Microsoft offers more details on IE11 F12 developer tools and features

Microsoft released a developers preview of Internet Explorer 11 for Windows 7 today, which include some new and revised F12 developer tools and features. In a new post, Microsoft goes over the new tools, along with some of the new features in IE11 itself.

The blog post states that the revamped F12 tools include new UI Responsiveness and Memory Profiling tools designed to help website developers fix performance issues. Also, there are some new Live DOM Explorer and CSS inspection tools that assist developers with how a website renders a webpage, along with its layout. The JavaScript debugging tool has been improved so it starts without the need to refresh a page.

Microsoft has already launched what it calls the F12 Adventure site that is designed to work with IE to give some tutorials for developers in working with the new tools.

In addition to the new dev tools, the blog post also talks about some of the new features put into IE11 itself. Microsoft states:

IE11 is the first browser to implement the W3C Resource Priorities standard enabling developers to specify which parts of the page are important and need to be loaded first. IE11 also supports HTML5 link prefetching and pre-rendering, so developers can help the browser anticipate where you’ll go next and get those pages ready. On Windows 8.1, IE11 also supports the SPDY network protocol, the precursor to the HTTP 2.0 specification, enabling some sites to be downloaded faster.

The JavaScript engine that Microsoft uses for IE, Chakra, has also received some optimizations for IE11 for Windows 7. Microsoft says that the WebKit SunSpider shows that JavaScript performance is four percent better on IE11 in Windows 7 compared to IE10 and as much as 30 percent faster compared to Chrome 28, Firefox 22 and Opera 15.

Microsoft says it has added some new API support for IE11, while at the same time changing or removing previous APIs from the browser. Examples of the new editions include Canvas 2D enhancements, CSS border-image support, Device fixed positioning, mutation observers and others. Microsoft has also improved the built-in text editor in IE11, added support for pasting images and improved support for touch keyboards and international characters, including rich text layouts for East Asian languages.

The blog also talks about the previously announced support for WebGL in IE11, along with supporting HTML5 video without the need for a plugin. Netflix has already launched its HTML5 website with IE11 support and Microsoft has also launched its own IE11 video test drive site; Microsoft has already detailed the changes it has made to its modern.IE tools earlier today.

Source: Microsoft | Images via Microsoft

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Going from the video alone... Wow, finally some dev tools that are actually usable. I actually can't believe it took them this long because they've been abysmal for years (especially the "styles" inspection). From what others are saying, I just hope that the ability to run IE in 7/8/9/10 standards mode is still there at release.

Neobond said,
Is it me or has the IE7,8,9,10 modes gone from IE 11 (On Windows 8.1 Preview)?

Nope. Not you. I noticed that when doing some web work recently. Kind of annoying.

I'm glad they're finally improving the dev tools to Chrome and Firefox standards. Not having to refresh the page to start debugging is a huge win.

But IE hasn't been our target browser for some time now so these changes, while nice, don't really affect me much. (yet)

In the Windows 8.1 preview, the IE11 developer tools are great with one glaring exception: they removed the ability to test against previous versions of IE without using a VM or a website to do it for you. You can still change the browser header so that it self-identifies as a previous version, but you cannot force it to render like a previous version anymore.

The fact is, previous versions of IE were so bad that they do need to be checked for some very basic functionality. Losing that feature is a pretty big deal for any web developer, as its existence in IE10 was extremely helpful.

It would be a lot easier if they would simply kill IE8 support, but they cannot do that until they kill XP support.

That's pretty bad if they removed the ability to test older versions of IE. It sucks having to build websites that support IE7/8. But there is still some demand for that.....

They only removed the ability to check that IE11 is IE. IE11 supports HTML5, CSS3, and ECMAScript 5 (modern JavaScript) well enough so that IE doesn't have to be treated special.

Pluto is a Planet said,
They only removed the ability to check that IE11 is IE. IE11 supports HTML5, CSS3, and ECMAScript 5 (modern JavaScript) well enough so that IE doesn't have to be treated special.
No.

