back to article Microsoft's IE9: Don't believe the hype

Microsoft must be rattled by the steady decline in the market share of Internet Explorer. Worldwide it has gone from 68.5 per cent in July 2008 to 46 per cent today, according to StatCounter. Internet Explorer 9, now in release candidate phase, is Microsoft's answer. Highlights include hardware-accelerated graphics, a new fast …

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  1. The Fuzzy Wotnot

    Hmmm....

    I still find IE clunky, disjointed and slow ( IE8). I have only done some basic web-dev work in the past and having to code specific work arounds for IE in the past ( IE7 ) just bugged me, especially when others like FF and Opera would stick to standards, standards which MS saw fit to butcher.

    It always amused me, when IE6 was the defacto, that the world's most insecure browser was a requirement to be able to access the world's most sensitive data on banking sites!

  2. hammarbtyp Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    Nice, but irrelevant

    All my PC's (work included) run XP and so far I have seen no reason to change.

    I don't think IE9 makes that change any more likely especially when there are alternatives such as Firefox and Chrome which are as good if not better.

  3. Real Ale is Best
    Badgers

    *sigh*

    I guess I must find a computer to run this on. There's bound to be some critical differences that mean it'll need testing and fixing like all the other versions of IE...

    Please can we kill off IE6 now? (+IE7 while we are at it)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      My tuppence worth

      When your browser needs hardware acceleration, you are trying to do too much inside it. It is a browser, that is all it is.

      It will eventually, (if it hasn't already) become too cumbersome to use and someone will release a cut down one that flies and sell it to us again as innovation.

      1. Bugs R Us
        Gates Halo

        Not true

        Display rendering is a function of the hardware and OS. Those two things should make available to any application a high performant render API. Hardware acceleration is being added to browsers because of the nature of HTML rendering. HTML rendering should be able to take advantage of hardware and OS, there shouldn't be any need for the browser app to especially handle hardware acceleration. Microsoft's approach on Windows is the right way forward. Their Direct X technologies abstract the hardware stuff. IE 9 will work fine on non hardware accelerated PCs, but render will be slow. This is not the browser's problem, it's the underlying hardware and OS capability.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Headmaster

          Made-up words

          Repeat after me:

          Performant is not a real word and I will not use such non-performant words

          Performant is not a real word and I will not use such non-performant words

          Performant is not a real word and I will not use such non-performant words

          (etc.)

      2. Bod

        Hardware Acceleration and HTML

        Well, as Jobs has been banging on about for long enough, the web (apparently) needs HTML5 and that includes for video. These features make heavy demands on the graphics architecture. Hardware accelerating it is an obvious thing to do. It's nothing specific to IE.

    2. The BigYin

      Kill IE6?

      Fat bloody chance....

      *Grinds teeth*

    3. Mark Jan

      IE6 and Banks

      Well said on that one!

      I even emailed and phoned my bank to ask how on earth they only supported IE(6) when it was demonstrably the most insecure browser on the market. I questioned how they could be "serious about security" whilst only supporting the Swiss cheese of browsers! I was left incredulous when even their IT bods didn't really know what I was talking about. It took them about 2 years to offer support to their browsers.

      1. g e

        Me too

        First Direct still mandate using IE for Internet Banking Plus (ordinary internet banking works nicely on anything) which they defended as saying their site had been security tested etc, etc, which yes, is fine, until you factor in the actual browser itself is possibly compromised, not their site, and they don't have control of that.

        Maybe someone at First Direct will even read this and get a clue.

        ... and then I woke up

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @Mark

        If you think that by emailling or phoning your bank you got through to a design engineer, or someone in Architecture etc, you've got another thing coming...

    4. Anonymous Coward
      WTF?

      FreezeFox

      People still use firefox? That's like swimming in treacle...

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Yes, kill it...

      For me, and many other web devs, IE6 is already dead. I offer no support for it anymore, and if needs be I inform clients of this fact. I let them know that if they require support for this ancient browser then the costs will be much higher. So invariably they tend to choose versions of their sites with no IE6 support.

    6. rebelwithoutapplause
      WTF?

      repeat after me

      I don't do windows.

      "It always amused me, when IE6 was the defacto, that the world's most insecure browser was a requirement to be able to access the world's most sensitive data on banking sites!"

