Microsoft IE9 developer preview with HTML5 support released

Microsoft said on Tuesday that it has made an early version of Internet Explorer 9 available for download.

The Internet Explorer 9 "test drive" (developer platform preview) is available at ietestdrive.com. The preview build will not include the UI elements of Internet Explorer 9 but will allow developers to test the new JavaScript engine and HTML5/CSS3 support.

Microsoft originally unveiled 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. A new JS engine (codenamed Chakra) will also be built into Internet Explorer 9 with greater interoperability and standards support all round. Features such as rounded corner CSS support will be built in. In January, Neowin revealed that Microsoft is planning to enhance tabbed browsing in IE9. According to a software patent, the Quick Tabs feature in Internet Explorer is likely to be enhanced with better functionality and greater tab management options.

Microsoft is also planning broader support for HTML5 in Internet Explorer 9 through its new script engine. Stay tuned for more information.

Download: Internet Explorer 9 developer preview

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I'm not surprised that IE9 Developer Preview release requires minimum Vista SP2 & Win7.
so get over it, WinXP users! upgrade to Win7 while you still have the opportunity to do so.

by the time the final release of IE9 comes out maybe in 2011, I'd be using a new PC with Win7 by that time. or even wait for Windows 8 to come out which could include IE9.

I have windows xp under virtual box which is great! I still use IE8 and waiting for the final version because it doesn't have bookmarks menu on the preview. Who needs xp mode!! Virtual Box is cool!!

starman444 said,
I have windows xp under virtual box which is great! I still use IE8 and waiting for the final version because it doesn't have bookmarks menu on the preview. Who needs xp mode!! Virtual Box is cool!!

VT-x/AMD-V is no longer a requirement for XP Mode, even for Windows VPC (only 7 Professional/Ultimate/Enterprise that pass validation is a requirement). Also, Windows Virtual PC keeps one thing from Microsoft VPC 2007 that Virtual Box (and derivatives) still lack (without said VT-x/AMD-V) - eComStation and OS/2 support. I have both XP Mode *and* an eCS 2.0 RC7 VM on my 7 Ultimate x64 box, and I have one of those Celeron DCs that lack VT-x (specifically, an E1200).

kli6891 said,
I actually like the font rendering. Anyone agree?

With the right fonts, yes. With the fonts used on Neowin, nah. It's a little hard to read.

They also lose a bit of contrast and sharpness, favouring faithful character reproduction instead.

rm20010 said,

With the right fonts, yes. With the fonts used on Neowin, nah. It's a little hard to read.

They also lose a bit of contrast and sharpness, favouring faithful character reproduction instead.

And most folks tend to *prefer* faithful character reproduction (fortunately, GPU acceleration enables sharpness retention as well; I lost no sharpness in 9 compared to 8 on this page, for example). I'll likely use 9 as a semi-dedicated NeoBrowser.

Still no CSS3 text or box shadow support. Hopefully that will make it into the final build so I don't have to keep using the proprietary filters.

Even better, it's the first IE to run side-by-side with an older version (in this case, I have it *literally* side-by-side with 8) as opposed to forcing an uninstall (as even most alphas are wont to do)

acid3 score is mostly irrelevant, just like a lot of acid 2 was irrelevant since a large portion of these tests involve checking how browsers handle bad code. i have argued since acid2 that handling of bad coding practices should not be tested. forcing web developers how to write valid code is just as big an improvement for the web as browsers which support these standards.

honestly - IE8, for all intents and purposes...while slow, has css support that is more-than-adequate to not to cause major headaches for developers anymore vs ie6/7, save some minor quirks.

TruckWEB said,
Page scrooling is realy slow in IE9 right now.... For something that is supposed to be accelerated...

It will be, remember, it's just a preview at the moment

Would it really though? I would imagine other browsers will support XP for a while so IE may lose some market share. I appreciate XP cant be supported forever but when it comes to a browser I would have thought MS would make something available as an automatic update.

Why have so many people on here got problems with XP? Its getting on a bit now but for most people it runs just fine. As the browser is a very important part day to day PC use I would have thought MS would have extended IE9 onto XP. I can understand new advances and tech not being ported to XP but browser security really should. Maybe a basic release for XP and a full feature for Vista and 7.