IE11 is pretty good (if not great). IE10 is good. IE9 is decent. IE8 and below are trash. In IE10, within the developer tools, you have the ability to render a page as though you are running [effectively] any prior version of IE, such as IE9, IE8, IE7 or IE6. This was immensely useful as it allowed me to avoid installing a VM to test against each version of IE for compatibility.

Anyone that does web development will have issues with some version of IE at some point, at least up until IE10 (IE10 seems to do most things pretty well). IE9 lacked some pretty basic things like placeholder text (that gray text that appears in empty textboxes on some sites, like IMDB's search box).

No proper add-ons support still a no-go for me. The performance gains is not that much to persuade me from Firefox.

cetla said,
No proper add-ons support still a no-go for me. The performance gains is not that much to persuade me from Firefox.

IE has always had add-on support, what do you consider "proper"?

Proper is the ability to install from one central add-on repository. No need to restart the browser. Also the ability to sync your add ons across devices. All things Chrome has.

cetla said,
No proper add-ons support still a no-go for me.

Add-ons are a thing of the past.

Microsoft is pushing developers to create apps that run inside a sandbox, so that in the future, most people will be able to run an OS like Windows RT or Windows Phone that protects them from being infected by malwares coming from apps they install themselves (that also means goodbye to toolbars that get installed with many apps downloaded from the internet)

it would not make any sense to allow people to install browser extensions, because malwares developers would start developing malicious extensions, if they no longer have the possibility to infect users through traditional executable files.

most people who use extensions don't realize they could be malicious. They have the ability to steal your passwords, credit card number, browsing history, replace data on the fly to enable efficient phishing, spy you with your webcam, and even join a botnet.

a marketplace validation would not be enough to protect the user, because extensions can change their behavior after being validated as safe.

the only way to protect users efficiently is to sandbox everything. This means NO browsers extensions.

furthermore, IE natively supports many things that would require an extension on other browsers:
-developer tools
-ads blocker (through tracking protection lists)
-phone number detection and association with voip client in IE11
-accelerators (ability to do things like quick translation by right clicking on a selected text).

for things like youtube downloader extensions, it makes much more sense to use a dedicated youtube downloader WinRT app from the store to browse youtube, because a youtube downloader extension is able to spy your entire browsing, not just your youtube browsing. WinRT apps are a much safer choice.


last but not least, a lot of browser crashes, hangs, performances issues, rendering issues, excessive battery usage are caused by extensions.

we're in 2013. It doesn't make any sense to trust browser extensions if you expect a secure and reliable browsing experience. If you don't care about that, well, stay with Firefox.

Edited by link8506, Jul 25 2013, 10:16pm :

I guess you werk for Microsoft or something? That was quite a write up. But I just need my greasemonkey and stylish add-ons. IE doesn't those capability, too bad.

Yeah, IE having no good addon support is a no go for me too.
Also, that tracking protection list in IE really suck - no way to manually add or remove items.

I like that fact that Firefox addons are just javascript files so they can be easily inspected for maliciousness or privacy leaks. In fact, I have customized several downloaded addons just to suit my needs. The addons have made my experience more secure and reliable.

cetla said,
I guess you werk for Microsoft or something? That was quite a write up. But I just need my greasemonkey and stylish add-ons. IE doesn't those capability, too bad.

Just because someone has put some effort into making their case doesn't mean they work for a particular company whose views happen to align with their own.

You can justify your use, that's fantastic. The point is, add-ons are not the essential deal breaker you're portraying them to be, and a number of people can live quite happily without them. I don't see the need for them either, perhaps I work for Microsoft as well?

figgy said,
Yeah, IE having no good addon support is a no go for me too.
Also, that tracking protection list in IE really suck - no way to manually add or remove items.

you can disable the tracking protection for individual websites.

you can also choose among different lists, or even create one from scratch to decide what you want to be blocked.

I like that fact that Firefox addons are just javascript files so they can be easily inspected for maliciousness or privacy leaks. In fact, I have customized several downloaded addons just to suit my needs. The addons have made my experience more secure and reliable.


addons are not "just JavaScript" files. They can also contain unsandboxed native code on Firefox. And javascript addons can still manipulate data on your hard disk, and send private data such as passwords to remote servers.
furthermore, addons can have their behavior changed remotely after you inspected them and declared them as safe.

they definitely don't make your browsing experience safer or more reliable.

