- by Andrew, "OneNote Is My Wingman", Levin
So, IE 9 is out. My initial reaction is that I like it. This is mainly because Microsoft did a great job at removing the main sources of clutter, allowing IE to take a back seat to the user's browsing experience, and letting the web content be at the forefront. Once installed, the default configuration presents a very minimalistic approach, thus rendering a good amount of real estate for the web to take over. Let's do a quick review of some of the main features and layout.
Tabs, of course, are a necessity. Luckily the only aspect of these that were modified was their location. Now you have the option for the tabs to be shown next to the address bar, as opposed to just below it. The address bar itself has changed too, as you now enter your search phrases directly into it, rather than having a separate search bar. The same row as your address bar also contains buttons and menus for your basic functionality, such as home, favorites, and tools.
As in IE 8, the menu bar is not present by default. At first though, I always immediately made it viewable on any machine I was working on. But more recently I came to realize that the only time I use it is for the Internet Options menu, so I started hiding it. I also used to use the favorites bar often as well, and enjoyed the company of the status bar at the bottom. But now that I see that I can have everything I really need (back/forward buttons, address bar, search bar, tabs, home, favorites, tools) all in the in same row. So, I ousted the favorites and status bar along with the others.
The end result of IE 9 is a very pleasing experience and appearance. None of my favorite functionality was lost, only modified to allow for a better customization of the browser. It also has a slightly updated design which fits very nicely with Windows 7. Overall, I think it’s a winner. Without even reading any of Microsoft's release notes on the browser I could immediately tell that their design goals were to produce a product that can provide the various type of functionality and features required when browsing the web, while keeping as low of a profile as possible. IE 9 is definitely a success in both categories. If you'd like to know how Trigon can help IE 9 benefit your business, don't hesitate to contact us.
Today IE9 can play HTML5 video in both the industry-standard H.264 format and the newer WebM format. With the WebM Project’s release of WebM Components for IE9 (Preview), Windows customers running IE9 can play WebM videos in Web pages. IE9 is the only browser today committed to supporting both formats directly.
In the newly published Video Format Support demo at the IE Test Drive site, you can try out for yourself Web pages with both video formats on them in different browsers. You can see how Web site authors can adjust the experience on their pages based on the browser and operating system the visitor is using. You can also see the opportunity that HTML5 video offers publishers to make video an integral part of the Web experience, especially when it is fully hardware accelerated.
Internet Explorer is really making strides to become a forward thinking browser when compared to others. While Microsoft could be considered behind the times in other facets of their company, this is a great step to ensure they can compete. WebM is a standard attempting to be popularized by the Google as the official open standard in HTML5 video.
While Google does has a vested interest in its success, Apple does not. Currently, iOS has no support for this video alternative, and presumably has no plans to do so. Those fancy embedded videos that play on your iPhone or iPad are H.264. WebM is Google's answer to H.264 so you'll most likely be hearing much more about it in the near future. Trigon has you covered, don't sweat it.
Last night Microsoft finally launched their latest, and presumably, greatest browser into the world. It seems to have a new streamlined interface and also some interesting partnerships with popular internet services.
Many partners are announcing special offers for Internet Explorer 9 customers that will be available in the coming weeks, including the following:
- Slacker. A free monthlong subscription for customers who pin the Slacker site to their taskbars
- Groupon. $5 in Groupon Bucks when making a first purchase from the Internet Explorer 9 Jump List
- Hulu. A free month of the Hulu Plus subscription for users who pin Hulu
- eBay. Offering coupons or eBay Bucks for bids or purchases made using the Internet Explorer 9 pinning and Jump List features
- Gilt. A series of product bundles for customers who make purchases of specified amounts via the Jump List
That's certainly one way to get folks to try out the new browser. Haters of Adobe's Flash should be happy in that it now will use some hardware acceleration to help out the computer drain:
“Internet Explorer 9 has moved the bar in hardware acceleration, enabling Flash Player to tap into the GPU and creating a win-win situation for our mutual customers who want fast, rich content experiences,” said Paul Betlem, senior director, Flash Player Engineering at Adobe. “With Internet Explorer 9 and Flash Player taking advantage of the GPU, we continue the collaboration with Microsoft to further optimize performance. Both companies are also working closely to advance and streamline controls for managing Flash Player privacy and security settings in Internet Explorer 9.”
Interestingly, further down the press release Microsoft trumps their HTML5 forward progress. This would be at odds with their celebration of Flash GPU improvements:
“I love the Web for the kinds of joyous experiences it can create!” said Ze Frank, who is launching new features within the social gaming site, Star.Me, in coordination with the Austin event. “HTML5 is a huge step forward for the browser because it brings the Web back to a unified platform for creation. By integrating HTML5 into Internet Explorer 9 and hardware accelerating the browser, Microsoft has signaled its commitment to pushing the Web forward, and that is certainly worth celebrating.”
What do you think; will this be enough to wrestle you away from Google Chrome, or even, shudder, Firefox? Trigon and its clients should be pleased with the new security improvements put in place by this new version, though. The more security the better.
