Internet Explorer 9 to enhance tabbed browsing

Microsoft has filed a patent that reveals Internet Explorer 9 is set to have better tab management options and enhanced functionality.

The patent, spotted by Microsoft MVP Manan Kakkar, describes a system and method for selecting a tab within a tabbed browser. Originally filed in September 2009, the patent reveals that the Quick Tabs feature in Internet Explorer is likely to be enhanced with better functionality and greater tab management options. In Internet Explorer 8 Quick Tabs simply display thumbails of all tabs open with the option to close them individually. The patent images reveal that the following features will be included:

  • Drag and move the tabs within the Quick Tabs interface.
  • Tab thumbnails will enlarge on mouse-hover.
  • In case your tab row was over flowing with tabs and in Quick Tabs you were to hover the mouse on a tab not currently visible on the tab bar, the overflow icons would change appearance.

Microsoft originally announced and demonstrated Internet Explorer 9 at PDC 2009. IE 9 will take advantage of the power of the GPU for all page rendering and developers can exploit this using CSS, DHTML and javascript. Microsoft believes IE9 will result in smoother rendering and improved performance. Interoperability and standards support is increasing and features such as rounded corner CSS support will be built in. A new JS engine will also be built into Internet Explorer 9. Microsoft officials offered no time lines or indications as to when a build of Internet Explorer 9 will be available publicly. Neowin understands Microsoft are on target to provide an early technical preview build at MIX 2010 in March.

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I believe it's somewhat about backwards compatibility. IE must work with past offerings like Sharepoint and Office and anything Live, for business use. I would guess that all MS must do whenever there is a question of "monopoly" past or present, is point out that any browser can only function as the OS allows. If MS were to quit making browsers, who would/could control browsing security in the business arena, and how? The house that Bill built is so integrated. Pushing out 4,000 IE8 updates=automatic (as long as it would have been possible to push out any update). Doing this with other browsers is possible, but why waste the time? To a business time is money.

Microsoft has a large browser share, and i doubt that's going anywhere soon. The reality is that firefox will be popular, until people get sick of it and start using chrome cause chrome is 0.00341 seconds faster to render a page, and then it'll go.

Business' continue to pile IE onto systems due to it's bundling, and some people just are too scared to change. Perhaps when the young now are old, then everyone will be using something else. Until then, Microsoft can enjoy it's spot at the top of the perch.

The largest issue really is everyone using different standards or different rending engines, makes us web developers cry in pain...

I would be interested to see what happens during development because I have hardly used IE 8 at all so for me to use 9 it would have to be awesome! and very relevant to my interests!

I hate the huge back button and tiny little forward button, now Firefox copied it and everyone is doing it. Also hate not having the home button where it is supposed to be and no way to move it there.

Saburac said,
I hate the huge back button and tiny little forward button, now Firefox copied it and everyone is doing it. Also hate not having the home button where it is supposed to be and no way to move it there.

I hate that also, but you can switch to small icons and it'll get rid of that weird huge, ugly, one of the worst design ideas ever for anything, back button.. I never use the stock Firefox theme tho. Classic Compact theme is my favorite.

Edited by solardog, Jan 24 2010, 10:41pm :

For me, undoubtedly, IE6 is better than their successors, for the solemn reason that it can stop web pages to load when you click stop. Damn!

I posted comment on their blog with idea for tabs improvement and now it's gone, lol. idea was to make it similar to windows 7 "superbar", in other words combine favorites bar with tab bar via pinning to tab bar and group instances of same same site into one tab. so basically when you hover over tab it shows sub-tabs like with Aero Peek feature. I hope they'll implement something like this.

kInG aLeXo said,
What about HTML5 btw ?

What about it? They said at PDC they'll work on HTML5 specifically when they talked about standards.

three things i need in IE9 for me to go back to it:

1- spell checker

2- download manager

3- copy image url in the right click menu

IEPro used to do all that and more but no support for IE8.

th3rEsa said,

IEPro works for me in IE8.

Yes, here too, it would work with IE8.0.
But there are too many small bugs in IE7pro and the project seems to me is dead, therefore I don't use it any longer.

