back to article Microsoft's Internet Explorer 9 embraces - yes - HTML5

Microsoft is focusing on performance and HTML 5 standards support in Internet Explorer 9, the next version of its web browser. IE is the most widely-used web browser, though its market share is in decline thanks to strong competition from Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, and others. At the Mix conference in Las Vegas on …


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  1. Hedley Phillips

    did I read the words "standards"

    and "Internet Explorer" in the same article?

    1. pitagora
      Gates Halo

      yeah.....'s confusing to have the two together. Developing for IE is a pain, but I have to admin that it's a lot better then Chrome. IE 7 and 8 complies with the standards a thousand times better then Google Chrome. At least M$ is doing steps towards compliance, while Google is going the wrong way.

      1. Wibble
        Gates Horns


        Whilst the Webkit engine (used by Safari & Chrome) does have its quirks, these pale into insignificance against issues with all versions of Internet Exploder.

        With a bit of luck and a tail wind, IE9 may finally be moving in the same direction as Mozilla and Webkit. It all depends upon how much Microsoft saddles IE9 with "backward compatibility" for websites built by people who write to suit IE and not web standards.

        Long live heterogeneity.

  2. Andy Jones

    Ha ha ha

    Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!

    No stop it. You're making my ribs hurt!

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    IF they manage it..

    and that a big IF, we are still going to have to develop for 3 non standard versions of IE untill all the IE6/7/8 and Win XP hold outs upgrade.

  4. Tony Hoyle

    You forget IE6

    You still can't write pages that aren't IE6 compatible. Let alone IE9... it'll be 10+ years at this rate before it's on enough desktops to matter.

    MS need to kill IE6 *officially* not just pretend it doesn't exist, then the web world might be able to start moving on.

  5. The BigYin


    "When IE9 lands in a year or so, it will have the features similar to those that current browsers have already had for about a year".

    i.e. "IE9 will be two years behind the curve"


  6. PhonicUK
    Paris Hilton

    Bad luck for stubborn XP users...

    Requires Vista SP2 or Windows 7!

    Tried to install it on my work computer, no joy. Thankfully my own machines aren't quite so antiquated ;)

    Paris, because she knows all about backwards compatability?

  7. Matthew Barker


    ' In her view, it is now Apple, Adobe and Google who are less committed to web standards -

    Microsoft, Opera and Mozilla are fully onboard. '

    Hmmm. I find this an interesting comment. Of all of the browsers I've used (including Firefox), Safari was the first to pass Acid3 with 100%.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      @Matthew Barker : Read The Flipping Article

      She actually said they are "less open [about their] processes ... with respect to web standards"

      She did NOT say they are "less committed to web standards". YOU said that.

      Read the article properly before you start misquoting / putting words into people's mouths.

    2. Anonymous Coward


      looks like somebody has been editing the article since you read it

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    must be getting scared

    For ms to start to bow to standards (other than their own) they must be starting to brick it about their market share.

    Mind you, if all their previous efforts are anything to go by, IE will only partially support any of the claimed standards and even then will require some sort of bizarre markup to make it look like it does in any other browser.

    Not to mention they'll probably find a way of implementing features in such a way that viewing a page with an SVG on it will crash windows entirely.

  9. Anonymous Coward

    It's difficult to be humble once you've thrown a toddler tantrum

    The problem is this... so many nerds have spent a third of their entire lifetime slagging off IE and bashing it over security and web standards that they simply can't swallow their pride and accept that it's changed and continues to change.

    The fact is, IE8 is a good browser. It may not be as good as Opera 10.5 or Webkit when it comes to cutting edge stuff (but then neither is Firefox), but it handles real-world pages very well. The last few websites I've made have not had a *single* glitch in IE8 after the first attempt. IE7 still always has a couple of minor quirks that need fixing and IE6 needs help. But IE8 is fine.