      I don't remember seeing this from bannking sites under NetBSD, FreeBSD, Linux, or MacOS. I do seem to remember a cable ISP that required IE almost 10 years ago, but that's about it.

      I don't see what everybody has against IE though. http://en.wikipedia.org/XmlHttpRequest seems to indicate that microsoft invented ajax, even though portable .js libraries tend to switch to something called trident when they detect IE.

  4. D. M
    Gates Horns

    so nothing new

    We already know MS never cares about standard, so what's new? Won't touch this shit.

    *My next machine will be a win7 desktop, unfortunately.*

  5. Bilgepipe
    FAIL

    Too Slow

    "Microsoft's development process is too slow. IE9 was announced at the Mix conference in March 2010, nearly a year ago. It has only just reached RC, and looks less impressive now because competing browsers have improved."

    Bingo. There's the problem right there - taking a year to develop a new version and then showing off a handful of new features, yet more standards-avoidance and more UI confusion isn't good enough. MS will always be trying to catch up with last years competition.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This might seem an odd thing to say, but ...

    ... I wouldn't mind seeing MS release IE for Linux. As it is, IE is always closely integrated with one OS and comparisons with other browsers are inevitably skewed by the limited focus of the browser. On the other hand, perhaps I should be careful what I wish for.

  7. mfraz
    Thumb Down

    HTML5 Test

    IE9 RC scores just 116, that's bad as even Firefox 3.6 scores 139! BTW, what is CCSS3?

  8. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge

    "deep integration into Windows 7"

    -- FACE-PALM --

    Don't they learn? How many security issues in earlier incarnations of IE stem from deep integration with the OS?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      RE: This might seem an odd thing to say, but ...

      I'd be fascinated to see if Linux users could then fairly weigh up their version of IE against the competition. In my experience many Linux users have trouble remaining dispassionate whenever Microsoft's name gets mentioned.

    2. Malcolm 1
      Thumb Up

      Don't believe it

      If you actually look through the results of html5test.com in IE9 it seems to be complete rubbish - implies that it doesn't support <input> tags for instance which is clearly wrong. And a large proportion of the other functionality tested is far from finalized (tellingly all the explanatory links go to the work in progess HTML5 "specification" and not even the Editor's draft.

      Testing standards compliance against such an unfinished standards document seems largely pointless to me.

      I'm no fan of IE6/7/8 (for the record my preferred browser is Chrome) but IE9 is an immeasurable improvement over IE8 - the same markup works exactly as intended across Chrome/Firefox and IE9 with no hacks or fiddles required anywhere - isn't this what people have been campaigning for? Credit where it's due and all that.

      1. dhodder

        html5test.com

        html5test.com performs basic detection for new features added by HTML5; it doesn't include features already included from HTML 4.01. If you click on the various items, for example "input element types", it breaks the results down further so that you can get an idea about how they are awarded. With <input>, points are awarded for the the date type state (<input type="date">), the number type state (<input type="date">), etc. etc. but not the earlier HTML 4.01 states like <input type="text">.

        1. rebelwithoutapplause

          html5test.com

          "html5test.com performs basic detection for new features added by HTML5." So should scores fall between 0.8025 and 1 instead of 0 and 1?

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Boffin

      WINE ?

      I really CBA (Chrome is my browser of choice on Linux) but I'm sure some folk run IE under WINE ....

      1. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

        Re: WINE ?

        Yes, but they will not be running IE9 as AFAIK, there is no Vista or Win7 persona for Wine yet. What I've read appears to suggest that MS have made sufficient changes in the last two versions of Windows to require significant work from the Wine community to make it compatible.

        1. g e

          VirtualBox

          That is all.

        2. Ocular Sinister
          Go

          @Pete Gathercole

          Yes, Wine does have Win7 and Vista persona. Whether they implement enough of the new APIs is another matter, but Office 2010 certainly runs just fine under the Win7 persona on my girlfriend's laptop. I've no intention of trying IE9 though, life is too short.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Grenade

      Quite

      My thoughts exactly.

      The thing is, even if IE9 was the absolute bees knees, I STILL wouldn't use it. Why? Because of the very long and very tired history it has, riddled with bugs, and blindingly obvious security problems (like the "deep integration" thing).

