Microsoft releases fourth and final Internet Explorer 9 Platform Preview

Microsoft is hard at work on the successor to Internet Explorer 8. To date, it has released three IE9 platform previews. Each preview has become progressively better than the last. The previews may have been (and still are) lacking the new user interface, but they have performed quite well by all appearances. Today, more progress is being made towards the final release. Microsoft has officially released their fourth and final IE 9 Platform Preview.

According to Microsoft General Manager, Dean Hachamovitch, this release demonstrates the potential advantages of fully hardware accelerated HTML 5 graphics. Platform Preview 4 also demonstrates great performance improvements on industry standard tests. IE 9 Platform Preview 3 received a score of 88/100 on the Acid 3 test while PP4 scores 95/100. The remaining points that are missing involve the SVG fonts and animations that are currently being transitioned.

In preparation for the upcoming beta (currently scheduled for September), Microsoft is asking Web Developers to begin coding their sites according to the web standards rather than testing for IE versions. Hachamovitch stated that the IE 9 platform is nearly complete and therefore, ready to be tested publicly.

Screenshots of an early build of Internet Explorer 9 leaked to the web late last month. The screenshots revealed that Microsoft is planning a download manager and add-on manager for Internet Explorer 9.

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. Microsoft recently performed W3C Web Standards tests on IE9, including HTML5, SVG 1.1 2nd edition, CSS3 media queries, CSS3 borders & backgrounds, CSS3 selectors, DOM level 3 core, DOM level 3 events and DOM level 2 style.

Microsoft originally began scouting for Internet Explorer 9 beta testers in March. In an email to testers, Justin Saint Clair - Program Manager of Internet Explorer invited testers to join a "select group of IE9 Tech Feedback participants." Microsoft recently confirmed that IE9 will beta in September. Neowin believes this will be September 2. Microsoft is expected to unveil its new UI for Internet Explorer 9 during the beta phase.

To download Internet Explorer 9 Platform Preview 4, please visit the IE 9 Platform Preview Website.

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it would be nice if MS changed their IE release schedules and pushed features out faster, the 1/2 yr period is just too long

- Kaboose - said,
it would be nice if MS changed their IE release schedules and pushed features out faster, the 1/2 yr period is just too long

Then what would they do with enterprises ?

Now if only it would download. Sucker keeps locking up on me on install with the second prerequisite. Have to do a control alt delete just to shut it down. Can't they make downloading a demo easier than that? not a good sign.

Do all the big supporters and the IE9 dev team realizes that IE9 is not only restricted to MS Windows but also to Vista and above? Of course they do, so what's the game plan: One OS One Browser? This sounds like a shoot in the self foot to me. They are trying to hard to make IE9 a more non-browser than IE6 is. I feel for them. Bad.

Ulyses said,
Do all the big supporters and the IE9 dev team realizes that IE9 is not only restricted to MS Windows but also to Vista and above? Of course they do, so what's the game plan: One OS One Browser? This sounds like a shoot in the self foot to me. They are trying to hard to make IE9 a more non-browser than IE6 is. I feel for them. Bad.
Why try to devolp for an OS that is almost 10 years old? Why didn't they make IE 7 or IE 8 for Win 98? One reason is more features in Vista and Win 7 than are supported in XP.

johnnyq3 said,
Why try to devolp for an OS that is almost 10 years old? Why didn't they make IE 7 or IE 8 for Win 98? One reason is more features in Vista and Win 7 than are supported in XP.

Your example is far fetched. Win 98 it's not NT based like 2k, XP and above. And there are other OSs there. Competitive browsers means that: coverage across OSs.

From a web developer point of view, IE9 is looking promising - but the problem is older (much worse) versions of IE will still be used by a helluva lot of people. I mean, IE6 was released 9 years ago and 20% of the world still use it! If they built a compatible version for Win 9x+ and pushed it to windows update it would make a lot of people like me very happy (:

First of all, AFAIK, it has not been confirmed that the final IE9 will not be compatible with XP. Though not likely, they could implement a software fallback for XP, since it doesn't support D2D.

However, IMO, even if they don't support Windows XP, I think it's better to move IE forward than to let it be held back by an antiquated operating system. Windows XP was released in 2001. It's a 9 year-old operating system!

