Internet Explorer 9 Beta – Coming Soon

For those that regularly follow this blog, you will be aware that Microsoft is currently developing Internet Explorer 9 and has released a total of four “platform previews” to show the nerds and developers amongst us the progress made. Microsoft have been on a pretty tight schedule and have released a new preview once every eight weeks.

Microsoft is planning to release its first public beta of Internet Explorer 9 on September 15th and has managed to get the Acid3 score up to 95% (far better than the paltry 20% for Internet Explorer 8) as well as continuing to crank up the speed of the JavaScript engine. Whilst the Acid3 test may provide a better indication as to the overall compliance of the browser against a range of standards, synthetic JavaScript tests should always be taken with a grain of salt. Real world use with the overheads of the browser interface and multiple tabs will be the true test and users will let their perception guide their browser choice.

Of course, those of us on Windows 7 and Windows Vista will  probably have Internet Explorer 9 thrust upon us at some point beyond the optional installation period. Personally, I only use Internet Explorer to check my corporate webmail (as the rich web client doesn’t work in other browsers for the version of Exchange being used at work). I don’t even use it for Windows Update in Internet Explorer since Windows 7 has dedicated built-in functionality that negates the need to go through the browser.

At any rate, I’ll be giving the beta a go when it comes out and let you know what I think. I do think Microsoft is starting to wake from its slumber in response to increasing popularity and the high level of standards compliance of competing browsers. HTML5 is still in its infancy but AJAX performance is critical when an increasing number of websites are employing this technology.

Internet Explorer is certainly not disappearing any time soon but are these improvements enough to prevent continued downward trends in usage?

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