Microsoft launches Internet Explorer developer version; shows us the browser's future

Not the new Internet Explorer. Pretty picture though.

Internet Explorer has seen some major improvements in the last few version but Microsoft is far from done. With that in mind, the company has now launched “Internet Explorer Developer Channel”, a beta version of IE that gives users an idea of what’s to come.

Most modern browsers, including Chrome and Firefox offer developers and enthusiasts a beta version. This version usually comes with new features that need to be tested before they’re widely released. Now Microsoft is joining the party with the so-called IE Dev Channel.

IE Dev Channel is a beta version that gives developers a glimpse of what Microsoft is working on for its future versions of Internet Explorer. This isn’t an early version of IE 12 though, rather it’s a numberless version of IE that bundles together improvements destined for IE12 and beyond.

So far this version doesn't unveil any new major features but the program does feature some small additions. First up, this version features the Gamepad API hat lets users control some elements in their browser with their console controllers. Microsoft added support for this in some of their previous web experiences such as Atari Arcade. Secondly, it offers improved dev tools and finally this version includes improvements to WebGL bringing IE's Conformance Test score up to 97%.

The company has been silent on how IE Dev will be updated or even what the update timetable looks like. But if Microsoft is taking hints from its competitors, we’re likely to see an automated update once every 4-6 weeks that adds new features and fixes bugs. We’re hoping this will also be the place where we’ll soon see those “substantial UI changes” that the company hinted at.

If you want to try this version out you can find it here. It works with Windows 8.x as well as Windows 7 but users should be warned that this is not designed to replace the regular version of IE. In fact, Internet Explorer Developer Channel uses Microsoft’s App-V virtualization system to keep the browser sandboxed. As such, folks won’t be able to set it as a default browser and won’t be able to sync any of their settings and this version will probably run slower than the official current version you have installed.

Source: Microsoft  Thanks to Frank B for the tip! | Image via Microsoft

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