      Also, they STILL insist on pushing their non-standard stuff like ActiveX (yes, I did see it is now switched off by default, but still), and "pinning". And while we're at it, I'm sure nobody needs reminding of the carnage ActiveX has caused in the past. I seriously doubt MS will ever listen and use the same standards everyone else is, or dump this horrible Windows-specific stuff; it's just not in their nature.

    5. Daniel 1

      It is, inside Redmond, as it is, everwhere

      Some dreary little manager from Core Operating Systems will have had a crack team of his finest circular-dependency-authors driven in, the moment he got wind of the IE team reforming. I can just imagine the scenes within that team, as this sullen, sweaty group of passive agressives arrived in their midst - with orders from on high to be nice to them.

      For every enlightened manager within Microsoft, who understands that open architectures and lack of interdependencies produce faster and more aglie systems in the long run, there is still a solid core of the others - who believe passionately, in tight-integration and lock-in - and whom, these days, are filled with a sort of murderous resentment over any suggestion that Vista proved them wrong.

    6. Bugs R Us

      Wrong

      You've failed to understand the context of the integration with Windows 7. It' the user experience integration that is the point here, not security.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Unhappy

        Hah!

        I've had it with the Microsoft user experience.

        Do you remember the ad: Microsoft makes everything you do easier.

        There are lies, damned lies, and Microsoft marketing.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Wrong

        If it is the kind of user experience integration that obfuscates where things are, moves and or hides frequently used items somwhere 6 clicks down in the ribbon intead of where they used to be accessible in one click, you can keep it, sorry.

    7. Old Marcus

      Integration not all bad

      Just because it has deep integration, does not mean it is irremovable. If you don't want it, removing it from Windows updates is easy.

    8. Anonymous Coward
      Coat

      They care

      They care very much about standards. *Their* standards.

      Pretty low standards they have always been, too.

      <-- Mine's the one with the penguin in its pocket.

    9. Frank 2
      Boffin

      HTML5?

      If you think that's slow, how long has the HTML5 standard been kicking about

    10. herry

      IE9 and standards

      You're right, they don't care about standards.

      http://www.engadget.com/2010/11/02/w3c-tests-html5-browser-compatibility-crowns-ie9-the-champ/

  9. Doug 11

    SnoopDougieDoug

    "Microsoft must be rattled by the steady decline in the market share of Internet Explorer"

    Why? Are they making less money? How is this changing their bottom line? I see absolutely nothing to back your assertion.

    BTW, I use IE9 beta, Chrome and Firefox. They all drive me nuts once in a while. Maybe I'll try Opera next.

  10. rahul
    Stop

    Deeper integration with the OS...

    ... is a repeated, and terrible, mistake.

    The OS is the OS, and the browser the browser, and never should the twain mix. Even in Chrome OS, the browser is separated from the OS layer, and designed to run "applications" within the browser's ecosystem. Firefox doesn't try to "insinuate" itself into Windows Explorer.

    Microsoft is trying too hard to mix the browser into it's OS, and that is a repeated mistake; maybe it's worried about it's browser's disappearing market share?

    1. Leo Davidson

      Market share

      Microsoft aren't a charity. If they don't think that IE affects their bottom line in some way then it's really, really strange that they have put so much time and money into it over the years.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Up

      go for opera

      I tried all except for Chrome. I find ie not so bad and use it now and then. But I use on my private computers only opera. it's not cluttered and full of useful features without any need for add-ons. Firefox annoyed me too much, in the end, I had the impression I was using a fancy version of ie, but not as user friendly - like my feelings towards Netscape used to be...

    3. Peter Gathercole Silver badge
      Thumb Down

      @Doug 11

      Microsoft want to make IE a lever to sell Windows. As such, they need to differentiate it from Firefox, Chrome, Safari and Opera.

      Unfortunately, with previous versions of IE, it appeared that their model was to make it significantly non-standards compliant but push it to become a de-facto standard so people who wanted a 'full' internet experience would be inconvenienced by the other browsers. Add a dependency between the browser and new versions of Windows (i.e. can't run IE9 on WinXP), and hey presto, you've made it so people with totally usable PC's need to upgrade to the new OS to use the 'features', adding to MS's coffers in the process.

      They need to learn that this will no longer happen and indeed may backfire, so unless they embrace the standards, they will rapidly loose that lever, and will have to rely on other tactics in order to push Windows. I believe that they think that HTML5 including the H.264 codec protected by patents will be the enabler to bind people to Windows for another round of PC purchases.

