Mar 19 2011

Why web devs should get excited about IE9!

Category: NovoGeek @ 05:21

A more beautiful web was launched few days back! After several platform previews, beta build, release candidate build, community feedback and rigorous testing, the final (RTM) version of Internet Explorer-9 has hit the market. On the first day of its release (Mar 14, 2011) itself IE9 saw 2.35 million downloads, which is 27 downloads/second! If you aren't one among them, you should download IE9 RIGHT NOW from here: www.beautyoftheweb.com (Yes, it is an official, trusted site by Microsoft).

Before going any further, let me confess something. I'm a web developer enjoying modern web technologies. I use IE, Chrome, Firefox, Opera, Safari interchangeably. I used hacks to support older browsers. I want HTML5, CSS/JS support, good debugging tools, cross browser compatibility. I want the web to win, like many of you and hence want to share my excitement about IE9, which I call as a win for the web :)

If you are a newbie to IE9, you can check the top features of IE9. Since there are several resources on the features, I want to concentrate on why web devs should get excited about IE9.

As a web dev, whether you love it or hate it, you need to support all browsers. In most of the cases, IT enterprises and their clients are Microsoft shops and will prefer IE+Windows over any other combination. You may be a Firebug geek (check IE9 developer tools), but your client doesn’t bother about it. He needs his site to work flawlessly in IE primarily and of course support the rest. (This is a well known fact which does not need proofs). With rest of the browsers updating quickly, IE was a little behind the race w.r.t supporting newer web standards. "Better late than never", as the saying goes, IE9 comes as a great boon by supporting most of the modern web standards, easing developer's life. So even if you are a firefox/chrome power user, being a web dev, you need to respect IE9.  I'm sure you would love it if the 'critic' mask is removed.  Now comes the below question.

Is IE9 the most 'modern' browser on earth w.r.t web standards?

The answer to this debatable question depends on your definition of the term 'modern'. If implementing web standards drafted by W3C just a couple of minutes back is what you call 'modern', then IE9 is NOT.  If providing 'site-ready' HTML5/CSS3/JS support which developers and consumers can rely without fear is what you call 'modern', then yes, IE9 is the most modern browser :)

Did you know?

Microsoft started something called HTML5 Labs, where it prototypes early, unstable web standards and features proposed by standards bodies like W3C (Web Sockets, IndexedDB etc.). It offers prototypal implementations for unfinished parts of HTML5 which interested developers can try, but consumers can’t yet rely on.

By clearly separating prototype implementations from main stream browser product, many negative consequences can be avoided.  Implementing latest standards in a rush and rolling them back (e.g., Chrome H.264, Google gears etc) for whatever reason is only a pain for web devs. IE team knows what it's competitors already have but is waiting for stability of standards, so that developers can have peaceful time.

What's hot now?

IE9 now supports WebM video format via WebM components for IE9. You should check this article for further details, where Dean Hachamovitch, Corporate Vice President of Internet Explorer, makes a truly valid point by saying "The people who build and use the Web deserve practical and consistent video support rather than ideology."

Resources from my friends, which you should check:

  * Article on few FAQs (myths?) about IE9  by  Harish Ranganathan, Microsoft India

  * Article on History of Internet Explorer from IE to IE9 by Kunal Chowdhury, Microsoft MVP

So, it's time for web devs to rejoice and play with modern (and stable) web standards, widening creative and technical horizons. Keep checking the official IE blog for more updates. Enjoy the beauty of the web :)

NOTEMicrosoft TechEd 2011 is just a few days away. If you are unable to make to it, you may watch TechEd 2011 LIVE and watch the sessions, industry trends for FREE. Dont Miss It!! I'm attending in person. See you there! :)

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