April 12th, 2011
IE10 Platform Preview 1, available for download today is the first step in delivering the next wave of progress in native HTML5 support. Web sites and HTML5 run best when they run natively, on a browser optimized for the operating system on your device.
We built IE9 from the ground up for HTML5 and for Windows to deliver the most native HTML5 experience and the best Web experience on Windows. IE10 continues on IE9’s path, directly using what Windows provides and avoiding abstractions, layers, and libraries that slow down your site and your experience:
The only native experience of the Web and HTML5 today is on Windows 7 with IE9. IE9’s approach to taking advantage of what the operating system offers – from the native graphics stack to jump lists in the shell – maximizes performance, usability, and reliability. We released a fast, clean, trusted, and interoperable IE9 globally for consumers and businesses four weeks ago with the goal of delivering the best experience of HTML5. The best HTML5 is native to the operating system, so Web sites have the fewest translation layers to pass through. The best HTML5 enables sites to use the same markup – the same HTML, CSS, and script – across browsers. The best HTML5 respects developers’ time and enables same markup by treating site-ready HTML5 differently from unstable technologies.
The IE10 preview continues what IE9’s first preview began a year ago:
“When we started looking deeply at HTML5, we saw that it will enable a new class of applications. These applications will stress the browser runtime and underlying hardware in ways today’s Web sites don’t. We quickly realized that doing HTML5 right – our intent from the start – is more about designing our browser’s subsystems around what these new applications will need than it is about a particular set of features. From the beginning, we approached IE9 with the goal of enabling professional-grade, modern HTML5 support on top of modern hardware through Windows.
“At the MIX conference today, we demonstrated how the standard Web patterns that developers already know and use broadly run better by taking advantage of PC hardware through IE9 on Windows. This blog post provides an overview of what we showed today, across performance, standards, hardware-accelerated HTML5 graphics, and the availability of the IE9 Platform Preview for developers.”
Native HTML5 and Real-world sites
Native HTML5 support in Windows with IE9 makes a huge difference in what sites can do. We demonstrated real-world sites from the development community that a year ago would have been possible only with a plug-in or application. These sites are live now and show that the technologies as implemented in IE9 are production-ready for consumers and businesses. Links are available at www.beautyoftheweb.com for you to try them out. These sites are proof of progress on the goal of same markup and standards-based Web technologies. They run in other browsers – just slower. As an industry, we’ve just started to see what’s possible when sites can take advantage of these capabilities. The experiences may be new today; they reflect what people will simply come to expect from sites in the future.
An Early Look at IE10
We’re about three weeks into development of IE10, and based on the progress we’ve made, we want to start engaging the development community now. At the MIX conference today, we showed the new browsing engine along with several new browser test drives that anyone on the Web can try out. You can run these at www.ietestdrive.com to see emerging standards like CSS3 Multi-column Layout (link), CSS3 Grid Layout (link) and CSS3 Flexible Box Layout (link), CSS3 Gradients (link), and ES5 Strict Mode in action. We also demonstrated additional standards support (like CSS3 Transitions (link) and CSS3 3D Transforms (link)) that will be available in subsequent platform previews of IE10, which we will update every 8-12 weeks.
Also available are new test drive samples for today’s production browsers. For example, Fishbowl is an update to the original FishIE tank that now uses more HTML5 technologies. Paintball is another great demonstration of what fully hardware accelerated HTML5 Canvas delivers.
Progress, not just activity, in improving the Web
Many of us share the goal of a more powerful, native, and robust Web. We want actual progress, not just iteration and activity, toward that goal.
The Web makes progress when
- developers can take advantage of new technology
- to build sites that feel and run more like native applications than Web pages
- across production-quality browsers
- using the same markup consistently.
This is how the Web delivers on the promise and value of the standards: when we as an industry deliver consumer-ready and business-ready HTML5.
The cadence of browser releases reflects how often technologies are updated, not how much the technologies actually advance from instability to robustness. Higher cadence just means more frequent releases of incomplete software (and larger version numbers). What matters is when consumers and businesses take delivery of robust, production-ready browsers that use the new technology.
Practical developers ask about the stability of emerging standards and when they can expect the same mark-up will work consistently across browsers. IE9 includes support for many emerging, not yet final standards (like font embedding, performance measurement, and privacy) that are stable enough for same markup to work consistently. Other emerging standards (like WebSockets and IndexedDB) need to stabilize before developers can expect that. We work with the community on these as part of HTML5 Labs, where iteration will not affect consumers and mainstream developers.
When browsers prematurely implement technology, the result is activity more than progress. Unstable technology results in developers wasting their time rewriting the same site. The gaps in same markup working consistently across browsers are obstacles to advancing the interoperable Web, not just annoyances.
Native implementations are just better for developers, consumers, and businesses. They keep Web sites from falling behind applications in performance and other important ways. While using cross-platform, non-native compatibility layers makes browser development easier, they don’t necessarily make a better browser. Browsers that use modern operating systems more directly deliver better experiences. Browsers that compromise (by spreading across too many OSes and OS versions) face challenges. For example, building a new browser for the ten-year old version of Windows that came with IE6 didn’t make sense to us because of the limitations of its graphics and security architectures. Others have dropped support on Windows XP for functionality that we think is fundamental to performance. As Windows 7 usage exceeds Windows XP’s in more and more countries (link), the sense in building for the future of the Web rather than the past is clear.
Ultimately, the point is advancing the interoperable Web and making the Web better. Developers want robust HTML5 implementations that they and their sites can rely on, in which the same markup works consistently. Our focus has been on enabling the same markup by delivering native HTML5 to Windows with full hardware acceleration and working closely with the standards bodies and the community.
IE9 delivers native support for HTML5 on Windows. Now, your sites can deliver significantly better experiences in IE9 on Windows today.
IE10 continues several patterns from IE9. In addition to the Platform Preview available for developers to download at www.ietestdrive.com, we have posted new test drives and over 500 new tests we’ve submitted to the standards bodies. IE’s approach to emerging standards results in less churn and more progress for developers. IE10 builds on full hardware acceleration and continues our focus on site-ready Web-standards. This combination enables developers to deliver the best performance for their customers on Windows while using the same, Web-standard markup across browsers.
We look forward to continuing to engage the community and hearing your feedback.
—Dean Hachamovitch, Corporate Vice President, Internet Explorer
When this post was initially published, I forgot to include the onerror event handler for the HTML5 video element. This caused the video to not play in browsers that don’t support MP4/H.264 video. That has been corrected. —Editor