Orange Battery said,
Why have so many people on here got problems with XP? Its getting on a bit now but for most people it runs just fine. As the browser is a very important part day to day PC use I would have thought MS would have extended IE9 onto XP. I can understand new advances and tech not being ported to XP but browser security really should. Maybe a basic release for XP and a full feature for Vista and 7.

They can't carry on supporting XP forever.

IE9 has GPU rendering at it's core, which XP doesn't support. As for releasing a basic version for XP, that would defeat the point of IE9 entirely.

neo158 said,

They can't carry on supporting XP forever.

IE9 has GPU rendering at it's core, which XP doesn't support. As for releasing a basic version for XP, that would defeat the point of IE9 entirely.

How about releasing a basic version which actually renders pages (+HTML5) correctly but doesn't have all the fancy GPU shizz. Would that defeat the point ?

hotdog963al said,
How about releasing a basic version which actually renders pages (+HTML5) correctly but doesn't have all the fancy GPU shizz. Would that defeat the point ?
Because Windows XP is a 10 year old product that is nearly end of life and isn't the focus of the companies development, and all recent platforms support the GPU rendering. XP is old technology.

Edited by nullie, Mar 16 2010, 9:49pm :

nullie said,
Because Windows XP is a 10 year old product that is nearly end of life and isn't the focus of the companies development, and all recent platforms support the GPU rendering. XP is old technology.
*sigh* I guess supporting IE8 for the next 5 years won't be too bad... ¬_¬

Orange Battery said,
Why have so many people on here got problems with XP? Its getting on a bit now but for most people it runs just fine.

I'd say it's because the fact that it 'runs just fine' is largely based on other software dumbing itself down so it runs OK on XP.

It's kind of how some people hate IE6 while others say "meh, it works good enough". A given site 'runs just fine' on IE6 not because IE6 is a competent browser, but because the developers spent countless hours hacking their site to run in IE6 and finally threw up the white flag and ripped out 30% of the cool features they came up with to get it to work.

Similarly, XP compatibility forces developers to either a) build 2 versions of an app or b)rip out half the cool stuff.

You can tell they've worked hard on improving rendering performance of dynamic content. It's fast enough that I'd consider switching back to IE when 9 is released from Opera.

i just did a quick look at my website and it's the first version of IE to render it correctly (well, probably about 95%). IE8 and below completely mess up the design, and i decided to not even bother trying to make it compatible.

DirectWrite font rendering is still not as good as GDI; feels like reading a scaled screenshot. And its freaking terrible with light fonts on dark background.

soumyasch said,
DirectWrite font rendering is still not as good as GDI; feels like reading a scaled screenshot. And its freaking terrible with light fonts on dark background.

I found the font rendering a little fuzzy but readable on neowin.

soumyasch said,
DirectWrite font rendering is still not as good as GDI; feels like reading a scaled screenshot. And its freaking terrible with light fonts on dark background.

It's what you get when you go to sub-pixel character positioning. It's a trade-off, for sure...

JonathanMarston said,

It's what you get when you go to sub-pixel character positioning. It's a trade-off, for sure...

No it isn't. Look at the post-RC VS 2010 screenshots. Its based on WPF 4.0, which uses DirectWrite for text rendering. Character glyphs are very close to being indistinguishable from GDI rendering without image processing tools. Its the spacing between the characters that are noticeably different (more uniform) with sub-pixel layout.

soumyasch said,

No it isn't. Look at the post-RC VS 2010 screenshots. Its based on WPF 4.0, which uses DirectWrite for text rendering. Character glyphs are very close to being indistinguishable from GDI rendering without image processing tools. Its the spacing between the characters that are noticeably different (more uniform) with sub-pixel layout.

One of the enhancements in WPF 4 is giving the developer control over whether or not the text is rendered using sub-pixel layout (DirectWrite-style) or snapped to whole pixel boundaries (GDI-style). I believe they are using "Display" text formatting for the VS2010 editor window.

