changes' to the user interface?

 

In an official Microsoft blog post late last month, it was revealed that the Redmond giant had already begun development on the next version of Internet Explorer - currently known as Internet Explorer 12 (IE12). Microsoft outlined some of these new features and indicated that they were in development, as part of Microsoft's commitment of delivering interoperable implementations for the latest features on the modern Web.

 

But it seems like Microsoft has more up it's sleeve with the development of IE12. One of our readers reported an issue with Internet Explorer 11's bookmarks bar requiring some user interface improvements. The issue was reported to Microsoft's Internet Explorer team on Microsoft Connect. While this may be considered a minor issue (if you want to call it that), the interesting part about this is Microsoft's response. "Thanks for the feedback. We're making substantial changes to the UI, we'll keep this in mind. Best Regards, The Internet Explorer Team."

 

From the sounds of it, Microsoft is looking to make some big changes to Internet Explorer 12, especially to the user interface. Will there be changes for the desktop or the Modern interface? Or will it be for both interfaces? Details are nonexistent right now but we are sure to hear more about this as development continues. Mozilla Firefox, Internet Explorer's primary competitor, recently underwent a major user interface overhaul too.

 

Thusfar, Microsoft has outlined a few new features for IE12, such as Web Audio, Media Capture, and HTTP/2 support. Web Audio, for those that did not know, is a specification that describes a high-level JavaScript API for processing and synthesizing audio in web applications. Media Capture allows access to a device's camera or microphone, while HTTP/2 is a major revision of the Web's protocol and is intended to decrease the wait time spent loading web pages. You can see a list of planned features by visiting status.modern.ie.

 

In the mean time, what interface improvements would you like to see in Internet Explorer 12?

 

Source: winbeta.org

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In the mean time, what interface improvements would you like to see in Internet Explorer 12?

Proper extensions. Not plugins, not ActiveX components, just good old-fashioned extensions. IE lately has lots of potential, some really nice features, but that's a deal breaker for me.
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that's one thing i can completely agree with. the ActiveX stuff needs to go. there are better ways to go about it that is more standard and doesn't break pages on other browsers

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that's one thing i can completely agree with. the ActiveX stuff needs to go. there are better ways to go about it that is more standard and doesn't break pages on other browsers

I wouldn't say it needs to go, it's used quite often in corporate setups, has some pretty spiffy capabilities.. but yea it's very inappropriate for the end-user for usability and security reasons.

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Interesting to see what they do, and if they want to bring extensions then I'm betting they'll be C#/.NET based at this point.

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I'm not clear whether the significant changes to the UI mentioned in that comment refer to the general UI, or the UI of the favorites management system.

 

Regardless, besides extensions, I'd like to see more done with the about:Tabs page - maybe "live" slices of sites that are pinned there.

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I'm not clear whether the significant changes to the UI mentioned in that comment refer to the general UI, or the UI of the favorites management system.

 

Regardless, besides extensions, I'd like to see more done with the about:Tabs page - maybe "live" slices of sites that are pinned there.

 

Even if they don't change the general window UI layout and only the favorites and settings/options bits, those two would be big at this point.  Internet Options has to be redone, heck they should've redone that years ago.

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Internet Options has to be redone, heck they should've redone that years ago.

Heh that config dialog's been like that since Windows 95. Getting a tad stale.
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Proper extensions. Not plugins, not ActiveX components, just good old-fashioned extensions. IE lately has lots of potential, some really nice features, but that's a deal breaker for me.

extensions are a thing of the past.

the trend is to sandbox everything, to avoid people getting infected by malicious apps that access their personal data or put ads everywhere.

it doesn't make any sense to sandbox everything in the OS, and at the same time let the doors wide open for malicious extension developers.

that's what Google did with ChromeOS, and it turns out that if it had a significant market share, adwares developers could still encourage extension developers to include adware code in their extension (like happens with PC/mac software)

or even worse, malicious devs,could publish malicious extensions that steal passwords disguised as some kind of FLV downloader.

this is not fiction, there are already malicious extensions that work on Chrome OS.

thus, I don't think you'll see Chrome-like extensions in IE.

however, MS may try more secure approaches such as WebSlices, Accelerators which add features to the browser without letting malicious source run any code capable of stealing data.