    I don't care about CSS3, HTML5 or fancy Javascript objects and methods because none of that is of any use in IE6, and that's the browser that matters, just like NS4 still mattered 10 years ago. Rounded corners and box shadows are nice, but not vital, so what's the problem if old versions of IE don't render them? Why double my workload by embedding videos into web pages using HTML5 *and* Flash, or using CSS3 *and* inline images to create rounded corners? The old fashioned methods *have* to be used, and still work perfectly well in all of them, including the ones that do HTML5/CSS3.

    Frankly, IE probably needs rounded corners more than it needs HTML5 video. Web designers will be happy to stick to Flash as long as old browsers are a consideration and the end users will never have a clue about how or why the video they see is there, whereas eye candy like rounded corners, CSS3 transformations and shadows most definitely will make the end user think that a supporting browser is superior to one which renders flat, square boxes that don't swirl around when you hover over them. Even then, a lot of what CSS3 transformations offer can already be done (and much better) in Flash - which works just fine in all existing browsers, including IE6. End users and (to not quite the same extent) web designers couldn't give a stuff that the HTML methods are open and don't require commercial proprietary plugins. They just want it to work, and in the case of web designers, Flash also gives them a superficial reassurance that their code can't easily be nicked.

    So, while IE8 is still behind the others, it's still closer to Firefox than IE7, and closer than Firefox is to Webkit or Opera 10.5. Some people are going to find it very hard to stop bashing IE, no matter how good it gets or how many more security holes Firefox racks up compared to it.

    Yes, IE8 is what IE6 should have been, and MS deserve to be reminded of what they did to the web over the last 10 years, but that doesn't mean every effort they now make should be spat upon. That says as much about you as the IE6 situation says about them. You're just a playground bully, with internet forums being your playground.

    I'm really looking forward to IE9, and hope between that and support for W2K expiring, IE6 will disappear over the next three years. The world is moving on and, as ever, leaving bitter people behind in its wake.

    1. The Original Steve
      Thumb Up

      I salute you!

      Good post Sir... Bravo!!!

  10. Pirate Dave Silver badge

    forgive my ignorance

    but what does Adobe have to do with web standards?

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Halo

    pinch me

    "This is the dream. You're still in the cell"

  12. Len

    How do her camps work?

    [quote]In her view, it is now Apple, Adobe and Google who are less committed to web standards - Microsoft, Opera and Mozilla are fully onboard.[/quote]

    I am puzzled what metric she uses to decide who is "commited to web standards" and who isn't.

    It can't be ACID3.

    Chrome, Safari and Opera score 100 and Mozilla's latest preview is around 97 currently whereas IE is stated to be at only 55.

    It can't be HTML5 video tag support.

    Chrome, Safari, Firefox and Opera support already and IE is stated to support it in the future.

    It can't be HTML5 video codec support.

    Firefox and Opera are in the Ogg Theora camp while Apple, Google and Microsoft are in the h.264 camp.

    It can't be general HTML5 support.

    All the major browser developers have now pledged support for it.

    So, which reason does she have to put Microsoft, Opera and Mozilla in one camp and Apple, Adobe and Google in the other?

  13. Tom Maddox Silver badge

    Give in to the hate, embrace the Dark Side

    "[I]ts market share is in decline thanks to strong competition from Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, and others."

    Wow, relegating Opera to the "and others" category should earn you some blazing hatred. Hope you're wearing your asbestos underwear!

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Fuck yeah, rounded corners!

    truly a new dawn is upon us

  15. Greg J Preece

    That sounds....good?

    Am I hearing this? The IE team are concentrating on standards? Open, accepted standards and not ones they made up in the pub? They're building in SVG support???

    That platform preview looks....really quite good. Did I just say that?

    Did someone fire up the LHC, make one of them interdimensional portal thingummies and not tell anyone?

  16. dracnoc

    Hey, Reg...

    ... you're two weeks early for April Fools. The day MS follows standards is the day they publish flight plans for pigs.

  17. Charlie Clark Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    It's a start

    But restricting it to >= Vista is hardly going to encourage the laggards who probably stand to benefit most. From the stats that I have access to IE 6, 7, 8 are running close with IE 8 adoption not increasing this year. So, while I'd love to see (and in some cases mandate) standards adoption. It looks like that will take longer than one hopes... At least you can run it in parallel.

