All posts tagged ‘internet explorer’

File Under: Browsers

Chrome Frame Leaves Beta, All Set to Hijack an IE Near You

Google’s controversial Chrome Frame browser plug-in is now out of beta and ready for prime time.

Chrome Frame is an Internet Explorer plug-in that replaces the default IE rendering engine, which is lacking in support for web standards, with the more modern and capable engine that powers Google’s Chrome browser. It essentially embeds Google’s browser inside any tab or window within Microsoft’s browser, giving even the older, antiquated versions of IE the gift of enhanced JavaScript rendering and support for HTML5 technologies like embedded audio and video.

So if you’re stuck using IE6 or IE7 at work and would like to see what the latest and greatest on the web actually looks like, you can grab the official release of Chrome Frame from Google. If you’ve been using the Chrome Frame beta, you’ll automatically be updated to the latest version.

According the Chrome blog, the latest release of Chrome Frame is three times faster on Windows Vista and Windows 7, and the most common conflicts with other IE plug-ins have been solved.

While it sounds like a good idea — improving the web by bootstrapping older, less capable versions of IE — Chrome Frame has proven to be quite controversial. In the past, Mozilla Vice President of Engineering Mike Shaver has quite convincingly argued that Chrome Frame for IE muddles the user’s understanding of browser security, and in the end will create more confusion and little benefit.

Still, whether or not it’s a good idea, Chrome Frame appears to be here to stay. The Google Chromium blog reports that sites like DeviantART and Github have already added support for Chrome Frame. Google Docs and YouTube are also on board, and Gmail and Google Calendar will soon support Chrome Frame as both services begin to drop support for older browsers.

The next version of Internet Explorer will have expanded support for HTML5 and a much better JavaScript engine. It’s in beta now, but the final release of IE9 is still several months away. Our estimate on its arrival is early 2011.

If you’d like users to see your site via Chrome Frame — provided they have it installed — all you need to do is add a head tag to your pages:

<meta http-equiv="X-UA-Compatible" content="chrome=1">

Alternately, you can had an HTTP header using your Apache (or similar) webserver configuration. See the video below for more info on making sure your site triggers Google Chrome Frame when it’s available.

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File Under: Browsers

Internet Explorer 9 Beta Drops. It’s Lean, Fast and Modern

Internet Explorer 9 Beta on the Windows 7 desktop

Microsoft will release the first beta version of its new Internet Explorer web browser Wednesday morning.

Internet Explorer 9 Beta will be made available for download shortly after it is announced at a launch event in San Francisco, around 10:00am Pacific time. We’ll post a download link for Windows Vista and Windows 7 users as soon as we have one.

The final version of IE9 is still some months off — Microsoft wouldn’t commit to a definite time frame for the browser’s release when we asked. But we’ve spent a few days in IE9 Beta’s company, and so far, it has proven to be a thoroughly modern machine. The world’s most-sed browser is getting a new look, much expanded support for HTML5 and other 21st century web technologies, and a big speed boost.

Quite a change. Microsoft has a reputation for being an also-ran when it comes to browser innovation. When IE8 arrived in March 2009, we found it rich in features, but lacking in support for the emerging standards powering the shiny apps that make the web exciting. IE8 was faster and more secure than its predecessor, but when it came to speed and productivity, it wasn’t up to snuff with its peers — Chrome, Firefox, Safari and Opera. In fact, it was a bit of a snooze.

A year and a half on, Microsoft has smelled the coffee and is wide awake at the wheel. IE is fit to play in the same league as the other browsers.

Keep in mind, IE9 Beta is still pre-release code, so it may not run perfectly. But there’s enough new going on here — especially that speed boost — to make the download a must for the curious who want a taste of IE’s future.

A new look

The most striking difference between this browser release and the IEs of old is the new user interface. It’s sleek and minimal, and — what are those? — it now has the inverted top-tabs, which are quickly becoming common.

We first caught wind of this design change when a screenshot of the new IE9 leaked onto the web. It decreases the amount of real estate the browser consumes on screen and makes way for more content.

Another shot of IE9 Beta. Click for larger.

“The browser is the stage and the backdrop, but the website is the star of the show,” Microsoft general manager of Internet Explorer Dean Hachamovitch tells Wired. “We think the browser should totally take a back seat to the sites.”

Freeing up those extra pixels with a minimal top bar is a path others in the industry are taking. Chrome shipped with the tabs-on-top look two years ago, Mozilla has adopted it for Firefox 4, and Safari has flirted with in the past. Opera offers a few different choices for where to put your tabs.

Other notable details: a unified search and URL bar (a la Google Chrome) where you can get search suggestions as you type. Bing is the default, but you can add Google, Wikipedia or a host of other engines. There’s also an enlarged back button, (a la Firefox) and a noticeable lack of menu items in the main bar. Something else new in IE9 is the New Tab window with thumbnails of your most commonly-visited sites, which looks much like what you’ll find in Safari, Chrome and Opera. A nice addition here is a little bar in each thumbnail that shows how much time you’ve spent on each site.

