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Microsoft To Disclose IE 9 Details in March

Microsoft plans to talk about Internet Explorer 9 at its MIX 10 event for Web developers next month.

IE 9 is currently unreleased, and Microsoft provided no new details about its experimental Web browser. Instead, a notice was posted indicating that Dean Hachamovitch, general manager of Microsoft's Internet Explorer team, will provide an update on IE 9 at MIX 10, scheduled to take place in mid-March.

IE 9 first appeared publicly in a demo at Microsoft's Professional Developer Conference in November. At the PDC, Microsoft mostly demonstrated smooth scaling type in a prototype of the browser using "Direct2D" technology, a subset of Microsoft's proprietary Windows DirectX technology. Direct2D uses accelerated graphics capabilities in hardware to produce the smooth scaling effects.

Windows President Steven Sinofsky said at PDC that Microsoft was focusing on standards compliance with IE 9. He added that IE 9 would use an "accelerated JavaScript rendering engine," according to a report from the event. The Internet Explorer team planned to improve IE 9's test results using the Worldwide Web Consortium's CSS 3 recommendation and show improved performance on the Acid3 test, Sinofsky added.

The IE 9 prototype showed poor results initially on the Acid3 test, scoring 32/100 on its overall pixel rendering capabilities, according to Microsoft's IE blog. However, Microsoft has tended to be critical about the various tests used to determine browser compliance with W3C recommendations.

Lately, Microsoft has been contributing tests to various W3C working groups. The company recently joined the W3C's Scalable Vector Graphics Working Group, which develops recommendations for two-dimensional graphics rendering in browsers. Microsoft was also asked to lead the Testing Task Force for the W3C's HTML5 Working Group, according to a Microsoft spokesperson.

Web developers no doubt will welcome seeing a greater emphasis on standards in Microsoft's browsers. They still struggle with the legacy of IE 6, which is widely considered to be a non-standards-compliant browser and a security risk. Various campaigns asking people to stop using IE 6 have popped up, and Google recently announced that it will end support for IE 6 in March for its Docs and Sites Web applications.

Microsoft has also been encouraging users to upgrade their browsers from IE 6. However, some enterprise users still stick with IE 6 to maintain compatibility with older Web applications.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.

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