@Roobaj, there are some threads about IE8 in the IE7pro forum.

Roobaj said,
three things i need in IE9 for me to go back to it:

1- spell checker

IeSpell has that one covered but it is true, its not like it would be new to MS.

Lastwebpage said,

Yes, here too, it would work with IE8.0.

Same here, but I think IE7Pro worked better in IE7 (hence the name of the plugin). Now all I have enabled is spellchecker and Faster IE. Mouse gestures are a hit or miss.

Lastwebpage said,

[T]he project seems to me is dead.

The IE7Pro forums are a spam plague of Biblical proportions :-(

I don't like seeing tabs in a browser - it can make it look uglier, haha. I've removed them in Firefox 3.6, but I can still browse in tabs because of the tab preview shortcuts (ctrl+shift+tab). I find this way of browsing much more pleasant because I can still browse in tabs, but customise Firefox's interface fully to my liking. If Microsoft provide a way I can do this (using Quick Tabs instead of tab previews), I may consider using Internet Explorer again, depending on how customisable and fast they make it, interface-wise.

UnswoleLilDude said,
Instead of adding new useless features, they need to make the rendering engine work. CSS 3 and HTML 5 support would be a start.

I agree they should focus on improving the rendering engine I found out the other day (the hard way) that jQueryUI has problems, when animation is turned on, with the accordion element. It works fine in all other browsers...

Edited by Calum, Jan 23 2010, 3:56pm :

UnswoleLilDude said,
Instead of adding new useless features, they need to make the rendering engine work. CSS 3 and HTML 5 support would be a start.

If you don't like or use a specific feature that's fine, but to say it's useless has no base.

UnswoleLilDude said,
Instead of adding new useless features, they need to make the rendering engine work. CSS 3 and HTML 5 support would be a start.
Yes, this is starting to get real important now. I hope they do HTML 5 better in the future, since the compeition is getting there now. Please don't cause a CSS2 scenario again, Microsoft. :S

UnswoleLilDude said,
Instead of adding new useless features, they need to make the rendering engine work. CSS 3 and HTML 5 support would be a start.

IE8 already has support for some parts of HTML 5. All of the current browsers are picking and choosing features to implement at the moment. I think it will be a little bit before they all support all of the features of HTML 5...

Northgrove said,
Yes, this is starting to get real important now. I hope they do HTML 5 better in the future, since the compeition is getting there now. Please don't cause a CSS2 scenario again, Microsoft. :S

They specifically called out HTML5 back at PDC when they talked about standards, so it's safe to say they will. Probably because it also helps stick a fork into Flash as well. So in the end, MS has every reason to support it. You could say the same applies to Silverlight, but MS is making silverlight more into a webapp/client app type system and not just a basic video distro system like Flash.

Like I say before. All I want from a browser is speed and to load pages correctly. Bookmarks synchronization is a must (I have several computers therefore I need this function). Chrome fits the tin for the moment. IE and firefox seem more interested in adding fancy features to their browsers that we really don't need. We are becoming like young ladies on a shopping spree, wanting everything, buying clothes that we don't need. (sorry for the stereotype).

Chrome's simplicity has been a breathe of fresh air for me. I love Firefox and IE8 is a very good browser too, but I want something simple, not fancy. Something that works.

I haven't tried Opera. I tried a much older version and it seemed crowded. It would be unfair to comment anymore on recent versions.

IE9 Needs to let me customise where I want to put buttons and toolbars like it always did before IE7.
We also need a new app that offers similar features to IEPlus and IE7Pro did, and of course we need a download manager so I don't have to go into firefox before a large download.

Orange Battery said,
IE9 Needs to let me customise where I want to put buttons and toolbars like it always did before IE7.
We also need a new app that offers similar features to IEPlus and IE7Pro did, and of course we need a download manager so I don't have to go into firefox before a large download.

I think they fact they're redoing the IE9 UI instead of just using a modified IE8 one, like they did with IE7 to IE8 should show us good signs that we can get more customisation options.