    4. ThomH Silver badge

      IE was about lock in

      When Microsoft controlled the de facto browser, Microsoft controlled the de facto web standards. By doing so, they ensured that Windows was the only place you could see the web as the designers worked on it. Which didn't really do anything to prop up Windows on the desktop because Windows doesn't need propping up on the desktop — it won the battle for volume long ago — but did quite a lot to prop up the desktop as the only place to see full web content.

      The transition back to an open market with multiple vendors has pushed the centre of gravity for real, practical, day-to-day work back to published, cross-platform standards. The big winner has been WebKit; once the web has to work properly outside of IE, suddenly Apple, Google, etc can put it onto a mobile phone. Or a tablet. Or whatever.

      In the days when Microsoft had the only code capable of rendering what the web was filled with, you could expect them to have had a huge advantage in any emerging market involving the display of web content. They don't have that due to Firefox (plus others), and partly as a result their bottom line remains tied to the future of the full-size PC.

  11. batfastad
    Jobs Horns

    Integrated

    They did themselves over by tying IE so heavily in with windows explorer back in the IE4/IE5 days. It basically meant that upgrading IE was a hefty and error-prone process so people just didn't bother... and possibly switched to competitors. I remember trying to upgrade to IE5 on Win98 and it took down my windows installation.

    And it looks like the same problem may still persist though to a lesser extent.

    A WinXP SP3/IE7 user had a windows update popup the other day advising them to download and install IE8, so we clicked the link and followed the update process. After about 10 minutes of mysterious progress bar, I was informed that IE8 was not available on that platform. That user is now happily using Firefox.

    As a developer, this was a nightmare. It's basically meant there was a huge persistent userbase of IE4-IE6, making it very difficult to use current web standards without horrible hacks.

    The article author is correct, I found myself in web dev standstill from 2002-2006, having to develop for the lowest common denominator which was actually used by 95% of our site visitors!

    But now with proliferation of other browsers that support the specs, it now gives me the confidence to use bits of CSS3, webfonts and HTML5 elements knowing that support will be increasingly available.

    And hopefully with browsers generally implementing some sort of auto-update, more people will keep browsers up-to-date, so standards proliferation can happen faster. Developers will be able to use new specifications, faster. Imagine the W3C releasing some HTML5.1 standards and them being supported in browsers within 12 months... great!

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Couple of things make it a none starter for me

    The address bar and tabs are on the same row, this means you can either only see bits of your tabs or only see a small part of the URL of the page you are currently on. I like tabs and I like the address bar, it doens't mean I want them mixing up.

    Page titles have gone, not displayed anywhere, and for what possible reason?

    The address bar thing adds massive usability issues for me. Maybe it's because I'm a technical user rather than a consumer user, I can see most people not giving two hoots.

    In my book minamilist interface = styllish looks with less usability, I don't browse the internet to look stylish, I browse the internet to do stuff.

  13. Blarkon

    Fast release cycle isn't necessarily good

    Why is it that the same people that whinge about a new version of Office coming out every 3 years are the same people that demand a brand new browser every 6 months?

    1. Leo Davidson

      Office vs IE releases

      "Why is it that the same people that whinge about a new version of Office coming out every 3 years are the same people that demand a brand new browser every 6 months?"

      Oh, hmm, let's see:

      * New versions of Office cost hundreds of pounds.

      * New versions of IE are free.

      * New versions of Office do little more than change how the non-standard toolbars and menus look, for most people. The big features they add are used by only a handful of people. (Not that there haven't been some great features added over the years, but it's rare for people to care about many of them.)

      * Office defines the file formats etc. which it uses, and has virtually no competition, and thus cannot be left behind if not updated often enough.

      * OTOH, IE has serious competition and has to keep up with ever-evolving web standards/technology, yet stagnates. As a result, thanks to its declining but still huge market share, it holds back what web developers can do and/or the amount of time/hassle taken to do it.

      I'm sure there are plenty more reasons, but that'll do.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Megaphone

      read the article

      "You can now optionally place tabs on a separate row below the One Box"

    3. westlake
      Go

      IE 8 For Windows XP

      >> I was informed that IE8 was not available on that platform.