    It is a very rough preview - maybe I'm missing something but I couldn't even find the back button. It will render in modes from IE5, IE6, IE7 and IE8 which I suppose should facilitate testing. A lot of demos seem made specially for the preview.

    1. Old Marcus

      RE: Preview

      The preview is merely meant to be a shell for testing some of the new features, rather than for end user friendliness. Although I do think they ought to at least have a half way decent GUI with it...

  18. Patrick O'Reilly

    Holy Molly! You can't be serious

    Ah, come on now. Putting Microsoft ahead of Google in relation to web standards. That's a joke. Google and Apple might be hedging their bets with MPEG4 but apart from that they are on the HTML5 gravy train.

    IE are playing catchup.

    And BTW, the preview won't run on anything less than Vista SP2, alas leaving most of their users behind.

  19. Jason
    Gates Halo

    Someone is looking for a job @ MS

    Quote : "Microsoft's efforts to improve Internet Explorer received support from web standards advocate Molly Holzschlag, who works for Opera. The forthcoming IE "will kick butt", she told Mix attendees at a workshop on Sunday"

    Guess who will have a new desk next Monday?

    I can't see other Opera execs being too happy with that statement . . .

    1. mollydotcom

      Encourage Everyone to Win

      1. I've already done plenty at Microsoft. If people knew their browser history, I was the one who publicly took them head-on and even directly challenged Bill Gates F2F about these issues. This is a long documented journey for me personally - far back to the walled garden days of MSN, CSS 1.0 support in pre-IE 3.0 browsers. If anyone here thinks Microsoft did not do good things with standards, they're not looking at the panorama of our history!

      2. I am not at war with any browser vendor. I am a standards advocate. At Opera, my specific title is "Web Evangelist, Developer Relations." Opera hires me not to evangelize Opera, but to create relationships with developers worldwide and to evangelize the Web and open standards. Therefore, to encourage Microsoft's being more open is /exactly/ in my job description and believe it or not, something Opera supported from the start.

      And for the record, I am a flesh-and- blood person, not an abstract "she" - I have opinions, and they belong not to my employer or to Microsoft or to anyone but me. I also have facts, and I work very hard to make the difference clear. This is not always attainable, not for anyone.

      Encourage everyone to win, and we all win. Encourage failure, and that's what you'll get.

  20. Geoff Mackenzie


    I see what they're up to here.

    Ogg please.

    1. The BigYin

      Why Ogg?

      H.264 is an open standard and there is hardware acceleration available for it. Using Ogg would be a retrograde step.

      Sure, you have to bend of and take it up the wrong 'un from the Patent Pixies; but is that so bad?

      Hmm...why is.

  21. Si 1

    Even if IE9 is the best browser at supporting standards it's still a huge pain

    Why is it a huge pain you ask? Because there's still tons of IE6, IE7 and IE8 installs out there. Sure some of those will become IE9 installs, but that's the problem. With IE9 that means I've now got 4 Microsoft browsers to test and likely all of them will need some sort of hack or another. The more browsers MS release the worse things get.

    You could make the argument that the same is true for old versions of Firefox, Opera or Chrome, but I would suggest that if you're savvy enough to install one of those browsers, you know how to keep it updated (and I know Firefox at least has a decent auto-update system). But with all those corporate IE installs out there, I have no choice but to make sure every bloody version works.

    The first thing Google have done in years that isn't borderline evil is dropping support for IE6. In fact I had a customer today wondering why his Google Docs don't work any more...

  22. Anonymous Coward


    Fsck HTML5, it would be a huge leap forward for geekkind if the fscking thing supported html4 and xhtml LIKE EVERY OTHER BROWSER DOES. I for one would envisage living 10 years longer if I did not have to battle this pus laden piece of excrement on a daily basis. Sadly I suspect 20% of users will continue to use IE6 whatever happens.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I for one....

    welcome back our old Redmond overlords...