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File Under: Browsers

Leaked Screenshot Shows a Cleaner, Simpler IE9

The new design for Microsoft’s next web browser is expected to be unveiled September 15th, but the company’s Russian press site may have inadvertently spilled the beans a bit early. A screenshot of what appears to be the new IE9 made a brief appearance on the site before being yanked down.

It wasn’t taken offline fast enough to escape the press, though. Long-time Microsoft specialist Mary Jo Foley at ZDNet grabbed a screenshot that shows a much simplified user interface for IE 9.

Leaked Photo: This may be the new look for IE 9

Internet Explorer 9 promises to be a boon for the web — the modernized rendering engine is faster and much better with emerging web standards. We’ve seen four developer previews of IE9, but thus far the focus has been on the underlying code and rendering engine. There’s been no real hint as to what the final browser interface will look like until today.

Among the notable details visible in the screenshot are a unified search and URL bar a la Google’s Chrome browser, an enlarged back button, much like what you’ll find in Firefox, and a noticeable lack of menu items in the main bar.

In short, it looks like Microsoft has decided that less is more by greatly simplifying the browser UI. This is keeping in line with something Ryan Gavin, director of platform strategy at Microsoft, said previously: “The browser is the theater, we’re not the play.” In other words expect IE9 to have a cleaner, less in-your-face design. As the Russian site stated (in translation), “Now the user sees only what you need to navigate.”

Until the official launch, only Microsoft knows what the browser looks like, and it wouldn’t comment to Foley or to anyone else about the screenshot.

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File Under: CSS, Web Standards

CSS3 Pie Lets You Have Your CSS and IE It, Too

When it arrives later this year, Internet Explorer 9 will support most of the latest decorations and behaviors in CSS3. But until then, you’re stuck with the same old workarounds for IE users.

Here’s something that might make your life as a designer a little bit easier: CSS3 Pie is a new library written by Jason Johnston that lets you use several of the latest CSS3 enhancements and still have them show up in Internet Explorer versions 6 through 8.

It creates DHTML behaviors that IE can understand, and then it controls how they’re presented. The library can be used to translate a few CSS decorations: border-radius, border-image, box-shadow, multiple background images and gradient backgrounds.

Right now, it’s just a demo, and since it uses .htc files for DHTML behaviors, it causes a serious performance hit on some versions of IE. It will likely become more useful in the future as Johnston builds it out. Follow Pie’s progress on Twitter.

Is it a good idea? On one hand, it’s just another life support mechanism for IE6. But it also gives us an easy enough fix where we can continue creating modern designs without having to worry as much about alienating those visitors stuck using browsers that don’t have proper CSS3 support.

Hat tip to Rey Bango at Ajaxian, who notes that CSS3 Pie deserves a spot on your shelf next to those other two libraries that perform similar magic tricks, Modernizr and html5shiv.

Also, A List Apart recently ran an excellent tutorial on using Modernizr to smooth the transition to HTML5 and CSS3.

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File Under: Browsers, HTML5

New Hardware-Accelerated IE9 Preview Arrives

Nothing fishy about IE9's hardware acceleration: This demo shows an animated fish tank rendered using Canvas.

Microsoft has released Internet Explorer 9 platform preview 3, the latest pre-release version of the company’s next web browser.

Curious developers running Windows can download platform preview 3 starting Wednesday afternoon. This version of IE9 features expanded support for specific HTML5 elements that can take advantage of the browser’s new hardware-acceleration abilities.

“Most computing tasks on the web only take up 10 percent of the PC’s capabilities,” Microsoft’s Ryan Gavin said at a press event Wednesday. “We want to unlock that other 90 percent.”

The new IE9 platform preview has expanded support for HTML5′s native video and audio capabilities, as well as expanded support for the Canvas element.

“Showing how well we handle these HTML5 elements is the point of this release,” says Microsoft’s Rob Mauceri.

Microsoft has taken a fair bit of heat in the browser world for being slow to adopt HTML5. Though not yet finalized, the emerging specification is already widely supported by Chrome, Firefox, Opera and Safari. Microsoft’s current version of Internet Explorer, IE8, is woefully behind these other browsers when it comes to support for HTML5 and other standards like CSS 3.

With IE9, due around the end of the year, the company hopes to get back on the right path.

Microsoft has engineered this version of the browser to take advantage of the latest multicore processors and GPU chips shipping in the newest hardware. Several of Microsoft’s hardware partners — AMD, Asus, NVidia and Dell — were on hand with their newest, fastest machines at the press event to show the browser preview running through some Microsoft-built demos.

The company first showed off a hardware-accelerated preview of IE9 at a developer event last year, and then upped those capabilities with the second platform preview in May. But Wednesday’s release of IE9 has some updated code to access the hardware and an updated JavaScript engine to make scripted animations smoother.
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