All posts tagged ‘IE10’

File Under: Browsers

Microsoft Update Secures Flash Plugin for IE 10

Windows 8. Photo: Microsoft

Microsoft has finally released an update for the Flash Player plugin that ships with Internet Explorer 10, patching vulnerabilities that Adobe has long since addressed for anyone using the standalone version of Flash.

Internet Explorer 10 bundles the Flash plugin directly into the browser, which means Adobe’s auto-update tools don’t work, nor can users manually download and install Flash updates. Any security patches and updates for Flash in IE 10 must come from Microsoft, through Windows Update.

However, Microsoft has, thus far, been quite a bit behind Adobe in updating Flash. The update now available for Flash in IE 10 addresses the problems, but comes a month after the vulnerabilities were made public. A Microsoft spokesperson previously told Webmonkey that the timing of Flash updates in IE 10 will be worked out before Windows 8 actually ships later this year.

This round of Microsoft security updates also brings a new version of IE 9, which patches a number of security holes, including a zero-day exploit which allows a malicious website to install the “Poison Ivy” malware, a backdoor trojan that can take over your PC and steal your data.

The Poison Ivy vulnerability was serious enough that Microsoft broke its traditional monthly security update cycle to release an emergency fix for IE earlier this month. If you happened to have missed the out-of-cycle update, be sure you apply this latest round of fixes in Windows Update.

It’s also worth noting that the Poison Ivy malware exploit works on IE 6, 7 and 8 as well as 9. If you’re on Windows XP, or are just stuck using an older version of IE, patches are also available. You can find the full details and a list of all affected platforms in Microsoft’s Security Bulletin.

If you’ve already upgraded to the Internet Explorer 10 preview you don’t need to worry about the Poison Ivy exploit since it doesn’t work in IE 10.

Rumor: Internet Explorer 10 Metro to Run Flash After All

The consumer preview of Windows 8 with no Flash support in IE 10 Metro.

Microsoft seems to have changed its mind about Adobe Flash and will include a bundled version of Flash with its upcoming Metro-style Internet Explorer 10 web browser. Previously Microsoft announced that the Metro version of IE 10 would run without plugins like Adobe Flash or even Microsoft’s own Silverlight.

The rumor of an about-face on Flash comes from leaked Windows 8 screenshots that have turned up on rumor sites WinUnleaked and WithinWindows. Microsoft declined to answer Webmonkey’s questions for this post, noting only that “Microsoft does not comment on rumors and speculation.”

Rumors and speculation though the conclusions may be, the screenshots tell the story and the story is simple: The latest developer builds include support for Flash in Metro IE 10.

To get around the “no plugins” policy for IE 10 Metro, Microsoft appears to have included the Flash runtime in the actual browser, meaning that it’s not technically a plugin. But even with the new plugin that’s not a plugin, don’t expect Flash to work everywhere. Instead, Metro IE 10′s Flash support looks more like a last-ditch effort to make sure that big-name legacy sites with popular content will work in the Metro version of IE 10.

Flash in Metro isn’t going to work everywhere, though. In fact, Microsoft will maintain a white-list of sites that can access the Flash player in Metro. Microsoft’s previously published Internet Explorer Compatibility View lists dozens of sites including Hulu, CNN, Amazon, Adobe Labs and other popular sites with older, Flash video. (Wired is on that list as well.)

It’s unclear how much of the leaked info represents a change in Microsoft’s policy toward HTML5 video and web standards. Historically, Microsoft has gone to great lengths to maintain backward compatibility and it may be that dropping Flash entirely was simply too much for the company to stomach all at once. Also bear in mind that these leaked screenshots are of early builds and things may well change considerably before the final version of Windows 8 is released.

File Under: Browsers

Microsoft Urges Developers to Embrace Touch-Friendly Web Design

Windows 8. Photo: Microsoft

Windows 8 is just around the corner and Microsoft wants web developers to get ready for it. We’ve yet to see any tablets running Microsoft’s next-gen Metro interface, but the company is already hard at work telling web developers how to optimize their websites for touchscreens.

The IEBlog recently posted some guidelines for building touch-friendly sites and wants developers to know what makes a successful touchscreen website.

Since Microsoft is late to the touchscreen party there isn’t too much here that savvy developers aren’t already doing for iOS and Android devices. Recommendations include touchscreen basics like using the proper HTML input types such as “tel” or “email” to trigger tailored keyboard layouts, and making sure that touch targets are large and easy to hit. Microsoft also suggests avoiding hover events since touchscreen users never trigger them (unfortunately, content hidden from touchscreens by hover events is still an all too common problem).

If you’re building responsive websites or at least tailoring your designs for touchscreens, most of these suggestions are probably already part of your workflow.

One thing that may be new to some developers is the non-standard -ms-touch-action CSS property. The -ms-touch-action property allows developers to override IE 10′s default touch behavior.