Details can be found in this blog post: http://blogs.msdn.com/text/arc...ext-stack-improvements.aspx

In the end I think I prefer sub-pixel layout for something like a web browser, and pixel-snapped for something like a code editor. Sub-pixel sacrifices crispness for font rendering accuracy. With the web being more visual it makes sense to go for the more accurate font rendering. On the other hand, when staring at code all day I really don't care how accurate the fonts are, I'd rather it be sharp and easy on the eyes.

Edited by JonathanMarston, Mar 17 2010, 2:13am :

thealexweb said,
Very good that it only works with modern versions of windows, Vista FTW
Does it really add anything to it ? No....

Rudy said,
Does it really add anything to it ? No....

XP has gone on to Extended Support, Microsoft is not even obliqued to make a new version of IE for it.

thealexweb said,
Very good that it only works with modern versions of windows, Vista FTW

Most people are over reacting. It's not the end of the world without IE9 on XP. In fact, it's only goings to catalyse the process of IE's share decreasing. I'm just going to use Chrome which probably beats all the others browsers excluding Opera 10.5 hands down.

thealexweb said,

XP has gone on to Extended Support, Microsoft is not even obliqued to make a new version of IE for it.

Their loss. XP still has majority share among Windows users. IE will lose market share since they have chosen to abandon it on the most used Windows platform.

I am one XP holdout that will gladly skip IE9. I can't afford Windows 7 nor can I afford to buy a new system. IE9 certainly won't be weighing on my mind in that decision.

Edited by DeusProto, Mar 17 2010, 10:47am :

McDave said,
Just looking at the Flying Images test you can really see the differance.

The death of Flash is about to begin.

PLUS: How come I have a strange feeling that the next versions of the Office Web Apps will make use of SVG?

haha, really fine that I was able to download the IE9 preview AND run it side by side (since its a sandboxed mode ;-) ).

Its fast & cool! .. finally Roundedcorners within IE when i visit Neowin :-)

Critical Error said,
And if you click on Page -> Open; you can type http://www.neowin.net and post a comment

Been using IE9 to watch the video since the note was first posted. Using IE9 now to post this Neowin does look nice with rounded corners

Critical Error said,
And if you click on Page -> Open; you can type http://www.neowin.net and post a comment

Ya been messing around with it... rendering is still sh** compared to Chrome, but it's getting better... about time they added support for Rounded corners in IE.

Decaytion said,

Ya been messing around with it... rendering is still sh** compared to Chrome, but it's getting better... about time they added support for Rounded corners in IE.

I take it you didn't run any of the rendering tests in the preview and then run the same ones in Chrome!!!!

nub said,
Can't install on Xp

Q. Does Platform Preview run on Windows XP?
A. No. Internet Explorer 9’s GPU-powered graphics take advantage of new technologies available in Windows 7 and back-ported only to Windows Vista. These technologies depend on advancements in the display driver model introduced first in Windows Vista.

nub said,
Can't install on Xp

To all those who are applauding this: WHAT THE SH..
You do realise this means we will continue to have to support IE8 into the future, right? This is NOT a good thing.

rm20010 said,
I wouldn't consider IE9 to be a major factor in upgrading from XP.

Why not, I take it that you prefer IE6?

hotdog963al said,

To all those who are applauding this: WHAT THE SH..
You do realise this means we will continue to have to support IE8 into the future, right? This is NOT a good thing.

And....

It's just one reason not to stick with that outdated POS called XP!!!

neo158 said,

Why not, I take it that you prefer IE6?

No, not by any measure. I'm simply pointing out that people stuck on XP because of, say the age of their hardware, have better reasons to upgrade to a newer version of Windows if they plan on upgrading hardware or buying a new PC, but over a browser upgrade is silly.

hotdog963al said,

http://gs.statcounter.com/#os-ww-monthly-200902-201003-bar
http://www.w3counter.com/globalstats.php
Which OS is on top? Which OS can you not ignore whilst developing a website?
Lots of people are still using IE6 too and sadly, we have to accommodate for this.

I did have a look at those sites and I suspect that the majority of Windows XP and IE6 usage is primarily businesses who are not yet in their upgrade cycle.