For comparison with other browsers on other platforms:
Firefox 3.6 for Mac requires Mac OS 10.4 - which was released in 2005.
Firefox 3.6 for Linux requires GTK+ 2.1 - which was released in 2006.
Safari 5 for Mac requires Mac OS 10.5.8 - which was released in 2009.
Chrome for Mac requires Mac OS 10.5.6 - which was released in 2008.
Chrome for Linux requires Ubuntu 8.04 - which was released in 2008.

All the other browsers on other platforms are requiring operating systems that are 1-5 years old. I don't think it's such a bad thing that Microsoft is not supporting a 9 year-old platform with IE9...

I wish they would change the name. Internet Explorer just sounds very Windows 98ish. I mean ya, the name fits it, a it does "explore the internet" but I would like it to have a catch name. >.<

david said,
I wish they would change the name. Internet Explorer just sounds very Windows 98ish. I mean ya, the name fits it, a it does "explore the internet" but I would like it to have a catch name. >.<
Everyone know the name internet explorer. Why change it?

I did a test with SlickSpeed ( http://mootools.net/slickspeed/# )
Opposite to Acid test, SlickSpeed do a test using a real framework (Mootools, Jquery and more)

And it was my resultants:(in milliseconds, less is better)
IE8 :
241 174 804 588 205 (0 errors)
ff4 (latest minefield)
50 55 121 162 21 (3 errors, again in Dojo).
ff3.6 (latest)
63 51 208 251 38 (3 errors using Dojo)
ie9 (latest preview)
52 69 184 166 25 (many errors in Dojo and YUI framework).

For javascript framework the current version of Ie9 is as fast as firefox 3.6 but it is also incompatible and bring new problems. Or you could say, in a real world scenario, ie9 is less compatible than ie8.

Magallanes said,
I did a test with SlickSpeed ( http://mootools.net/slickspeed/# )
Opposite to Acid test, SlickSpeed do a test using a real framework (Mootools, Jquery and more)

And it was my resultants:(in milliseconds, less is better)
IE8 :
241 174 804 588 205 (0 errors)
ff4 (latest minefield)
50 55 121 162 21 (3 errors, again in Dojo).
ff3.6 (latest)
63 51 208 251 38 (3 errors using Dojo)
ie9 (latest preview)
52 69 184 166 25 (many errors in Dojo and YUI framework).

For javascript framework the current version of Ie9 is as fast as firefox 3.6 but it is also incompatible and bring new problems. Or you could say, in a real world scenario, ie9 is less compatible than ie8.

I'd not trust this test. These framework is not from W3C where standards come from. It is very likely that these frameworks don't follow standards and has error as well. Plus not all tests are trusted. Even Microsoft Tests are doubted by people.

satus said,

I'd not trust this test. These framework is not from W3C where standards come from. It is very likely that these frameworks don't follow standards and has error as well. Plus not all tests are trusted. Even Microsoft Tests are doubted by people.

It seems Dojo simply doesn't work with IE9. Also, Prototype nearly always return 0...I doubt IE is the culprit there.

Wow, MS is really stepping their game up good to see.

I think we'll have a lot of good browsers on the market at the end of 2010

Ui needs more eye candy than ie8 and lose the delay when creating a new tab. Preview works like a charm though. Can't wait for the beta!

Has there been anything about any user interface improvements? Standards support is great and all, but IE has always been behind the competition on the user interface front as well.

This GPU acceleration will make my laptop rock to hapiness about battery time.
Browsing was never so efficient before.

satus said,
they now got 95/100 ACID3 test. 5 more to go in beta

To be honest, that won't matter. lol. If it performs very well and has great features, it is good enough in my book.

Html5 videos are encoded in h264 format, h.264 offers better compression and quality ,so we're playing videos natively with ie9 since it supports h264-encoded videos. And how to converter html5 videos to other video formats, we need video converter like ifunia, who declared they are dedicated in creating affordable and easy multimedia software to simplify your digital life, to do it?

Radovich said,
Html5 videos are encoded in h264 format, h.264 offers better compression and quality ,so we're playing videos natively with ie9 since it supports h264-encoded videos. And how to converter html5 videos to other video formats, we need video converter like ifunia, who declared they are dedicated in creating affordable and easy multimedia software to simplify your digital life, to do it?

yes and no. *some* html5 videos are encoded in h264 but html5 specification is quite open and does not specific a specific codec, so several vendor (Apple, Google, Mozilla and Microsoft) and pushing their own video standard, or you could say, a mess.
h264 is pretty decent but it required a powerful machine and a costly license.