GP007 said,

I think they fact they're redoing the IE9 UI instead of just using a modified IE8 one, like they did with IE7 to IE8 should show us good signs that we can get more customisation options.

I really hope so, I really don't like change but find myself opening Firefix more and more.

Edited by Orange Battery, Jan 23 2010, 4:00pm :

Orange Battery said,
IE9 Needs to let me customise where I want to put buttons and toolbars like it always did before IE7.
We also need a new app that offers similar features to IEPlus and IE7Pro did, and of course we need a download manager so I don't have to go into firefox before a large download.

I think that was the biggest mistake they made with IE7 and 8. The new UI was terrible and it turned off many people immediately. They either stuck with IE6 and became security threats or they moved to a different browser.

I have no idea what they were thinking moving the Home button way over where they did and taking away any option to customize the layout. Even worse when they kept it in IE8 after all the complaints. They need to pay more attention to their customers.

wahoospa said,
Didn't Opera invent tabs? They were the first I had seen tabs on. I know they were before Firefox with tabs.

Opera invented the Internet.

Examinus said,
Opera invented the Internet.

If they did, the internet would consist of half-baked, proprietarily standardized bling-bling only. :P

wahoospa said,
Didn't Opera invent tabs? They were the first I had seen tabs on. I know they were before Firefox with tabs.

Yes, and? Opera first started with multiwindows inside a main window, then moved that idea to tabs with are better to orginize. FF copied tabs, IE copied after, then safari etc etc.

GP007 said,
FF copied tabs, IE copied after, then safari etc etc.

Actually, Safari had tabs two years ahead of nternet Explorer. :)

GP007 said,
Opera had tabs first

No, InternetWorks had them before. Re-read my post.

Edited by th3rEsa, Jan 23 2010, 2:05pm :

Northgrove said,
I don't understand why anyone would care for who was first?

The Opera fanboys sometimes need to be reminded of that. Some of them are only fanboys because they think Opera invented everything.

th3rEsa said,

The Opera fanboys sometimes need to be reminded of that. Some of them are only fanboys because they think Opera invented everything.

don't feed the trolls...

th3rEsa said,

The Opera fanboys sometimes need to be reminded of that. Some of them are only fanboys because they think Opera invented everything.

It doesn't really matter who did what first unless it's MS related, in which case copying someone else from MS's side turns into some big sin and a no-no. Go figure.

wahoospa said,
Didn't Opera invent tabs? They were the first I had seen tabs on. I know they were before Firefox with tabs.

Because who "invented" something matters why?

If we didn't imitate, we would have one phone, all drive the same car, and live in mimicked houses with the same haircuts eating the same ketchup on our standardised fries. How brilliant that would be...

Actually we wouldn't have even progressed to hunters with spears if we didn't mimic, ravage cavemen learnt to share ideas, why can't browser fan-boys?

Mr Spoon said,
Uh, another new browser already?
It's almost becoming fashonable to have your browser version in double figures!

IE8 was released a year ago.

Mr Spoon said,
Uh, another new browser already?
It's almost becoming fashonable to have your browser version in double figures!

MS has said they're going to release a new version of IE every year, but I think it should be half that, 6 months. Nothing wrong with doing .1 releases or .5s. A IE8.1 with speed improvements wouldn't have hurt at all.

IE 9 is going to leave most browsers behind if DirectX is used all over.
However good a bytecode js machine is ( and IE9 will have one too ) the power of GPU computing acceleration ( used till now only in games that much ) is going to blast the competition.

Go Microsoft !

manosdoc said,
IE 9 is going to leave most browsers behind if DirectX is used all over.
However good a bytecode js machine is ( and IE9 will have one too ) the power of GPU computing acceleration ( used till now only in games that much ) is going to blast the competition.

Go Microsoft !

Yup, the new JS engine in IE9 sounds like it's pretty damn fast as well, add that with the DX acceleration with D2D and D3D etc, it could very well be a speed demon.

