updated 12:50 pm EST, Wed November 18, 2009
Internet Explorer 9 still early
Microsoft on the second day of its Professional Developers Conference by providing an early look at Internet Explorer 9. The new browser is just three weeks into development but is already expected to significantly outperform its predecessor. The new version will take advantage of hardware acceleration from graphics chipsets that support D2D in DirectX to offload many of the visual elements of browsing, such as maps or sub-pixel rendering. Microsoft's aim is to let the hardware "shine through" in the browser, chief software architect Steven Sinofsky said.
The company also made a renewed pledge to web standards and said it will support both newer technologies like HTML5 as well as those it has ignored in the past. CSS code can now show rounded borders, and CSS selectors are now supported. Sinofsky explained that this area still needs significant development time but that a perfect score on the ACID standards test is the ultimate goal. IE9 in its very early state only manages a 32/100 score where the latest Chrome, Opera and Safari versions are already at 100.
There are "a lot of things we need to do" at Microsoft to follow standards, the executive added.
No roadmap has been given for the browser, but the development is likely to prove crucial for Microsoft. Despite the release of IE8 and many users receiving the new browser by default with Windows 7, total IE use is continuing to fall as Firefox, Safari and Chrome respectively draw more users.