Malware is now the No. 1 risk to people’s security online, and Internet Explorer 9 provides the first Download Manager with integrated SmartScreen malware protection. The browser also introduces SmartScreen download reputation, a groundbreaking browser feature that uses reputation data to remove unnecessary warnings for well-known files and show more severe warnings when the download has a higher risk of being malicious. Studies show that Internet Explorer 9 blocks 99 percent of socially engineered malware attacks, five times more than Firefox and 33 times more than Google Chrome.
By any objective standard, Microsoft has succeeded at the task it set out to do: build a fast, standards-compliant browser with a clean, modern design that integrates well with Windows 7. But is that enough to preserve its shrinking lead in an increasingly competitive field of browsers? Can it convince defectors to end their experiments with Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox and return to the fold? Can it excite web developers and kick up its own tempo to keep up with younger, faster competitors?
Being that I'm both young and fast, I'm intrigued by the thought of using IE for anything more than work related services. If this were a Browser Users Anonymous, I would be about to admit that I use Google Chrome almost exclusively. Gasp - you say! Well, don't flip out of your office chair and loose that Everything bagel just yet. I do have IE open all day long but for researching tech news and updating my cat's Twitter, I'll stick with Chrome. It has great bookmark-sync along with my Gmail credentials, and some great Extensions. Extensions are those handy "plug-ins" that show a GMail icon in the top of the bar, let's you block Flash, YouTube comments, and other amazing necessities.
So, can IE survive with hip youths like myself? Let's read onto some of the main points.
You can almost see the tiny hairs rise on the back of an IE9 developer’s neck if you describe the browser as minimalist . It’s refined , you are told. It is site-centric. Since the beta, IE’s designers have done even more refining and polishing. They’ve shaved a few pixels off the browser’s frame. Elements in the UI that add noise and distraction are hidden (although you can easily restore the status bar, the Favorites bar, and the Command bar if you are willing to sacrifice some screen real estate for information). The browser’s chrome doesn’t compete for your attention with the page you’re viewing.
That's a good start. I generally cringe when I see old fogies using IE as their main browser. It looks so...outdated. Some of the reasons I use Chrome are for it's design. It gets out of the way and let's the page become the focal point. Not so with previous versions of IE; the browser itself reserves most of your attentions.
Features like Protected Mode, which sandboxes IE processes and prevents rogue apps from infiltrating into higher-integrity processes, were already part of IE7 and IE8 on post-XP Windows versions. But a potentially much bigger addition to IE’s security underpinnings makes its debut in this release. It’s called ActiveX Filtering, and if you’ve ever wished for an IE equivalent to FlashBlock, your wish just came true.
Clicking ActiveX Filtering on the Safety menu acts like a master switch that universally disables all ActiveX controls on all sites. The most common ActiveX control these days, of course, is Adobe’s Flash Player. (Outside of the U.S., ActiveX is more commonly used, especially in banking applications, which makes the protection even more useful.) With ActiveX Filtering on, Flash content is silently disabled, with no prompts to install or re-enable the plugin. In my testing, this feature worked flawlessly.
In my current build of Google Chome, I have an Extension called FlashBlock. This automatically disables Flash objects from loading on websites and gives my laptop's fan a well deserved breather. Flash is notorious for causing pages to crash and also wearing down your computer. Good on you, IE.
Microsoft has also continued to invest in reducing the working set (RAM usage) for the browser. In a brief and hardly comprehensive test, I found that opening the same sequence of six tabs resulted in nearly identical memory usage between IE9 and Google Chrome 9, with a difference of less than 1%. That’s a huge improvement over IE8, where the identical set of pages required nearly 50% more RAM.
This is arguably the most importation caveat for potential IE users. I remember the browser being a little too slow for my tests - not only that - it made the rest of my computer slow. It's great to see Microsoft finally dealing with many of the longstanding IE issues that have cropped up over the years. Granted, these are only a few topics of discussion for the RC of Internet Explorer, but you will no doubt see Trigon reviewing the final build, and discussing if your small to mid-sized business can benefit from it.
IT Support News | IE 9 will be unveiled to the wolrld in beta form, shortly. Recently, the Windows Team Blog announced that it will unleash Internet Explorer 9 on September 15 at a media event in the land of Lincecum - San Francisco, Ca.
To piggyback off of the PC World article, I've read numerous articles that have discussed how happy the IE 9 team is with their product. They're extremely excited about their HTML5 capabilities, and IE 9's hardware acceleration. In fact, an article on Tech Radar discussed just how excited Microsoft was with IE 9, and quoted Microsoft's Lead Program Manager for IE Performance, Jason Weber, who said " It's clear that HTML5 will enable a new class of applications that were previously not possible through standards based markup. and these applications can't be limited by the performance of today's browsers."
IE 9 will do HTML 5 the right way, and as Weber says, "That's our objective with Internet Explorer 9 and why we're so excited about hardware acceleration."
With September 15 just around the corner, look for IE 9 to come your way soon!