Magallanes said,

yes and no. *some* html5 videos are encoded in h264 but html5 specification is quite open and does not specific a specific codec, so several vendor (Apple, Google, Mozilla and Microsoft) and pushing their own video standard, or you could say, a mess.
h264 is pretty decent but it required a powerful machine and a costly license.

MS said though that for IE9 they are using the liscene that they have so they only payment you have to make is when you buy the OS.

johnnyq3 said,
MS said though that for IE9 they are using the liscene that they have so they only payment you have to make is when you buy the OS.
Which is fine for microsoft, but heat about Mozilla? And what about content creators?

IE to date has been a security nightmare but hopefuly ie9 will be better but as ie is the`way it is i don't expect much to change.

soldier1st said,
IE to date has been a security nightmare but hopefuly ie9 will be better but as ie is the`way it is i don't expect much to change.

I totally agree with you about that with IE 6, and possibly IE 7, but I haven't had any problems with IE 8...

soldier1st said,
IE to date has been a security nightmare but hopefuly ie9 will be better but as ie is the`way it is i don't expect much to change.

Today IE is very secure due to Protected Mode. Not like old time anymore trust me. IE8 is very secure. Meanwhile other browsers are so unsecured like Safari

satus said,

Today IE is very secure due to Protected Mode. Not like old time anymore trust me. IE8 is very secure. Meanwhile other browsers are so unsecured like Safari

True, you find most of the complaints about IE are about 6, and those people complaining haven't used IE since then. IE 8 is great; fast, secure and stable on all the systems I've used which are well maintained.

I only use IE (8) at work these days and it is my favourite browser out of all the available.

I use Firefox on my Macbook because I can't stand Safari, however I do wish IE was available for Mac and then I'd switch to it there as well.

That being said, and not available. Great work MS with the frequent updates these days. They seem to be listening to the public and developing products that are on par and/or more advanced than the competitors in the market.

I look forward to seeing what IE9 will end up like

chadzero said,
I only use IE (8) at work these days and it is my favourite browser out of all the available.

I use Firefox on my Macbook because I can't stand Safari, however I do wish IE was available for Mac and then I'd switch to it there as well.

That being said, and not available. Great work MS with the frequent updates these days. They seem to be listening to the public and developing products that are on par and/or more advanced than the competitors in the market.

I look forward to seeing what IE9 will end up like

Not just me then. I also prefer IE out of all available browsers!

Something is fishy , they did not include FF beta 2 , or FF pre beta 3 (has 10~15% boost in SunSpider) in there tests Well , even they did not compare D2D of Firefox

bogas04 said,
Something is fishy , they did not include FF beta 2 , or FF pre beta 3 (has 10~15% boost in SunSpider) in there tests Well , even they did not compare D2D of Firefox

Actually, Microsoft did. Look at the chart again.

There is so much hype around IE9. Much more than any other browser. I think they will just sweep the market away this time around!

Preview 3 looked decent on the Acid3 test and despite what the release says, what I get is horrible. I'm running Windows 7 64 bit with the new Fourth Preview build I get to about 13/100. I wish I could show what it looks like. I wonder why what I have is so COMPLETELY different than what's in the release.

mattisking said,
Preview 3 looked decent on the Acid3 test and despite what the release says, what I get is horrible. I'm running Windows 7 64 bit with the new Fourth Preview build I get to about 13/100. I wish I could show what it looks like. I wonder why what I have is so COMPLETELY different than what's in the release.

It may be a bug on your system. I don't know, but mine gets the number that they claim.

IE9 honors the security settings that are placed in IE7/8. If you have the Internet Zone locked down, then a lot of stuff can break. If you don't care about your IE settings, the quickest way to fix them is to go to Control Panel -> Internet Options -> Advanced -> Reset, and try it again.

Kirkburn said,
You realise that's just showing the tests MS submitted? Yes, it's good. It's not quite *that* good.

From your point of view SunSpider JavaScript Benchmark should be invalid since is made by Apple.

Biglo said,
OK good now next is the beta that I'm really waiting on.

Yeah, but I hope the new UI is faster than 8, and faster than previous ones, so it is more responsive at the time you are going to click STOP.

Glad to see Microsoft is getting its s--- back in gear. Very impressive so far, now lets see if they can cap 100.