Except that Firefox is also developing D2D/D3D acceleration... and more goodies.
Source: http://www.basschouten.com/

Microsoft fail ? GOOGLE CHROME FAIL ! thats ripped from opera -.-

http://files.myopera.com/drlaunch/albums/354825/opera-speed-dial.jpg

andy2004 said,
Microsoft fail ? GOOGLE CHROME FAIL ! thats ripped from opera -.-

http://files.myopera.com/drlaunch/albums/354825/opera-speed-dial.jpg


In Internet Explorer 8 Quick Tabs simply display thumbails of all tabs open with the option to close them individually.

No, it's not. Opera, like Chrome, is about helping you move on, not pick between OPEN tabs. Opera and Chrome has the better thinking here, IMHO.

Edited by Northgrove, Jan 23 2010, 3:58pm :

So judging by the looks of the patent, doesn't it look like a blatant rip off of Google Chrome's 'Home Page'

http://www.ianhoar.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/09/chrome_home_page.jpg

FAIL Microsoft, FAIL.

Anarkii said,
So judging by the looks of the patent, doesn't it look like a blatant rip off of Google Chrome's 'Home Page'

http://www.ianhoar.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/09/chrome_home_page.jpg

FAIL Microsoft, FAIL.

Didn't Chrome rip that form Opera?

Anarkii said,
So judging by the looks of the patent, doesn't it look like a blatant rip off of Google Chrome's 'Home Page'

http://www.ianhoar.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/09/chrome_home_page.jpg

FAIL Microsoft, FAIL.

Oh jeezzz, Quick Tabs were shown off in IE8 beta 1 before chrome was even out iirc, And like others have said, Opera did have it first. But who cares? Are you saying copying is bad? ZOMG, get with the times, everyone copies everyone. It's one of the rules of business.

Anarkii said,
So judging by the looks of the patent, doesn't it look like a blatant rip off of Google Chrome's 'Home Page'

http://www.ianhoar.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/09/chrome_home_page.jpg

FAIL Microsoft, FAIL.


Firefox is the only browser that doesn't have it.

Opera http://imgur.com/uxuxpl.jpg
Safari http://imgur.com/bLul4l.jpg
IE8 http://imgur.com/NHO75l.jpg

Anarkii said,
So judging by the looks of the patent, doesn't it look like a blatant rip off of Google Chrome's 'Home Page'

http://www.ianhoar.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/09/chrome_home_page.jpg

FAIL Microsoft, FAIL.


No, stop yelling fail like a 14 year old who just got on Internet and learned something new. Google Chrome's manager is about showing suggestions on where to go next; this is a manager for OPEN tabs.

Anarkii said,
So judging by the looks of the patent, doesn't it look like a blatant rip off of Google Chrome's 'Home Page'

http://www.ianhoar.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/09/chrome_home_page.jpg

FAIL Microsoft, FAIL.

Wow. I remember using thumbnails in IE7 way better there was any mention of Chrome.

Omen1393 said,

Firefox is the only browser that doesn't have it.

Safari http://imgur.com/bLul4l.jpg


Safari's Top Sites feature has nothing to do with tabs.

Omen1393 said,

Firefox is the only browser that doesn't have it.

Opera http://imgur.com/uxuxpl.jpg
Safari http://imgur.com/bLul4l.jpg
IE8 http://imgur.com/NHO75l.jpg

Firefox has it via the Firefox Showcase add on... It's a great deal more feature rich than what was done for the other browsers too. It's a must have IMO.

GP007 said,

Oh jeezzz, Quick Tabs were shown off in IE8 beta 1 before chrome was even out iirc, And like others have said, Opera did have it first. But who cares? Are you saying copying is bad? ZOMG, get with the times, everyone copies everyone. It's one of the rules of business.
Copying a certain function is probably fine, in a way. But it's another thing when you try to patent it to block other founders of such functionality from being enhancement. There's no excuse what so ever to try to enhance something and then protect it as though it was your own creation.

Anarkii said,
So judging by the looks of the patent, doesn't it look like a blatant rip off of Google Chrome's 'Home Page'

http://www.ianhoar.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/09/chrome_home_page.jpg

FAIL Microsoft, FAIL.

Number one. That design which you think Google came up with was infact just a BLATANT ripoff from Opera.

Number two. That deals with bookmarks, this deals with open tabs and was included with IE7.

