The preview code for the Internet browser’s rendering engine was revealed at Microsoft’s MIX10 developer conference in Las Vegas yesterday. The major goals for the new engine are support for the emerging Web standards such as SVG and HTML5, and greater speed.
The preview version is not the fully fledged browser, and is intended for developers, but director of the IE9 project, Dean Hachamovitch told reporters last week that the user interface for the new browser would also feature big changes.
One way in which Internet Explorer 9 will achieve greater speeds is through using the graphics processing unit (GPU) for rendering and displaying graphics rather than the central processing unit (CPU), which is used by other browsers including earlier versions of Internet Explorer. This will significantly improve Web performance.
Another change in the new browser is an emphasis on browser interoperability, so that programs written for IE9 should run properly on other browsers as well. Hachamovitch said that as Internet Explorer supports more of the markups used by websites, their Acid score will improve. (This is a test run by W3C, the official Internet standards body.) The preview browser engine scored 55 out of 100, which is a significant improvement on the previous version’s score of 20.
It is not yet known when the new browser will be released as a beta or final version. Meanwhile, the platform preview is available to be downloaded for a test drive at http://ie.microsoft.com/testdrive/. The preview will be updated around every eight weeks, but does not run on Windows XP, the operating system of over 70% of Windows users.
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