But you are correct that we have to accommodate all those users as well.

The strange thing is that the statistics that Steam collects are telling a different story, granted that's gamers, most use Windows 7 64-bit.

Also the one website shows IE8 as the most used browser.

neo158 said,

The strange thing is that the statistics that Steam collects are telling a different story, granted that's gamers, most use Windows 7 64-bit.

Consider that Steam usually has ~1 million online users at one time. That's still a fairly small slice of global PC users.

rm20010 said,
Consider that Steam usually has ~1 million online users at one time. That's still a fairly small slice of global PC users.
The sample size isn't as relevant as whether or not the sample reflects the overall population.

Google Chrome, Opera and Safari can run faster than IE9. If Google Chrome can function just as well in XP as it does in 7, I don't see why IE9 can't. But Microsoft made a right decision cause many XP are already using the better variation from Google instead of IE9 even if it was available on XP.

hotdog963al said,

To all those who are applauding this: WHAT THE SH..
You do realise this means we will continue to have to support IE8 into the future, right? This is NOT a good thing.

Completely agree with you. XP is still the most used OS and if newer versions of IE aren't going to support it people are going to stick with older versions with their security issues or just move on to another browser because they all still support xp.

Strong arm tactics like this will surely backfire on them but I suspect it's just for testing purposes and when it is finally released it will support xp. It would be utterly stupid if it didn't

a bit pointless, its not a browser its just an app with a browser's engine, you can't actually surf with it. They might aswell have just released charts and benchmarks as alot of people download will think its a functional browser like how IE8 preview was.

torrentthief said,
a bit pointless, its not a browser its just an app with a browser's engine, you can't actually surf with it. They might aswell have just released charts and benchmarks as alot of people download will think its a functional browser like how IE8 preview was.

Thats the point, it's a Developer Preview of the technologies, not a full browser.

What were you expecting?

torrentthief said,
a bit pointless, its not a browser its just an app with a browser's engine, you can't actually surf with it. They might aswell have just released charts and benchmarks as alot of people download will think its a functional browser like how IE8 preview was.
Well this way you can run the test yourself.. as we all know browsers like to post selective results, this way there's the test, run them, see for yourself.

torrentthief said,
a bit pointless, its not a browser its just an app with a browser's engine, you can't actually surf with it. They might aswell have just released charts and benchmarks as alot of people download will think its a functional browser like how IE8 preview was.

It's not just restricted to the test suite.
You can open any page by going up to Page->Open

torrentthief said,
a bit pointless, its not a browser its just an app with a browser's engine, you can't actually surf with it. They might aswell have just released charts and benchmarks as alot of people download will think its a functional browser like how IE8 preview was.

You didn't read the FAQ of the preview page didn't you?

torrentthief said,
a bit pointless, its not a browser its just an app with a browser's engine, you can't actually surf with it. They might aswell have just released charts and benchmarks as alot of people download will think its a functional browser like how IE8 preview was.

I think before you say what you say that you learn to discover the tools, technology and capabilities before you post. You can browse like a regular browser if you like. It isn't even a true Alpha yet and not even for Beta distribution. I am browsing now with it. It renders Neowin.net very nicely and faster than IE 8(64/32). If you read up on it you would know this is not just an application without browser ability. It renders several sites much better than 8 as I am comparing them side by side. I am not looking at speed but how it handles heavy java pages as well as poorly rendered html pages and it is doing very well.

I can't wait to test more of it as it becomes available to the developers.

perhaps you should wait to pass judgement until you understand how to use it.

Edited by mrmomoman, Mar 16 2010, 8:20pm :

mrmomoman said,

I think before you say what you say that you learn to discover the tools, technology and capabilities before you post. You can browse like a regular browser if you like. It isn't even a true Alpha yet and not even for Beta distribution. I am browsing now with it. It renders Neowin.net very nicely and faster than IE 8(64/32). If you read up on it you would know this is not just an application without browser ability. It renders several sites much better than 8 as I am comparing them side by side. I am not looking at speed but how it handles heavy java pages as well as poorly rendered html pages and it is doing very well.

I can't wait to test more of it as it becomes available to the developers.

perhaps you should wait to pass judgement until you understand how to use it.

