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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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