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I'm not sure what "substantial" changes they could make. The IE11 UI is the best one they've had so far for IE. Really hope they don't end up cluttering it up again.

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Extensions written in JavaScript (or more likely TypeScript as it is Microsoft) is the biggest missing feature in IE for me. A better interface for managing favourites is badly needed too. I actually think the interface in IE11 is great though. It is minimal and keeps out of the way which is what you want in a browser. The options screen needs a lot of work though, it is just horrible to find things and has not changed since IE5.

 

I would actually really like Microsoft to do a full reboot of IE as a separate browser with all of the cruft removed. They did it for Metro and a cut down version with things like ActiveX totally removed would be pretty great :yes:

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Heh that config dialog's been like that since Windows 95. Getting a tad stale.

look no further than IE/Metro's new settings panels (in the charms bar).

the classic Internet options panel will probably not change.

Microsoft has already said a few years ago that any change would have to bring significant improvements to the users. Microsoft can't change control panel user interfaces just for the sake of making them prettier, because there are tons of documentations referring to the current UI, and making changes would require rewriting these documentations (not a problem for Microsoft's own documentation. It's a problem for big enterprises who have lot of internal deployment configuration guides, and for books teaching Windows administration).

I would actually really like Microsoft to do a full reboot of IE as a separate browser with all of the cruft removed. They did it for Metro and a cut down version with things like ActiveX totally removed would be pretty great :yes:

as you said, Microsoft already did it with Metro (and WP too).

IE no longer supports ActiveX and BHOs (native extensions).

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extensions are a thing of the past.

So are inextensible browsers. Last one I used that no way to add functionality was back around the turn of the century. Not denying there's security risks, that's obvious, but flat out removing an absurdly useful feature is an incredible step backwards. No flexibility, no thanks, easy as that.. got alternatives.

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So are inextensible browsers. Last one I used that no way to add functionality was back around the turn of the century. Not denying there's security risks, that's obvious, but flat out removing an absurdly useful feature is an incredible step backwards. No flexibility, no thanks, easy as that.. got alternatives.

I'm sure that Microsoft is fine with that.

very few people actually use extensions. Some of them who use extensions might as well use separate apps (such as apps to browse and download YouTube videos, rather than a browser extension).

if 1% continue to use Firefox or chrome because of the lack of extensions in IE, then Microsoft still has 99% of potential users who will be interested to have a trouble-free browsing experience on a WindowsRT-like OS (that includes WP).

By trouble-free I mean no malwares/adwares due to malicious extensions, and no crashes/performances issues due to poorly programmed extensions.

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very few people actually use extensions.

Got a source for that one? Because I'm looking at both the Firefox and Chrome extension pages and I see millions of users calling you out on that statement, sorry.

Some of them who use extensions might as well use separate apps (such as apps to browse and download YouTube videos, rather than a browser extension).

And another big step backwards in usability.
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Got a source for that one? Because I'm looking at both the Firefox and Chrome extension pages and I see millions of users calling you out on that statement, sorry.

And another big step backwards in usability.

Should probably separate enterprises from consumers here. I would agree few enterprises use extensions, and consumer do a lot. Probably why most consumer PCs are infested with malware and viruses.

As long as it's done securely and can be managed centrally and with existing granularity that IE GPOs provide, do whatever. But security is more important that third party extensions to a web browser, unless you're talking consumers.

As a "consumer" I personally have never used extensions, probably why I stick with IE. Actually I have used ACtiveX if you consider those extensions. I just don't do that much "stuff" with my browser. But when I visit friends that have all kinds of useless crap tacked on to their web browser and wonder why their PC always acts funny or runs slow, or adds just pop-up.

