Internet Explorer 10 to dump plug-in support for Metro

Windows 8 will come with Internet Explorer 10, the next version of Microsoft's web browser. As we have reported before, IE 10 will allow users to choose from either a standard web browser interface or the touch screen-based Metro interface. But another important element of IE 10 is that its Metro interface won't be using plug-in programs, such as Abobe's Flash, that run on many web sites.

In a new entry on the official Windows 8 blog site, Microsoft's Dean Hachamovitch states, "For the web to move forward and for consumers to get the most out of touch-first browsing, the Metro style browser in Windows 8 is as HTML5-only as possible, and plug-in free. The experience that plug-ins provide today is not a good match with Metro style browsing and the modern HTML5 web. Running Metro style IE plug-in free improves battery life as well as security, reliability, and privacy for consumers." He adds, "Providing compatibility with legacy plug-in technologies would detract from, rather than improve, the consumer experience of browsing in the Metro style UI."

Hachamovitch says that a larger number of web sites are now running without any need for plug-in programs such as the HTML5 version of the YouTube video site. He states, "We examined the use of plug-ins across the top 97,000 sites world-wide, a corpus which includes local sites outside the US in significant depth. Many of the 62 (percent) of these sites that currently use Adobe Flash already fall back to HTML5 video in the absence of plug-in support."

Some sites that have ActiveX plug-ins will continue to be supported in the standard user interface of IE 10. But it's clear that Microsoft wants to move on with the Metro interface. Hachamovitch  says, "Plug-in free browsers today already deliver great experiences with well-authored HTML5 content. These experiences get even better with touch in Metro style IE."

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I bet the real reason that plug-ins were axed is because of how windows 8 treats legacy applications. The moment a legacy program runs, you are back at the legacy desktop. Who knows what mode or helper programs a plugin uses that will pull the user out of the metro interface and back to the legacy desktop.

Since they're dumping plugins, it would be cool if you could be browsing a web site in Metro IE10 and the site could detect that a certain app is installed, and then do deep linking into that app. This would allow scenarios like browsing the Netflix site, then you click a video and it opens and plays the video in the Netflix app.

Metro IE 10 does do that already. Try navigated to the Build website, and it informs you that you have a build app you could use. (the favicon changes into a button for the app)

I hated this at first. But in all honesty I don't really care. Apple's already made the plug-in archetecture irrelivent. The full version is there if you really need it, but more importantly, any silverlight app (which is flash, MS style), can become a full "app". Instead of Farmville on Facebook, it'll just be Farmville on your start screen.

@brian miller, i don't think you can. There is no DRM available for HTML5 yet, which is why bbc iplayer etc don't have html5 video players.

torrentthief said,
@brian miller, i don't think you can. There is no DRM available for HTML5 yet, which is why bbc iplayer etc don't have html5 video players.

Html5 video can and does do DRM. It is up to the html5 script/framework, and/or the codec.Microsoft already has a Silverlight framework port using html5 with media services that has most of Silverlight functionality.

With Html5, it is up to the codec, and the HTTP media server. Currently IIS handles this server side already, and it is up to the other media server technologies to also support it.

This again is why Zune was important, as these media technologies are from this area of Microsoft development. Zune expanded the functionality of media services, that added technology to IIS, gave us HD streaming methods, protected content, and smooth streaming.

How do you hide your MP4 video source in the new HTML 5 <video> tags, if you don't want people to be able to download or share the video source URL?

Brian Miller said,
How do you hide your MP4 video source in the new HTML 5 <video> tags, if you don't want people to be able to download or share the video source URL?


There are a few tricks to do this, or just wait a bit for Microsoft to finish the HTML5 frameworks that replace sliverlight. Some of the work can be seen here:

http://playerframework.codeple...res&referringTitle=Home

The main goal is to fully implement Silverlight's client functionality including Smooth Streaming.

However, obscuring and packaging and doing smooth streaming through HTML5 is something that requires IIS as the server, due to the bitrate change, and other functionality that only IIS inherently supports with its media services.

(The HTML5 video/media framework Microsoft is working on is an adaptation of what they did for iOS to deliver content to the iPhone and iPad from not support sources. BTW Most video on the iPhone/iPad is processed, converted, and delivered by Microsoft to Apple's support format. This happens by both the content providers working with Microsoft and also Apple working with Microsoft. This is how Flash Video (Hulu, YouTube), and more advanced (Netflix HD) content is viewable on iOS.) ***So any Apple fan that hates Microsoft, remember this when you are watching a movie on your iPhone or iPad.

Luckily WP7 has a OS level codec handler, and supports most codecs that it uses MF to shove through the GPU, like Windows 7 does. (Which means it is codec agnostic, and any codec can be added to the OS and work as an inherently support codec.)