Number three. Go check your facts before posting something.

They MUST include Automatic Updater like ff, which once the browser starts checks for any security updates and any addons reported to have security problems and warns the user and updates itself automatically.
Also, they should make making addons for IE easier.

kInG aLeXo said,
They MUST include Automatic Updater like ff, which once the browser starts checks for any security updates and any addons reported to have security problems and warns the user and updates itself automatically.
Also, they should make making addons for IE easier.

Doesn't IE update using Microsoft Update feature of Windows?

McDave said,
Windows update only checks for updates to IE itself or Sliverlight but not any plugins e.g. Flash.

Plugins are expected to request their own updates or opt into the windowsupdate patch system. Adobe tries to run an updater, but it fails because their updater needs admin, and corporate users don't easily have this.

Microsoft makes it easy and possible, you can't blame them for flash or expect them to update or police every adding.

McDave said,
Windows update only checks for updates to IE itself or Sliverlight but not any plugins e.g. Flash.

That's because flash has it's own update system. Haven't you been prompted to update flash before? I mean MS could run a check and tell you x plugin is out of date etc, but I really doubt they'd host the new version for you on their AU/WU servers.

kInG aLeXo said,
They MUST include Automatic Updater like ff, which once the browser starts checks for any security updates and any addons reported to have security problems and warns the user and updates itself automatically.
Also, they should make making addons for IE easier.

That's the LAST thing I want included in ANY software as it's the first thing I look for to disable! If it is included, everyone would just start griping about it phoning home anyway.

thenetavenger said,

Plugins are expected to request their own updates or opt into the windowsupdate patch system. Adobe tries to run an updater, but it fails because their updater needs admin, and corporate users don't easily have this.

Microsoft makes it easy and possible, you can't blame them for flash or expect them to update or police every adding.

I'm logged in as an admin and have never been notified of an Adobe update to anything... I think there updater is flawed to be honest. I check for updates on FileHippo.com every now and then and download them if there are any. Adobe never notifies me...

cork1958 said,

That's the LAST thing I want included in ANY software as it's the first thing I look for to disable! If it is included, everyone would just start griping about it phoning home anyway.

Well, the security benefits outweigh the "phoning home" issue... This could be set up to check for updates once a week or something. In fact much of this work could really be done server side so the browser would only have to connect with the IE or Mozilla servers once to check for updated plugins...

MafiotuL said,

Doesn't IE update using Microsoft Update feature of Windows?
IE can check for updates every single time it is opened up. The option is disabled by default but it is certainly there.

i50000 said,
Looks like speed dial in Opera browser or Thumbnails in Google Chrome....

IE had thumbnails -- Quick Look -- in IE7 before Chrome, but Opera had them first.

JVF said,

IE had thumbnails -- Quick Look -- in IE7 before Chrome, but Opera had them first.

And Firefox has this via the Firefox Showcase Add on... A must have IMO...

Soldiers33 said,
I actually like the download system of ie8 thats one of the main reasons I havent switched over to another browser.

I sorta like it as well since I save files to lots of different places depending on what type they are. That said, I do wish it could resume at least, even if it's not a full download manager.

If IE9 does have a d/l manager though, I hope it's optional in the sense that you don't have to mess with a popup window/tab and a list of files you've downloaded that you then have to manually clear at the end.

Soldiers33 said,
I actually like the download system of ie8 thats one of the main reasons I havent switched over to another browser.

Me too, click on a link, save to folder or execute, that's enough for me and 99.5% of all my downloads. (The other 0.5%, larger downloads, like Office2010, come with the MS download manager). I need no confusing and annoying download manager window. That's the first thing I disabled in IE7pro.

Soldiers33 said,
I actually like the download system of ie8 thats one of the main reasons I havent switched over to another browser.

I'd say IE8's download handling is better than Chrome's. Up recently, if you closed Chrome while a download was happening, that download was gone! No warming whatsoever. One thing that I like about IE8's download is that I can close the browse and let the download cont. and have the dialog close once the download is finished. No such thing in Chrome (at least not in the current version).

