IE9 Platform Preview available

In November last year, Microsoft revealed some of what will be new and improved in Internet Explorer 9 in the IEBlog post An Early Look At IE9 for Developers.

Today, IE General Manager Dean Hachamovitch posted a follow-up: HTML5, Hardware Accelerated: First IE9 Platform Preview Available for Developers. Yes, you can now download what Microsoft calls a Platform Preview to test drive Internet Explorer 9 for yourself.

There are also a number of demos to show the improved performance and standards support in IE 9. Judging by several of the demos (HTML5 T-Shirt Designer and SVG-oids are two) it looks like IE9 will finally support XHTML served with the application/xhtml+xml media type. We'll never know, but I can't help wondering if the number of people using “real” XHTML would have been greater if Microsoft had implemented support for that earlier.

One of the things that Microsoft claims will be improved in IE9 is type rendering, which I’m looking forward to a lot. To my (admittedly Mac OS X-conditioned) eyes the whole of Windows needs to catch up there.

As Jeffrey Zeldman puts it in IE9 preview:

Thus efforts to catch up to the typographic legibility and beauty of Mac OS X and Webkit browsers are presented, in Dean Hachamovitch’s blog post, as leading-edge innovations.

Type rendering aside, it’s promising to see more information about IE9. Let’s hope Microsoft can live up to what Dean Hachamovitch writes in today’s blog post:

We want the same markup to just work across different browsers. In IE9, we’re doing for the rest of the platform what we did for CSS 2.1 in IE8. IE8 delivered a high-quality CSS 2.1 implementation, sticking to the standard, and looking to other implementations in places where the standard is ambiguous.

I'm still amazed at how few IE8 problems related to CSS 2.1 I have run into. If IE9 can deliver that level of support for HTML5, DOM, CSS3, and SVG… yay!

Makes me wonder how long it will take for IE8 to be phased out.

Posted on March 16, 2010 in Browsers, HTML 5, CSS, (X)HTML