      File name: IE8-WindowsXP-x86-ENU.exe

      [many other languages available]

      OS: Windows XP Service Pack 2;Windows XP Service Pack 3

      Published: March 2009

      <a href="http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/en/details.aspx?FamilyID=341c2ad5-8c3d-4347-8c03-08cdecd8852b" a>Windows Internet Explorer 8 for Windows XP<a>

    4. Lewis Mettler
      Stop

      release cycle is independant

      A good release cycle is determined by the alternatives available. And they differ for just about every product.

      That is why it is stupid to tie any application to a particular version of the OS.

      But, idiots run Microsoft. So they have to lie about what they do and screw up their product as a result.

    5. Shell
      Stop

      Insane

      The IE9 beta installation already hosed my Windows 7 desktop (work PC, wouldn't let one of these in my house!). Thankfully our support folks are giving me a Windows7 VM to try it with this week, having had to rebuild my PC on Friday. I don't think either of us want to do that again.

      The mind boggle why they have to intergrate anything. For the chap up-thread who suggests the integration is just UI: if that's the case, why does the beta insist on downloading 4 components that require my PC to reboot? Safari, FireFox, Chrome don't require WINDOWS to be modified to run... it's just inane.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    Opera 11 makes this look plain naff

    nothing else to say.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Down

      Opera is great... but there are minus points too.

      Opera ist still not 100% compatible with business software like ABAP and Java Webdynpro. When it will become you may dismiss IE, if they will integrate better with the policies set in the OS by the network admin. I just hope they all become good enough to allow separation based on personal taste. For business you can only use mozilla and ie so far.

      1. Bod

        Opera

        Opera is also closed source and has questionable T&Cs and privacy especially where things like Turbo mode are being used (and likewise Opera Mini on mobiles). I wouldn't trust Opera any more than I would Microsoft (not to mention that for compatibility Opera can fall back to using IE engine to render).

  15. Mr Larrington
    FAIL

    If I could...

    ...I'd ditch IE altogether but unfortunately a recent "upgrade" to our Helldesk system requires it. This is a pity, because IE8 is slower than a heavily-drugged sloth and exhibits deeply annoying traits right, left and centre. Hates it, my preciousssss.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    looks like Chrome?

    How about making the interface look like IE8?

  17. Studley

    Not slower than the competition, actually

    "Microsoft's development process is too slow. IE9 was announced at the Mix conference in March 2010, nearly a year ago."

    In the interests of balance, Firefox 4 was announced in May 2010, and is yet to reach RC status (beta 12 - codename "the last one, honest" - should be landing in the coming days, at which point the RC discussions can begin)

    Disclaimer: I am primarily a Firefox user, which is why I didn't bother writing "l33t opera roolz!!" like the AC above.

    1. Michael Vasey

      Well

      The Mozilla guys are managing several new versions for every IE version that gets released and that's despite their issues with meeting release schedules (when was the last time they got a Firefox release out in anything like the expected time?) so I think the sentiment's right even if the illustration that went with it was a bit dodgy. And Chrome makes them both look like snails on the release front for better or worse.

  18. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Flame

    Wasn't the monopoly lawsuit about IE being *too* heaviliy integrated with Windows?

    I seem to recall something along those lines.

    I use IE for *nothing* in my day to day browsing. However I am taking a course. Tried to go to the web page and (surprise surprise) it's implemented with ActiveX.

    This "feature" and the apps that use is AFAIK the *only* major reason for retaining IE9 (or it's even less compatible forebears).

    OTOH I suspect systems developed to *proper* open standards would have been slow to begin with but with faster release cycles (and ability to change *between* browsers because they can all read the same standards) they would have gotten better faster.

    Do not want.

  19. eiocreative
    Thumb Up

    Nobody mentions it but..

    IE9 has by far the nicest font rendering of any browser..

    1. Bugs R Us

      Very true

      Geeks may argue the technicals, but MS is not ignoring consumer experience where things like font rendering are more important.

    2. Shell
      Thumb Down

      Nice fonts

      I disagree. I think font rendering is still much better in all browsers on OS X.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      WTF?

      RE: Nobody mentions it but..

      I think you'll find that's Safari on the Mac.

  20. Avatar of They
    FAIL

    Sigh.

    Integrated for windows 7?

    Will they ever learn?

  21. Fuzz

    No spell check; no good

    I like IE9 especially now they have fixed the tabs on the same line as the address bar. Thing is it has no spell check. For that reason it will never be my browser of choice.