JVF said,

I'd say IE8's download handling is better than Chrome's. Up recently, if you closed Chrome while a download was happening, that download was gone! No warming whatsoever. One thing that I like about IE8's download is that I can close the browse and let the download cont. and have the dialog close once the download is finished. No such thing in Chrome (at least not in the current version).

Data Execution Prevention sometimes will cause downloads to all stop if you close Internet Explorer. It ****es me off but it just says it was protecting your data and shutdown Internet Explorer, this happens on all my computers, on all copies of Windows Vista and 7 I have.

Edited by Electric Jolt, Jan 23 2010, 6:04pm :

Sadelwo said,
True IE8 is a pretty good browser it just bugs me the download system hasn't been overhauled with the rest of it.

I like IE8's download system for the most part, but hate the "Copying..." thing after a download is finished. Usually if I have more than one download going, I right-click on the minimize button and the download dialog is minimized to the systray.

I do think IE is a good browser. Ok maybe not the fastest but it comes along way since IE6/7. Microsoft needs to do something to restore the confidence in its product...

marleyuk said,
I do think IE is a good browser. Ok maybe not the fastest but it comes along way since IE6/7. Microsoft needs to do something to restore the confidence in its product...

MS has been doing good security wise, each new version is more secure than the rest and more stable and so on. Performance is the problem with IE8 still, like javascript. But they've already shown that early work on a new javascript engine has shown massive improvement compared to IE8 and brings IE9's JS performance to that of FF3.6 and Chrome 4 beta iirc.

People want something that runs fast and uses less ram, if IE9 can do that plus bring in good new features etc, it'll be a winner.

marleyuk said,
I do think IE is a good browser. Ok maybe not the fastest but it comes along way since IE6/7. Microsoft needs to do something to restore the confidence in its product...

yeah I used to stand by IE alot but then when Firefox arrived and now Chrome I haven't really opened IE at all! :(

When will they introduce a download manager? IE is the worst to download with . A split second break in connection to the server and woops...download terminated.

Sadelwo said,
When will they introduce a download manager? IE is the worst to download with . A split second break in connection to the server and woops...download terminated.

Yeah it does need improving. Rumours were they were going to do one for IE7 then IE8 so maybe they've just been working on it really hard ;)

Sadelwo said,
When will they introduce a download manager? IE is the worst to download with . A split second break in connection to the server and woops...download terminated.

as long as that download manager still allows you to choose the folder you want to download to i'm all for it!

Tom W said,

Yeah it does need improving. Rumours were they were going to do one for IE7 then IE8 [...]

But of course, some of the late Longhorn-era builds of IE 6.5 had a download manager, as well as a pop-up blocker (Later introduced in XP SP2). It was builds 4051+ if I remember right, and fair enough it leaked memory horrible, but it worked.

XerXis said,

as long as that download manager still allows you to choose the folder you want to download to i'm all for it!

why wouldn't you be able to choose? Which browser stops you from choosing?

rawr_boy81 said,
why wouldn't you be able to choose? Which browser stops you from choosing?

From what I can tell right now Safari uses a fixed location for Downoads (~/Downloads by default on Mac OS X) which you can set in preferences. It doesn't bother me though since the Downloads Stack in my Dock always shows the latest downloaded files.

Sadelwo said,
When will they introduce a download manager?

Funny thing is the Mac versions of IE had a download manager. Basic, but it was there. Always wondered why they didn't just add it to the Windows versions.

Sadelwo said,
When will they introduce a download manager? IE is the worst to download with . A split second break in connection to the server and woops...download terminated.

Yeah, IE's download manager is really outdated...

protocol7 said,

Funny thing is the Mac versions of IE had a download manager. Basic, but it was there. Always wondered why they didn't just add it to the Windows versions.

Really? Well that's interesting...

rawr_boy81 said,

why wouldn't you be able to choose? Which browser stops you from choosing?

Yeah, I'm not sure. Firefox automatically downloads to a default location that you can change in the Options... So it doesn't ask you where to download each file... Maybe that's what he was referring to?

Personally I like the Firefox method... I just have everything save to my desktop... Easy to find, etc.