Ideas Man said,

Just because someone has put some effort into making their case doesn't mean they work for a particular company whose views happen to align with their own.

You can justify your use, that's fantastic. The point is, add-ons are not the essential deal breaker you're portraying them to be, and a number of people can live quite happily without them. I don't see the need for them either, perhaps I work for Microsoft as well?

exactly.
(and I don't work for Microsoft either)
I'm just saying that addons support is stupid nowadays.
very few people use them on purpose, and even those who do could easily replace them with sand alone apps (such as video downloader apps).

unfortunately, a huge number of users are affected by crappy addons (such as toolbars, or addons that display flash ads in google search results on google chrome!). Support for addons cause a lot of problems for a huge number of users, even though a tiny number of them actually use them for useful purpose. It made perfectly sense to not support them in IE Metro.

One of the big plus for me is minimalism and lack of add-ons so to each their own. If you must have add-ons then there's Firefox and Chrome. If you want lean, secure browsing experience then there's IE. With the new Dev tools I no longer need to use Chrome except for testing in the end

I respect and welcome your comments. If you think IE makes your experience better then great!
However to respond to your reply, I have the skills and capability to inspect and figure out what is a good addon what is not. I am not going to degrade my experience just because I am paranoid.

FF,Chrome,Safari, and even Opera of old all have addons support. And all of them are pretty fool-proof. IE is the only browser that is being left behind. I don't know what more stupider than that...

Honestly, I am happy it doesn't have plugins. No crashes, no unnecessary memory being used, no speed issues, No security issues. Full protection on a browser that is done right. If the browser is good enough, you don't need plugins anyway.

cetla said,
FF,Chrome,Safari, and even Opera of old all have addons support. And all of them are pretty fool-proof...

No, addons are NOT fool-proof.
malicious addons can do a lot of damage and steal a lot of personal data, even when visiting https sites.

of course, as long as users are allowed to run exe files on their computer, it makes more sense for malicious developers to create malwares as exe files, because they will be able to infect you no matter what web browser you use.

but on an OS like Windows RT (or iOS) where users can't run exe files directly, if MS offers the ability to install browser extensions, you can be certain that malwares developers will start creating malicious extensions

Note that even though malicious extensions have already seen in the wild, they are still less common than traditional malware. But of course, that will quickly change if extensions become the only way to create malwares on modern OS enforcing a sandboxed app model.

cetla said,
FF,Chrome,Safari, and even Opera of old all have addons support. And all of them are pretty fool-proof. IE is the only browser that is being left behind. I don't know what more stupider than that...

Sorry but no add-ons are far from fool proof. Most authors are one-man teams and simply don't have the resources and/or knowledge to perform adequate quality assurance and security checks. Many plugins have gaping security holes (whether exploited or not yet) and many have performance implications because they are not properly optimized and don't manage memory and resource consumption quite well. Don't be fooled.

Extensions are sandboxed, even nacl extensions are protected. As with apps you see what permissions it requires when installing.

And sure, many extensions are written by one man teams, but so are Win8 apps. Should we remove the app store?

Win8 apps can be written using web technologies and so will IE extensions, just give it a version or two. That's my guess. Extensions aren't exactly going anywhere anytime soon.

I generally don't care about add-ons. But if I'm using Chrome or Firefox (60% of needing it vs 100%) than IE, then I need it. Because I wanted my IE to feel clean! Al least add-ons that don't appear anywhere as an icon or even a toolbar.

cetla said,
No proper add-ons support still a no-go for me. The performance gains is not that much to persuade me from Firefox.

As a web developer i don't care about ad-on that much. I rather need tools and javascript debugger that works. If thise are better than firebug+dev toolbar I would go for it.

I have to be honest. I can't stand Firefox and I used to love it. Firefox is slow, crashes just by viewing my email account and has poor rendering and become the next Netscape. It's horrible and I use it daily just because I do a lot of research and have a lot of tabs and I wouldn't use it daily to be honest. IE 11>>>>>Chrome>>>>>>>>>> Firefox.