    1. westlake

      IE Spell

      >I like IE9 especially now they have fixed the tabs on the same line as the address bar. Thing is it >has no spell check.

      http://www.iespell.com/

      US/UK/Canadian English. Free for personal use.

      Last updated February 2010. Been around since 2002. Works just fine with the 32 bit IE 9 RC.

      1. Paul 135
        FAIL

        A decent integrated Spellchecker is a must

        The problem with IESpell is that it is rubbish! You have to manually click an icon or open a menu for it to perform a spell-check, rather than it happening automatically in the background and underlining misspelt words in red. Considering Microsoft were the ones that invented the automatic-underlining spell-checking way back in Office 97 it's kind of ridiculous that this is not a feature in Internet Explorer!

        PS: This is actually the main reason why I use Firefox over IE!

        1. g e

          Firefox spellcheck

          Free for personal use

          And corporate.

      2. Bugs R Us

        IE7Pro adds spell check too

        IE7 Pro, can be used with IE 9 too, shame they didn't foresee the domain name use for the future!

        http://www.ie7pro.com/

    2. Bugs R Us
      Megaphone

      get a clue!

      Do you even know what is meant by integration here? There is Windows, the OS, and there is Windows Explorer, the shell.

  22. Lewis Mettler
    Stop

    but you have to purchase IE

    Why bother even thinking about IE 9?

    There is no decision to make. You are required to purchase it regardless.

    Oh, you can update now perhaps. But, when you buy an OS again, you have to purchase IE again. And again. And again.

    Boy the idiots out there who develop software but fail to understand the illegal means used by Microsoft to force the purchase of IE time and time again. In exchange for cash money.

    You are forced to pay for the R&D whether you like it or not. You are forced to pay for the R&D whether you use it or not.

    Would not that be great? You develop some code. And then are assured of hundreds of millions in sales without lifting another finger. No one else can sell their alternatives either. There is no marketplace. It does not exist.

    Do you really think anyone at Microsoft is so dumb as to not understand the benefits of forced sales? Illegally forced sales? I doubt it. Even the stupid engineers understand how to illegally secure sales to 90% of the possible consumers.

    Would not that be great? And who cares what the code does? Sales are guarenteed just the same.

    Even the trade press reviews what the code does. But, that does not matter either.

    1. Bugs R Us

      Hello? This is Earth

      The concept of "sales" means there has to be a market place. Even free software is offered through a market. You cannot get away from the concept of "market", even if all software was free, the market would be the internet itself.

      Second, why shouldn't R&D costs be recovered? You think software engineers work for free? Nothing in life is free, except oxygen.

      Third, Microsoft does nto force anyone to use Windows. The business world chose Windows because businesses like to pay for a certain level of services to accompany products. That's life. You get what you pay for with legal obligations bound by contracts and legislation. You get something for free, you have no rights to complain.

    2. Bod
      Stop

      Illegally forced sales

      "Illegally forced sales" - back this up please.

      p.s. You are required to buy OS X to use a Mac. You are required to buy OS X to use Safari on a Mac. You are required to buy upgrades for the latest features of OS X on a Mac... at a more frequent interval than Windows I should add (remember that XP is still going strong despite Microsoft's attempts).

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Superb developer tools?

    While the included developer tools are certainly nicer than nothing, Firebug is still far better. On IE, there are some useful features, but glaring omissions as well. For example, when determining what CSS rule applies to what element, I find it more logical to show the most significant rules at the top instead of the bottom. And it would be much nicer to be able to add rules/try out changes live from the HTML tab, instead of modifying them in the CSS tab (which shows all the rules from a single CSS file, the rules that apply to an element may naturally come from several files). And telling that rule suchandsuch comes from definition "#foo" in file "foo.css" is hardly useful, as it doesn't say a) where the file comes from (hands up, who hasn't banged his or her head against the keyboard cursing why on earth my changes don't do anything, only to figure out that the page is actually loading a different file) and b) it doesn't tell the line number. Yes, CRTL+F is certainly an option in your editor of choice, but simply jumping to a line number is much more convenient. And those are only three simple examples - Firebug is the sole reason I still keep using Firefox, it's just that good (and performance-wise, I have no complaints in the 4-series).

