Microsoft ships IE11 preview for Windows 7

Learns lesson after bitter complaints last year about IE10's late appearance on Windows 7

By , Computerworld |  Internet

Microsoft today released a preview of Internet Explorer 11 (IE11) for Windows 7, making good on a June promise to add Windows' most popular edition to the browser's run list.

Last month, Microsoft confirmed that it would create a Windows 7 version of IE11, but at the time declined to set a timetable.

Today's release was labeled "Developer Preview" by Microsoft, implying that IE11 on Windows 7 is rougher around the edges than on Windows 8.1. A beta of IE11 was included in the latter's public preview that launched in late June.

The appearance of the IE11 preview on Windows 7 beat the timing of IE10 on that OS by several months, hinting that Microsoft took to heart complaints by Windows 7 customers last year that they'd been neglected. Microsoft finally shipped IE10 for Windows 7 on Feb. 26, four months after that browser's debut on Windows 8.

Today, Microsoft pledged that IE11 on Windows 7 would offer most of the functionality and features of the browser on Windows 8. "IE11 on Windows 7 offers the same improved performance, faster page load times [and] new standards support for next generation sites," said Sandeep Singhal and Rob Mauceri, a pair of group program managers for IE, in a blog post.

Among IE11's enhancements and additions, Singhal and Mauceri trumpeted the browser's support for WebGL, the open-source 3-D and 2-D graphics acceleration standard. Getting behind WebGL in IE11 was a turn-about for Microsoft, which in 2011 scorned the standard as unsafe.

"WebGL is now a vital component of the Web developers' toolkit, as real-world sites are now using WebGL to create interactive visualization experiences in shopping, real estate, and social networking," Singhal and Mauceri wrote today.

The two claimed IE11 on Windows 7 is marginally faster than IE10 -- it scored 4% better on the JavaScript-only SunSpider benchmark -- and that it's at least 30% faster than rivals on Windows 7.

IE11 on Windows 7, however, will not support SPDY, the Google-designed page load acceleration protocol.

The developer preview of IE11 for Windows 7 can be downloaded from Microsoft's website in 13 languages, including Arabic, Chinese, English, French, German, Japanese, Russian and Spanish.

IE11 on Windows 7 is tagged 'Developer Preview' but it appears very stable.

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