Microsoft refreshes IE9 preview, boosts speed

Claims faster JavaScript, higher Acid3 test scores, but offers no beta date

By , Computerworld |  Internet, ie9, Internet Explorer

Making good on a promise two months ago, Microsoft today updated its Internet Explorer 9 (IE9) preview, a sneak peek that targets Web developers and others eager to try out the company's next browser.

"The Platform Preview continues to be the thinnest possible wrapper around the Web platform, and as such is not intended for general purpose browsing," cautioned Dean Hachamovich, the browser team's general manager, in an entry on the IE blog today.

In mid-March, Microsoft committed to updating the IE9 preview every eight weeks until it issues a public beta. The company again declined to reveal its timeline plans for a beta or a final of the next-generation browser.

Microsoft also updated the supporting IE9 Test Drive site with new samples to show what developers can do with its graphics processor-powered HTML, a key feature of the browser that boosts text and graphics rendering by offloading those chores to the PC's GPU (graphics processor unit).

IE9's preview will not run on the nearly-nine-year-old Windows XP, because the browser relies on APIs (application programming interfaces) built into Windows 7 and added to Vista and Server 2008 R2 in October 2009. The final version won't run in XP either, Microsoft has confirmed.

Hachamovich claimed that the second IE9 preview renders JavaScript about 20% faster than the March edition, and 36% faster than Mozilla's Firefox 3.6. Microsoft's early code, however, still lags behind the leaders -- Apple 's Safari, Google 's Chrome and Opera Software's Opera -- in SunSpider benchmark scores. Opera, for instance, was half again as fast as IE9's Platform Preview 2.

Microsoft's results nearly match those of recent Computerworld SunSpider tests, which showed that Chrome's newest beta was almost 20% faster than the current "stable" build, and that Opera continued to take honors as the fastest Windows browser.


Originally published on Computerworld |  Click here to read the original story.
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