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Proper extensions.

The one, and probably ONLY reason I don't use IE. It's fast, secure... but without extensions, what's the point?

 

Only time I use it these days is on a Windows 8 touchscreen laptop or Surface because of the gestures.

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Got a source for that one? Because I'm looking at both the Firefox and Chrome extension pages and I see millions of users calling you out on that statement, sorry.

you know there is more than a billion internet users, right?

guess what percentage a few million users out of 1.5billion make?

And another big step backwards in usability.

funny, more and more often I see people complaining online how bloated, slow, and crash prone their Firefox or Chrome has become.

almost every time, extensions are the culprit. And often, it's extensions that were installed by 3rd party apps and that the user don't actually want to use.

so I would tend to think that a browser fully of crappy extensions is actually less useable than an extension-less browser.

seriously, what extensions do you use?

everything most people need is built in IE:

-developer tools

-adblocker (Tracking Protection Lists)

-plugin blocker (ActiveX filtering)

-inline text tools (accelerators, to provide things such as translation or mapping).

-tabs and password syncing (win8)

-inline phone numbers highlighting (for VOIP apps)

what more do you need?

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The one, and probably ONLY reason I don't use IE. It's fast, secure... but without extensions, what's the point?

.

the vast majority of people don't use extensions.

do you really think their web browser is useless because of that?

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To be honest, the only extensions I've ever really wanted for IE are adblock plus and ghostery.  I use other extensions in Firefox but they're generally only necessary to patch shortcomings in the UI.

 

Having said that, it's pretty clear that a large number of users consider extensions to be a necessary browser feature and it baffles me that Microsoft haven't added better support even if that large number only represents a minority of users. 

 

By the way, TPLs are good but they're not as good as ABP.

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As a "consumer" I personally have never used extensions, probably why I stick with IE. Actually I have used ACtiveX if you consider those extensions. I just don't do that much "stuff" with my browser. But when I visit friends that have all kinds of useless crap tacked on to their web browser and wonder why their PC always acts funny or runs slow, or adds just pop-up.

As with any software you have to take a measure of responsibility for how you use it and not just blindly do "stuff". This is no exception. I currently have 20something active extensions in my browser, and somehow my computer doesn't act funny, run slow, and doesn't add pop-ups.

 

you know there is more than a billion internet users, right?

guess what percentage a few million users out of 1.5billion make?

You don't say? And it's still a far cry from "very few." Add up a few million here, a few million there across hundreds of extensions.. "very few" suddenly looks more like an "awful lot."

 

seriously, what extensions do you use?

ABP - Miles ahead of TPL's in usability. How do you add an obnoxious script or element to a TPL easily? How do you see when something that's being blocked is messing up the page? TPL's have zero control.

Element Hiding Helper for ABP - Makes ABP even better

Classic Theme Restorer - Some of us like to change how our browser looks and behaves.. If I wanted f'ing Chrome I'd use it.

3 or 4 addons just adding to the flexibility of the download manager alone

Extended Copy Menu - Copy as RTF, HTML or plain text

FireBug - Dev stuff

FlashGot - Obvious

ForecastFox - Just because.

Google/Yandex Search Link Fix - Because watching Google turn say cnn.com into a URL that's a mile long is always fun for copy/pasting

gTranslate - I work with a few sites in East Europe and it comes in handy

JSONView - Developer stuff

LastPass - Kind of obvious

Linkificator - Converts text links into actual clickable links

LongURL Please - Expands shortened URL's, no hiding bad stuff behind a shortened link

NoScript - Security

NoSquint - Site specific zoom levels

Referrer Control - Kind of obvious

Speed Dial FVD - because about:blank just isn't doing it for me anymore

Tab Mix Plus - Usability improvements

TinEye Reverse Search - Obvious

WOT - Obvious

Flexibility obviously sucks. I should have just stayed with Lynx and called it a day.