Like most touchscreen browsers, IE 10 assumes that touch events are related to browser actions — double-tapping to zoom for instance. Most of the time this is what you want, but occasionally developers may want to take over some actions, for example, drag events in a drawing app, while leaving others alone. If you have canvas element as part of your drawing app you could set the -ms-touch-action like this:

canvas {
    -ms-touch-action: double-tap-zoom;
}

As the IEBlog explains, “with this configuration the user can double-tap to zoom in to the canvas element, but sliding a finger on the canvas element will send events to it rather than pan the page.”

For more details on -ms-touch-action, head over to the Microsoft Developer Network website. As far as I’ve been able to determine, Microsoft has not yet submitted -ms-touch-action to the W3C. It looks like a very handy property, so hopefully it will be submitted at some point.

As the IEBlog notes there’s much more to developing for touchscreens than just a few quick tricks. While most sites will work just fine in tablet versions of IE 10 (or any other touch screen browser) with no modifications at all there’s a rather wide gap between “work” and “amazing.” If you’d like your sites to land toward the later end of the spectrum, be sure to check out our earlier post on building a responsive, future-friendly web for some pointers.

File Under: Browsers

Internet Explorer: The Browser You Love to Hate

Microsoft has developed a penchant for self-mockery when it comes to the company’s much-maligned Internet Explorer web browser. Microsoft previously put up a website dedicated to eradicating IE6 from the web, and now it’s promoting IE9 by mocking its predecessors.

As the protagonist of the video above — part of Microsoft’s The Browser You Loved to Hate promotional campaign — says, old versions of IE were good for only one thing: “downloading another browser.” That’s a sentiment echoed by countless Webmonkey commenters over the years. That said, IE is getting better.

Of course we’d be more behind the ideas in the video — that IE is actually pretty good — if it were referring to IE10, which, even in its current preview release stage is a fine browser with web standards support on par with its peers. But that’s not what the “browser you loved to hate” promotional campaign is pushing, it’s still focused on IE9.

While IE9 is faster and offers much better web standards support than previous releases, it still lags behind what you’ll find in other browsers like Chrome and Firefox when it comes to supporting the latest and greatest features on the web.

IE10 catches up with Firefox, Chrome, Safari and Opera, and in a few cases even surpasses some of them. IE10 really is a good browser. Seriously. Try it. But IE9? Not so much. It’s too bad Microsoft couldn’t hold off with this promo until it really did have a great browser to show off.

File Under: Browsers

Internet Explorer 10 Platform Preview 4: Windows 7 Users Need Not Apply

Microsoft has released the fourth preview of Internet Explorer 10. As is the case with previous Platform Previews, the release is aimed at developers: the new features are important to those creating rich, complex web applications, but will have less impact on web users.

However, even web developers might struggle to get too excited about the latest preview, because they probably won’t be able to run it: it only works on the Windows 8 preview release that Microsoft shipped at its BUILD conference in September.

Safely share data between domains with IE10's CORS

The new features include Cross-Origin Resource Sharing (CORS), JavaScript typed arrays and binary file manipulation, and HTML5 video subtitling. Typed arrays and support for binary files enable much better performance for JavaScript applications that handle binary data, such as images and audio.

CORS provides a safe way for JavaScript applications to use services offered by different providers. Traditionally, JavaScript has been restricted by the same-origin policy: a script can only have full access to content that is hosted at the same domain, port, and protocol. This provides security by preventing theft of, for example, cookies and page data by objects included from other sites.

CORS allows one application to expose its data to another application even when the same-origin policy would otherwise deny such access. This is useful for creating “mashup” applications that combine web services from multiple different providers.

Microsoft has positioned its Platform Previews as a way to let developers test and provide feedback on new features so that they can inform Microsoft of bugs, and guide the development of new specifications. The first two Platform Previews for Internet Explorer 10 were made available to users of Windows 7. This preview, however, is not. If you want to use it, you’ll have to use the Windows 8 Developer Preview.

The third preview was in the same position; Microsoft did not release a Windows 7 version of Platform Preview 3. Instead, the version of Internet Explorer that shipped with the Windows 8 Developer Preview was the third preview. Though Internet Explorer 10 will support Windows 7 when released, web developers wanting to test the software now will have to use an unsupported, not-even-beta operating system to do so. And while they can do so using a virtual machine, doing so will disable most or all of the hardware acceleration features found in the browser, making it a second-rate experience.

This is a decidedly odd move. Internet Explorer 10 is going to be fundamental to Windows 8 in a way that no past version of the browser has been. HTML and JavaScript are one way for developers to create new touch-friendly Metro-style applications, and this support will be built on Internet Explorer 10.

But as important as Metro-style applications are to Microsoft, the browser will still have a substantial user base on Windows 7, and the web developers of today are far more likely to be using Windows 7 than they are Windows 8. Regular non-Metro web applications still matter. Effectively excluding this group from the preview—the group most likely to have valuable feedback and insight—makes one wonder what the entire purpose of the scheme is.

This article originally appeared on Ars Technica, Wired’s sister site for in-depth technology news.