Why we should all thank Internet Explorer 9 for upgrading the web

I must admit I use Firefox 4 day to day, only because I’m still a web developer by heart and can’t live without the Swiss army knife of the web, Firebug. That being said, I take my hat off to Microsoft’s Internet Explorer 9 team for making the web better for everyone, even for those like myself who don’t use it.

When Internet Explorer 9 was first announced at PDC09 more than a year ago, I dubbed it “a free upgrade for the web”. Turns out that wasn’t a bad analogy.

With the final release launching next week on March 14, looking back throughout its development cycle, its not only proven it’s very much a next-generation browser but one that’s also keeping the competition honest. Surprising considering its previous position.

Granted Internet Explorer is still far from perfect (ex. no CSS3 text-shadow still), what instills confidence for me in their ability to compete is that their hardware-accelerated rendering technology was not only groundbreaking when it was first demonstrated 17 months ago, remains the leader still.

Neither the upcoming Firefox 4 release nor Chrome has been able to match it. Not surprising since Dean Hachamovitch told me it was a complex engineering feat during an interview, of course I couldn’t comprehend just how far ahead they were at the time.

The fact that Mozilla and Google tried and will try even harder for months to come is why all Firefox and Chrome users should also appreciate how IE9 has influenced the whole industry for the better. Competition, at its finest.

32 insightful thoughts

  1. Out of curiosity, have you tried using IE’s Developer Tools instead of Firebug? If yes, is there anything you found missing in DevTools that Firebug provides?

    1. Definitely tried. Although much improved its still no firebug.

      Firebug has a much more usable ui and I find its HTML/CSS features more comprehensive, like autocomplete.

      1. I’ve tried a few times to use IE’s Developer tools and have always had it cause lock ups on IE8 on Windows XP, Windows Vista, and Windows 7. I’ve tried with an without virus scanning software installed or enabled and never had any luck.

        As far as I can tell, FireBug is currently one of the only options I have to debug javascript or play with the HTML/CSS features. Chrome’s tools aren’t too bad either though.

      2. Tried the “trace styles” tool in IE – I find it *much better* than the Chrome/FF dev tools.

  2. I find that IE9 has 2 quirks:

    1. A lot of sites I go to have broken things in it, such as navigation buttons that don’t appear. They work fine in Chrome. I suspect this isn’t so much a bug in IE9 as much as it is a web site bug, and that they haven’t yet been forced to test compatibility with IE9. Maybe IE9’s adherence to standards is just that strict?

    2. Once a site loads, it’s very fast. But, I get responsiveness hiccups in the UI before the page loads. Web sites often take longer to initially load than Chrome. It’s almost as if the DNS query itself is bogging down. Maybe Chrome has a faster way to query DNS?

    Other than that, it’s been pretty good, and it’s hard to believe it can get snappier than Chrome, which it is! If they can work out these kinks, sayonara Chrome and Firefox.

  3. I downloaded IE 9 Beta the very first day it was available and love it. I’ve had no real problems with it. On Windows 7 it is so fast for me and takes full advantage of my stand alone Nvidia graphics. I plan to keep using it.

  4. my biggest irk about IE9 on Mac … well, there is now IE9 on Mac.

    So yeah, nothing to see. moving right along we the rest of the entire creative community.

  5. I’ve been using IE9 since beta, and here are my beefs:

    1) They changed Outline Elements. It was much better in IE7/IE8.
    2) The Browse Mode for IE7/IE8 still uses the IE9 rendering engine, so I still have to use IETester.
    3) The pointer tool doesn’t work in the IE7 Browser Mode, suppose to highlight the HTML code.
    4) Why change the CSS colors from hexidecimal to RGB?

    Oh and thank you for letting me move my tabs below the address bar!

    http://www.detailcode.com/news/internet-explorer-9-wishlist/

  6. Comparing side by side IE9 RC and Chrome 10 (latest and greatest _production_ release) on maps.google.com, I like to admit, that IE9 is faster and smoother, than Chrome :)

    P.s.: For IE9 better experience make “adjust cleartype text” in Windows and check the zoom level. Somehow the last one wasn’t exactly 100% by me. The fonts were really ugly

    1. Hey, you are not “someone”. You are an Indian named “Tuxplorer” who is a famous troll and who knows NOTHING about computers.

      1. And you’re an Indian named “LiquidSolstice” who licks Microsoft’s boots and knows nothing about usability.

  7. And Long, are you a Microsoft fanatic? How can you conveniently ignore the 50% of the web which uses Windows XP? Did IE upgrade their web?

      1. Seeing how IE9 completely copied Chrome’s UI in every way, it made the web horrible to use with more clicks for everything.

      2. So chrome’s UI is horrible? That must be why everyone switched from Chrome to Firefox then………

  8. “…what instills confidence for me in their ability to compete is that their hardware-accelerated rendering technology was not only groundbreaking when it was first demonstrated 17 months ago, remains the leader still.

    Neither the upcoming Firefox 4 release nor Chrome has been able to match it.”

    It has nothing to do with Hardware Acceleration.

    Read:
    http://weblogs.mozillazine.org/roc/archives/2011/03/the_myth_of_ful.html and
    http://weblogs.mozillazine.org/roc/archives/2011/03/investigating_p.html

    1. Didn’t say it was perfect, but it did one thing really well and helped improved every other browser. What browser do you use?

  9. The font for your articles’ title headers look different on IE9, Long.

    P.S. When I try to donate for your idea on Pledgie, it’s telling me “If the fractional amount is rounded for currency conversion, funds could be lost.”

  10. why don’t you guys just stick to the browser that serves your needs instead of bickering like old spinsters. everyone seems to like taking pot shots at each other .not one comment was regarding any techie stuff, instead everybody is trying to put others down or commenting on how good or bad ie9 looks””and not how is its performance. both ie9 and firefox4 has got their own + & – points. its just aquestion of which one does the jobs better for that particular user. seriusly if you are going to continue totake pot shots at each other, go somewhere else like a chat room maybe to do it. or better still exchane addresses and go and kill your bloated ego-hurting opposites. this site if not the world would defenitely be a better. when you end up in hell maybe then you can fight on trivial matters like which came before, the egg or the chicken and create chaos and disturb everybody else … hey its hell anyway and you would adding to the shit all around you. you might even score some brownie points with the devil and be rewarded…..

    1. If you want to talk about tech, come to a tech forum. If you don’t want to talk about tech, then why are you wasting your time frustrating yourself with all of us lowly idiots?

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