  24. clarkec321
    Gates Halo


    With every new release another nail is hammered in to the coffin of the god awful Flash plug-in

  25. This post has been deleted by a moderator

    1. Mark Aggleton
      Thumb Down


      Just got back from the pub eh?

    2. Old Marcus


      DId you go to school as a child, or did you just chew bricks?

    3. Anonymous Coward

      hey A/C

      School bell is ringing, quick you'll be late...

      Anyone who can code, will wait for it, use a GPU to to render graphics...

      Wait whats that, grpahics being processed on a graphics card? Shit next someone will come up with the idea of running sound through a sound card.

      Dear child, when you can learn to write in adult English, then come back.

      BTW if you thing it is sloppy coding to use GPU's for performance, does that make a lot of HPC specialists lazy? Hint look at what is behind many of the top supercomputers.

    4. Marky W

      @other replies here

      Troll. Feeding. Don't.


      1. bigphil9009

        I agree, but

        Why allow the post in the first place, to encourage troll-feeding? But why? There is no point in posts such as the one in question (and the slightly edited repost further down) - they add nothing whatsoever to the discussion in hand. Either this is meant to be forum for (semi)serious debate, or it isn't, and there are plenty of other places I can go to for the latter. Sort it out Reg!

        1. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

          Re: I agree, but

          We get an awful lot of comments every day and we can't always filter out the crap. You can disregard it, or you can click to report it, and then we'll take another look. OK?

          1. bigphil9009

            Thanks for the response

            Hi Sarah,

            Thanks for the response - I hadn't realised that you didn't moderate everything (thinking about it though I probably should have realised that you couldn't possibly!). I like that we have the ability to influence the banhammer ;-)

            1. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

              Re: Thanks for the response

              No problem. Reported posts have a good chance of being allowed to stand (it's amazing the things that upset some of you delicate flowers) but we do look at them and reconsider. Hey, we're here for YOU.

  26. Nessalc

    PNG yet?

    Will IE support the alpha channel of PNG images, finally?

    1. Anonymous Coward



    2. Old Marcus


      You do realise it's been supported since IE 7, don't you?

      If it it's a joke, it's pretty lame.

  27. Sim~
    Thumb Up

    1 step forward

    Well IE9 will still need to prove itself in terms of security, and Microsoft will be judged on their response time to vulnerabilities. However this is good news, not for today or tomorrow, but the distant future.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Horns

    IE9 => Windows 8

    There's an unofficial rule that the major releases of IE are tied to new releases of Windows. So I guess Windows 8 must be due within the next year. Best hold off that Win 7 upgrade for now then...

  29. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  30. This post has been deleted by its author

  31. Martin Nicholls

    Screw HTML5...

    Where's the real XHTML support.

    Microsoft and Apple being so pally lately is really starting to grate.

    Nobody who does webdev professionally gives a damn about HTML5. Because it's useless.

    Go away Apple, go away Microsoft, would you please. You're both damaging the internet like you both have been doing for decades.

    1. Charlie Clark Silver badge
      Thumb Down

      I disagree

      HTML 5 tags alone make source code significantly easier and I've already started working with it plus a Javascript shim to allow older browsers to handle them for styling and it works very well. It's harder to do this things like Canvas and CSS3 but it wouldn't surprise me to see move JS libraries like Google's SVG viewer to spring up.

      The installed base of < IE 8 and particularly Windows 2000 remains a big problem but from the stats that I can see there is already a noticeable shift from IE to other browsers this year. Previously market share (outside of Germany) was largely between IE versions but this is now changing both as corporates migrate to Windows 7 and discussions around security and the "browser ballot screen" sensitise people. Google's very public decision to drop IE 6 support gives us all a convenient excuse to argue against bending over backwards to support it on new sites and users to consider using a different browser when they encounter sites that don't work well with it in what will hopefully become a vicious circle in declining market share. Existing customer applications can stay "legacy" but there will be little reason for new developments to make the same compromises.

  32. Anonymous Coward


    Seriously, that picture of 55/100 on made me laugh. Very hard.