    1. Bugs R Us

      Jeez Louise

      It's a browser first. The developer tools are a nice to have. If you're a serious developer you will already be using more sophisticated supporting tools.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        I know not everyone is a developer

        But (unfortunately or not), I am. Thankfully we've finally come to a point where we can say to our customers that we only guarantee compability with modern browsers, if you want IE6 support, you pay extra. Most decide not to, this takes away many of my troubles. This doesn't mean that IE7 and 8 don't have their own "creative" quirks. (IE9 is supposed to finally be much better in this regard, can't really comment yet as I just installed it) As IE9 is able to render pages like IE7/8, it would be nice that the developer tools would be a bit better. Yes I know, a pony would be nice as well.

  24. Jeff 11
    FAIL

    @Tarquin ftlb

    "When your browser needs hardware acceleration, you are trying to do too much inside it. It is a browser, that is all it is."

    1993 called, they want their HTML 1.0 back.

    Web apps now regularly exceed the UI complexity and functionality of desktop apps, and the ability for browsers to render things more quickly makes them better. Laying out a modern CSS-heavy page is not a trivial rendering task.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I agree

      Jeff, that is exactly my point. we would improve performance considerably by writing the pages so they could be rendered efficiently, rather than expecting ever more hardware to deal with the inefficient code. Mosty of it is lack of thought and or experience on the part of the developers.

      I was trying to read an article on a site yesterday, and it was just text, way down on a long page. However, at the top of the page was an animated thing (can't really describe it any better than that, sorry!) that changed about every 5 seconds from one character to another and back in a continuous loop. I could have ignored it but for the fact that one character was about 3 lines taller in screen estate than the other and each time it changed, the whole page shimmied down 3 lines, then backup 3 lines, while I was trying to read it, which was really irritating.

      Sure it is clever to have these effects but when I am browsing, I am not looking for how flashy (no pun intended) the site is, and how cool the graphics are, I am usually looking for written information that I want to read, i.e. text, which can be rendered in many fancy ways with no hardware acceleration required at all, or maybe typing in some answers to some questions which again is not rocket science.

      You can over-engineer things and I think that describes the current state of web development in general. Keep it simple, but not necessarily HTML 1.0. :-)

  25. RW
    FAIL

    @ Thad 14th February 2011 13:33 GMT

    "They care"

    "They care very much about standards. *Their* standards."

    I'm sure I've read that Windows source code is so extensive that it contains millions of lines that no one now at Microsoft knows the function of. And wasn't there a legal proceeding some years ago where the learned judge directed that MS provide documentation of some file format or other - and MS couldn't do it because, just like Windows source code, the file format contained undocumented elements?

    To put it another way, MS doesn't have standards and doesn't understand standards. They think that standards are just suggestions that developers (and professional liars aka marketers) can freely vary from for any or no reason.

  26. Scott A. Brown
    Thumb Down

    I only care about this is if it will kill IE6

    ...which it wont.

    IE6 users didn't upgrade to IE7 or IE8. Why would they upgrade to IE9? Oh, wait, they can't anyway wihtout buying a new OS (and probably PC if they're still running IE6).

    And I can't test in it either without forking out for a new OS.

    Great, eh?

  27. zenkaon

    I just don't see me leaving Chrome

    It's slick, minimalist (with all settings in the spanner) and fast. I just don't see me leaving Chrome

  28. Big-nosed Pengie
    FAIL

    ActiveX? Tight integration?

    You've got to be joking.

  29. irneb
    Gates Horns

    HTML5?

    Ha, ha ,ha:

    "Microsoft is also serious about HTML5 as an application runtime, indicating at its Professional Developer Conference last year that this is its favored solution for cross-platform support."

    And then ...

    "While HTML5 support in IE9 is real and significant, it is not as comprehensive as the company's publicity implies. According to one test site [http://www.html5test.com], IE9 RC scores just 116, compared to 207 for Safari 5.0 and 244 for Chrome 10, in my tests."

    Doing a "quick" test on some of my older browsers: FF3.6 Portable = 139; Chrome Portable 6.0 = 217. They're not even keeping up with last years browsers on the HTML5 front ... even though they use this as a "sales" gimmick "feature".

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Alt key toggles the IE9?

    "Pressing the Alt key toggles the IE9 menu bar, which is another handy feature."

    Like IE7?

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