+1, didn't know you could use it as a regular browser but i did, page then open. It is much better than IE8.

torrentthief said,
a bit pointless, its not a browser its just an app with a browser's engine, you can't actually surf with it. They might aswell have just released charts and benchmarks as alot of people download will think its a functional browser like how IE8 preview was.

Err, it's not pointless. It has a very important point: to let developers test their sites against the new engine.

It's not bad, the Hardware Acceleration seems a bit slow but shows promise. The ACID3 test only gets 55/100 but it's just a preview of the technologies at the moment so I wasn't expecting what I got in the preview.

neo158 said,
It's not bad, the Hardware Acceleration seems a bit slow but shows promise. The ACID3 test only gets 55/100 but it's just a preview of the technologies at the moment so I wasn't expecting what I got in the preview.

ACID3 test interesting, but for most part its about "how browser should react to bad html/javascript code". Its not very important if the site code is good.

RealFduch said,

ACID3 test interesting, but for most part its about "how browser should react to bad html/javascript code". Its not very important if the site code is good.

Thats true, but it should improve as they work towards an alpha/beta version

neo158 said,
It's not bad, the Hardware Acceleration seems a bit slow but shows promise.

My Dual Core Intel Atom @ 2ghz with the Nvidia Ion performs great in them tests compared to other web browsers.

Flying Images:

IE9: 46fps
Firefox: 17fps
Chrome: 1fps
IE8: 1fps

For nettops and other low end hardware it certainly does look promising anyway.

InsaneNutter said,

IE9: 46fps
Firefox: 17fps
Chrome: 1fps
IE8: 1fps

For nettops and other low end hardware it certainly does look promising anyway.

Whereas on mine:

IE9 - 55fps - hardware accerlerated
Opera 10.51 - 67fps - software accelerated.

Seriously, can't wait to see the results when Opera starts putting in hardware acceleration, heck it's already superbly fast as it is

~Johnny said,

Whereas on mine:

IE9 - 55fps - hardware accerlerated
Opera 10.51 - 67fps - software accelerated.

Seriously, can't wait to see the results when Opera starts putting in hardware acceleration, heck it's already superbly fast as it is


Funny because Opera 10.51 on my Core2Duo 1.8 gives 5 fps and when you click inside it, it crashes!

Nikos_GR said,

Funny because Opera 10.51 on my Core2Duo 1.8 gives 5 fps and when you click inside it, it crashes!

that's strange


my Q9550 @3.4GHz with 36 images
Firefox 3.6: 30 fps
Opera 10.50: 66 fps
Chrome 5.0: Just 3 fps.
IE8: 8 fps
IE9: 64 fps.

Edited by coth, Mar 17 2010, 1:31pm :

RealFduch said,

ACID3 test interesting, but for most part its about "how browser should react to bad html/javascript code". Its not very important if the site code is good.

Not exactly. The test its self is very messy code. The point of the test is to use every feature possible, which no webpage ever would so from that point of view you could call it bad. However, any feature the test uses is part of the spec and might be used by a developer. If that feature causes part of the test to fail then using that same feature would cause inconsistencies between browsers. The test helps call out what works and doesn’t work.

Having said that, the test is really meaningless from a consumer’s point of view. It is not a measure of how good a browser is.

~Johnny said,

Whereas on mine:

IE9 - 55fps - hardware accerlerated
Opera 10.51 - 6.7fps - software accelerated.

Seriously, can't wait to see the results when Opera starts putting in hardware acceleration, heck it's already superbly fast as it is

Fixed the typo in your post, haha

sphbecker said,

Not exactly. The test its self is very messy code. The point of the test is to use every feature possible, which no webpage ever would so from that point of view you could call it bad. However, any feature the test uses is part of the spec and might be used by a developer. If that feature causes part of the test to fail then using that same feature would cause inconsistencies between browsers. The test helps call out what works and doesn’t work.

Having said that, the test is really meaningless from a consumer’s point of view. It is not a measure of how good a browser is.

That's simply not true. ACID tests have never been standards tests. They test that browser's respond correctly to error cases.