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Internet Explorer 9 unvieled

Posted in Computing and Operating Systems by Manas Ganguly on March 17, 2010

IE9 shows off HTML5 and the Hardware acceleration. Fundamentally in the right direction. Needs more spunk and refinement.

Internet Explorer 8 has been gradually loosing sheen to the nimbler, faster competitors across. It might still be the most secure browser, but it had some catching up to do on speed and the HTML5 support.

So, Internet Explorer 9 had its work cut out and it delivers. It supports HTML5, boasts a new Microsoft JavaScript engine which is codenamed “Chakra,” and it’ll support new-fangled web technologies like CSS3,DOM and SVG2. Microsoft says one of its main goals with IE9 is to provide a faster browsing experience — always good news — though they don’t have things cranked quite as high as the competition just yet. Preliminary ACID3 tests on the preview show the IE9 scores a 55/100, up from IE8’s dismal 20/100 — a huge leap forward no doubt, but still a far cry from the Chrome, Opera, and Safari scores of 100. However these are still early days for IE9 and improvements are yet to step in.

Quoting IE Blog, IE9 was designed to “enable a new class of applications. These applications will stress the browser runtime and underlying hardware in ways today’s websites don’t. We quickly realized that doing HTML5 right – our intent from the start – is more about designing our browser’s subsystems around what these new applications will need than it is about a particular set of features. From the beginning, we approached IE9 with the goal of enabling professional-grade, modern HTML5 support on top of modern hardware through Windows.”

The IE9 uses a new script engine “Chakra” which powers its fast performance. The secret lies in the fact that Chakra compiles JavaScript in the background on a separate core of the CPU, parallel to IE.

IE9 is also the first browser to provide hardware-accelerated SVG support. IE9’s hardware-accelerated graphics takes full advantage of the PC’s hardware capabilities through the operating system to deliver significant performance gains on graphically rich, interactive web pages.

The IE platform preview also shares the progress on IE platform with the developer community so that the developers can create, contribute and evolve the eco-system and the products around IE9.

As with every incumbent IE is slow on many of the parameters compared to the Firefox, Safari and others, but IE being a majority share player in the browser markets, a robust and capable IE9 would be the key to the majority users accessing graphics rich pages in a better manner.

Microsoft drives IE9 to stay relevant in Browsers

Posted in Computing and Operating Systems, Internet and Search by Manas Ganguly on December 28, 2009

Microsoft has been the dinosaur of the Browser kingdom, but then as with the worthy comparison, Microsoft’s vice grip of the browser markets is loosening out. The latest report of market shares shows 65% share for IE. Mozila Firefox has scaled upto to 25% market share. Android and Safari are small at 4%, but Android atleast is making the right kind of noises and moves and is radically redefining the Browser markets. The Internet Explorer needs to keep up and IE9 seems to be Microsoft’s bet in the new age of browsers.

Whats new with IE9?

Hardware accelerated text and graphics.

The acceleration feature takes advantage of hitherto untapped computing power in a way that’s more useful than other browser-boosting technology–Google’s Native Client to directly employ PC’s processor and Mozilla’s WebGL for accelerated 3D graphics. This is a direct improvement to everybody’s usage of the Web on a daily basis. Web developers are doing what they did before, only now they can tap directly into a PC’s graphics hardware to make their text work better and graphics work better

An increasing fraction of Microsoft’s business is moving online, too, through its Bing, Live, and now online Office 2010 sites and Microsoft is trying to consciously migrate consumers to the cloud. The task is to build a better IE so all the Web sites have a better experience. Microsoft has recently joined the HTML standards effort. Microsoft uses the Direct 2D, which is a hardware-accelerated, immediate-mode, 2-D graphics API that provides high performance and high-quality rendering for 2-D geometry, bitmaps, and text. Direct2D also facilitates a technology called sub-pixel positioning that can smooth the appearance of text on the screen.

With the old technology, that chore can update the screen at a rate of about 5 to 10 frames per second while using 50 to 60 percent of the processor’s horsepower, but using the Direct2D method, the frame rate jumps to a range of 40 to 60 per second while the CPU usage plunges.

Another is the execution of JavaScript, a programming language used widely on the Web for everything from mundane tasks to full-on applications such as Gmail and Google Docs. However, JavaScript isn’t the only bottleneck for browsers. Browser is also an important aspect of the whole internet speed experience.

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