Recon415 said,
Glad to see Microsoft is getting its s--- back in gear. Very impressive so far, now lets see if they can cap 100.

It does look like they will hit their mark. The remaining issues don't seem all that big. That is just my opinion though.

Aethec said,

They will not. They won't implement SVG Fonts, nor SMIL. The blog post explains why : http://blogs.msdn.com/b/ie/arc...ailable-for-developers.aspx

Ah! I see what you are saying. "There's already been discussion without objection of dropping SVG fonts from the Acid3 test. The community has put forth a proposal in the SVG Working Group to give SVG Fonts optional status." is what it says at the link. Therefore, if SVG is optional, the score goes up anyway. Either way it is good.

Going from 20/100 to 95/100 in one major version (and slightly below the Firefox 4 nightlies).
That alone speaks volumes about the commitment of the IE team.

billyea said,
Going from 20/100 to 95/100 in one major version (and slightly below the Firefox 4 nightlies).
That alone speaks volumes about the commitment of the IE team.

Exactly! The IE team is really pulling it together now! I am rooting for them very much so because this has huge implications for web development. No more 6 versions of a website just to make sure that everyone can use it!

billyea said,
Going from 20/100 to 95/100 in one major version (and slightly below the Firefox 4 nightlies).
That alone speaks volumes about the commitment of the IE team.

firefox 4 will never gonna get 100/100
FF devs don't care about those missing features

billyea said,
Going from 20/100 to 95/100 in one major version (and slightly below the Firefox 4 nightlies).
That alone speaks volumes about the commitment of the IE team.

From what I understand the people who do Acid3 are going to remove some tests because they're no longer valid/useful in real life - so I'd say very soon they'll reach 100 without doing anything

Acid3 means nothing given it doesn't provide an exhaustive test of features, so it is possible to pass the acid3 test and yet have a crappy poorly conforming browser.

billyea said,
Going from 20/100 to 95/100 in one major version (and slightly below the Firefox 4 nightlies).
That alone speaks volumes about the commitment of the IE team.

And not updating the engine for , 2,nono 4 , oh , maybe 6 years , compensates all that

bogas04 said,
And not updating the engine for , 2,nono 4 , oh , maybe 6 years , compensates all that

You know, the guys who made IE9 aren't the same one as the IE6 team....

I actually wouldn't mind if Microsoft entered the Mac market again with a new Internet Explorer. Would be pretty interesting. Every major browser is multi-platform, except Internet Explorer.

The same could be said for most media players, unfortunately. Windows Media Player for Mac hasn't been updated in years, and even the Flip4Mac codecs are out of date. Neither supports DRM'd content either.

.Neo said,
I actually wouldn't mind if Microsoft entered the Mac market again with a new Internet Explorer. Would be pretty interesting. Every major browser is multi-platform, except Internet Explorer.

They'd have to rewrite the browser from the ground up as IE9 is deeply rooted in Windows-only technologies. IE9 is becoming a showpiece for what Windows as a platform is capable of so there's no incentive for Microsoft to make it multi-platform when their business is to, well, sell Windows among others.

kiddingguy said,
Let the final version be released soon.... still 2010 maybe?

If it follows IE8's development, Beta 1 is in September, Beta 2 is in December, with a final in Spring 2011.

vice le von said,
Why the hating? Did it eat your children and took your woman? nine nine nine!

I've had many bad experiences with IE in the past.

crispkreme said,
I hate IE, but the way IE9 is looking so far, that may change. I can't wait for the beta.

I don't hate Internet Explorer but I don't use it on a regular basis. I'll use whatever browser best fits the task at hand and Firefox tends to be my primary.

shinji257 said,

I don't hate Internet Explorer but I don't use it on a regular basis. I'll use whatever browser best fits the task at hand and Firefox tends to be my primary.

Same here, except I find I use Seamonkey mostly!
In fact, 3 browsers on my machines and my order of preference is Seamonkey, Opera and IE8.

I open and close them so often over the course of the day they each get used quite regularly.

Can't wait to try IE9!!

vice le von said,
Why the hating? Did it eat your children and took your woman? nine nine nine!

No. But, it irritates me when I'm using someone elses computer and all the have is IE installed with 2 or 3 rows of useless crappy toolbars and god knows what other crap ware beyond what's visible. Just thinking about it makes my skin crawl...