Sotcr said,
And what about Java?

Can you say, thank goodness it is finally going to die?

It had potential, and should have been the basis of .NET, WPF, Silverlight, and even morphed into HTML5.

However, Sun's ego was hurt when Microsoft produced a faster version of the JVM, which is what started the 'Microsoft is modifying JAVA too much crap'. (Cause Apple, IBM, and others were allowed to make OS specific API access to JAVA, it was only Microsoft they stopped.)

Sun then adopted more of the optimization Microsoft introduced, like the JIT, and still couldn't get performance even close to the Microsoft JVM (which still is faster than Sun 10 years later.)

Sun didn't have the right people working on JAVA to extend the capabilities and unify a cross platform model that was optimized enough to be viable when they had the chance.

Sadly, crap that is derived from the JAVA model, like Dalvik in Android, is still around, and slowly killing Android at the same time.

Microsoft over the years has been sitting back, and advancing various technologies, and now that some of them are coming together, the rest of the industry 'once again' is starting to go, what the heck, as they stopped paying attention.

Any good computer scientist has been watching this come along starting from the creation of .NET, the expansion of media technologies and Zune, the XBox 360 (as it delivered new GPU technologies and graphic models), Vista that incorporated a new video driver and GPU virtualization/scheduling system, and then IE9 was the final technology piece, of changing web sites from displayed content over HTTP to treating all HTML as applications.

The final is why Windows 8 can do HTML5 inside the OS so well, as it really is using HTML5 like XAML which Vista was already good at shifting XML constructs to .NET code, and .NET was getting fast enough to rival native code.

Having the NT kernel, that is very fluid and far more portable than other OSes (the only reason Linux is see as portable, is because people can see and modify the code to make it work on other platforms) - NT is portable, because Microsoft only has to code to the HAL and just create a new HAL for any architecture and recompile, and this incorporates a massive layers of an OS, not just the kernel.

Sun, thanks for pushing Microsoft to dump your crap years ago... It seemed stupid at the time, but computer engineers/scientists across the world are a bit happier for not letting JAVA become any bigger and Microsoft going back to what they did best, compilers and runtime code technologies, or Windows would be a sad modernization of Android full of JAVA crap instead of .NET and HTML5.

thenetavenger said,

Can you say, thank goodness it is finally going to die?

It had potential, and should have been the basis of .NET, WPF, Silverlight, and even morphed into HTML5.

Imagine if Sun had allowed Microsoft to actually make a go of J++. The last decade of managed programming on Windows would have been beyond painful.

It's not just that the .NET runtime is better than the JVM. Until Java 7, simple language features like accessors (C# 1.0), generics (2.0), properties (1.0), and lambdas (3.0) were either missing from Java or completely botched in implementation. That made C# anywhere from 3-10 years ahead of Java in basic developer productivity.

It's DirectX vs. OpenGL all over again. Tortoise and the hare. Java took a snooze in the middle of the race and woke up to find out that C# had lapped it.

ugh, I think Metro is built upon silverlight, so I don't think a little change in implementation would be that hard.

Scaling flash object would be pretty hard I'd imagine. Beside videos sites and facebook games, flash is all annoying ads. So that's half of the ads eliminated in your browsing experience =D

FMH said,
But Silverlight will be an exception, right?

Silverlight will not be an exception.

ActiveX, SilverLight, Flash and others on standard version only.

Pepeda said,

Silverlight will not be an exception.

ActiveX, SilverLight, Flash and others on standard version only.

The thinking here is that if you need that stuff, flash, sl etc that you're probably doing something like a web app for example. I mean Flash player itself IS a web app, so in the end you can just as well write a Metro "app" instead of having it running in the browser. Look at the weather app for example in the Win8 preview, that could just as well run inside IE10 or any browser I bet.

Also by running in this mode you do cut down the target vector for exploits and so on, lets face it, flash is buggy and has holes, this does make it safer. When you switch out of the metro IE10 and back into desktop IE10 you'll get all the add-ons though.

GP007 said,

The thinking here is that if you need that stuff, flash, sl etc that you're probably doing something like a web app for example. I mean Flash player itself IS a web app, so in the end you can just as well write a Metro "app" instead of having it running in the browser. Look at the weather app for example in the Win8 preview, that could just as well run inside IE10 or any browser I bet.

Also by running in this mode you do cut down the target vector for exploits and so on, lets face it, flash is buggy and has holes, this does make it safer. When you switch out of the metro IE10 and back into desktop IE10 you'll get all the add-ons though.

And hell, let's face it. This is Windows, if you really want Flash in Metro, I'll bet somebody else (like Google or Mozilla) will be happy to comply