October 24, 2014

Microsoft Finally Releases Internet Explorer 9

After more than a year of previews, betas and release candidates, Microsoft has finally shipped Internet Explorer 9. In the browser world the development speed of IE 9 has been snail pace. With Google and Mozilla releasing new versions of their browsers almost monthly, it has taken a long, long time for Redmond to ship IE 9. So now that it is out, what can we expect, especially on the security front.

IE 9’s improvements can be categorized into three main areas:

  1. Speed: Microsoft has added a much faster Javascript engine to try and compete with Chrome and Safari. It has also added hardware acceleration for graphic intense operations especially for HTML 5 elements like video.
  2. Standards: MS has addressed many of issues that the community reported (for example, in SVG text anchoring and WOFF font embedding) to ensure that web pages work consistently across browsers. There is also support for HTML5 video, Canvas and CSS3 properties.
  3. Security: New to IE 9 is Tracking Protection which allows users to better control the amount of information that third-party websites (including Google Analytics scripts, Facebook buttons, counting pixels and externally hosted scripts) can potentially use to track their browsing activity. Also on the security front IE 9 adds ActiveX Filtering a new method of controlling plugins with security implications, such as Flash, Silverlight, QuickTime and Java.

Microsoft are providing plenty of information about IE 9 for users and developers. A recap of the last year of engineering blog posts on IE9 is available here. At the site Beauty of the Web, you will find an interactive product guide here. Also release notes for developers and the Guide for Developers, are available here and here.

Internet Explorer 9 is available to download for 32- and 64-bit versions of Windows 7, Vista and Server 2008 (but not XP) and in 39 languages.

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