 

funny, more and more often I see people complaining online how bloated, slow, and crash prone their Firefox or Chrome has become.

Again, see above. Show a hair of responsibility and it'll work beautifully.

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To be honest, the only extensions I've ever really wanted for IE are adblock plus and ghostery. I use other extensions in Firefox but they're generally only necessary to patch shortcomings in the UI.

Having said that, it's pretty clear that a large number of users consider extensions to be a necessary browser feature and it baffles me that Microsoft haven't added better support even if that large number only represents a minority of users.

By the way, TPLs are good but they're not as good as ABP.

why make 100% people potentially insecure just to satisfy the needs of 1%?

furthermore, if everyone used adblockers, which seems to be the only real use of extensions, do you think the web would still be free?

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furthermore, if everyone used adblockers, which seems to be the only real use of extensions, do you think the web would still be free?

That's funny.. someone touting the evils of potentially naughty extensions completely overlooking all the malware that gets served by rogue ads. Brilliant.

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No offense Max, but Firefox barely runs ABP and Noscript without running at a snail's pace. How do you have 10+ extensions running??? That's a nightmare for more reasons than one.

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As with any software you have to take a measure of responsibility for how you use it and not just blindly do "stuff". This is no exception. I currently have 20something active extensions in my browser, and somehow my computer doesn't act funny, run slow, and doesn't add pop-ups.

it takes just one extension to wreak havoc on your browser and steal you data/passwords.

http://arstechnica.com/security/2014/01/malware-vendors-buy-chrome-extensions-to-send-adware-filled-updates/

and since extensions can be updated, any extension can turn into a malware/adware at any moment.

You don't say? And it's still a far cry from "very few." Add up a few million here, a few million there across hundreds of extensions.. "very few" suddenly looks more like an "awful lot."

less than a percent, that is very few.

even if we're talking a few millions, in the context of web browser users, that's very, very low.

ABP - Miles ahead of TPL's in usability. How do you add an obnoxious script or element to a TPL easily? How do you see when something that's being blocked is messing up the page? TPL's have zero control.

Element Hiding Helper for ABP - Makes ABP even better

Classic Theme Restorer - Some of us like to change how our browser looks and behaves.. If I wanted f'ing Chrome I'd use it.

3 or 4 addons just adding to the flexibility of the download manager alone

Extended Copy Menu - Copy as RTF, HTML or plain text

FireBug - Dev stuff

FlashGot - Obvious

ForecastFox - Just because.

Google/Yandex Search Link Fix - Because watching Google turn say cnn.com into a URL that's a mile long is always fun for copy/pasting

gTranslate - I work with a few sites in East Europe and it comes in handy

JSONView - Developer stuff

LastPass - Kind of obvious

Linkificator - Converts text links into actual clickable links

LongURL Please - Expands shortened URL's, no hiding bad stuff behind a shortened link

NoScript - Security

NoSquint - Site specific zoom levels

Referrer Control - Kind of obvious

Speed Dial FVD - because about:blank just isn't doing it for me anymore

Tab Mix Plus - Usability improvements

TinEye Reverse Search - Obvious

WOT - Obvious

Flexibility obviously sucks. I should have just stayed with Lynx and called it a day.

Again, see above. Show a hair of responsibility and it'll work beautifully.

none of the extension you list make me feel I'm missing something by using IE.

furthermore, relying on things like noscript for security is a bit ridiculous. Most websites requires JS support for basic things such as viewing a picture full screen. So you spend your time white listing sites that may have been hacked and potentially serving exploits.

that's why noscript is worthless.

modern browsers all have a sandbox (not Firefox unfortunately), and with EMET the risk of getting infected through a 0day is extremely low (no exploit infecting IE/EMET has ever been spotted in the wild).

so why make your browser less useable by running noscript, and end up with something actually less secure?

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