    Seriously? Everybody else has 100/100 -- Opera, Chrome, Firefox.

    OK, this is not the final release, but being them I'd shut up until I get 100/100.

    1. The BigYin

      Not a pass

      You do understand that 100/100 is not a pass, don't you?

      If you don't understand that, i suggest you go and read how ACID3 actually works.

  33. mollydotcom

    Quote From Me Is Wrong and Should Be Considered Harmful

    The actual commentary attributed to me was in a full-day workshop, so it is inaccurate and out of context. Here is what I actually mean.

    1. Apple, Adobe Google have less obvious, open processes now than Opera, Mozilla and now, Microsoft.

    2. I also believe the commitment to HTML5 is a turning point in the Web's history. Every major browser plus W3C in some form of agreement is very impressive.

    The idea that Google, Adobe and Apple aren't working on standards is simply so wrong that anyone who knew me would know I'd be a fool to say that. So I really hope the Register honors its fact-checking process and makes note of this issue ASAP. This puts me personally in a very dishonorable and inaccurate position, and I'm a bit upset to say the least.

  34. Samuel Walker

    Ogg is dead

    "Support for the audio and video tags is also promised, though it is not in the current preview. Microsoft showed H.264 720p video running directly in the browser."

    Ogg is dead. At least in the browser market now.

    For flamers: I am not making a judgement about either H.264 or ogg here.

    1. Martin Nicholls

      Alive and kicking...

      How can you call for OGG is dead, long live king h264 when Moz hold all the cards and they can't for legal reasons, patent reasons and general principle - put it within a thousand miles of their browser.

      Sure you can plug in support but the problem is this - nobody is going to do this.

      I'm not judging which codec is better either, because it's kinda obvious.

      That said we need a new codec that isn't encumbered before any of this is going to be useful.

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    It's good to see Microsoft finally getting their shit together. Somehow, somewhere in Redmond someone realized that all their chair-throwing, their fucking kill google, their bingbingbing and their I'm a PC won't save their market share until they finally ship a modern 2010 browser.

    Kudos to them: When they start moving, they really start moving. I'm impressed that they've put a page up that openly states where IE9 stands, and especially where it still lags. No ACID3 is irrelevant crap, just plain numbers. This is the Microsoft I want to see.

    Now if the same people who finally kicked IE into gear can please give their bloated old flagship Office a makeover. It's not bleeding in the corner like IE, but sooner or later it will be.

  36. Robin 2

    re: Holy Molly

    ...and other's questioning her judgement. Do you actually work with web standards or simply troll the ElReg boards to slam IE?

    If you worked with web standards you'd know who Molly is and that she has probably done more for web standards than any other person on the planet. So I for one don't question her belief that MS have a more open process than Google.

  37. GreyCells


    Is Beelzebub lacing up his ice skates?

  38. Daniel 1

    "No More Browser Wars"

    Back in the day, at glasshaus Press, we jokingly discussed the idea of a publishing a book called "No More Netscape 4", in which we could openly espouse the ideas of designing to Web standards - and not worry about 'supporting' some dead old browser, that some guy with a Solaris Worstation, in Basingstoke, might still be using.

    That was back when Netscape Navigator was the great villain of the day, of course. And the title is wrong, since it concentrates on demonising just one particular browser - which is probably why we never published it (either that, or the company went bankrupt, from under us, before we could do so: I guess we'll never know).

    Netscape Navigator 4 (In all it's many, hideous guises) was absolutely bloody awful, of course - but it's code-base was taken and worked into what you now use in Firefox. So, no cause is irredeemable.

    It was actually 7 years ago, this Monday-gone, that glasshaus Press (and the whole imaginary shining edifice that it stood upon), fell down, but it's nice to see that some of those very brilliant and gifted people, that it was my privilege to work with, back then - including Bruce, Molly, Chris, and co - have actually managed to convince the participants in this silly battle to put down their guns and declare mutual victory. The browser wars are over: everybody won.

    The only place browsers can fight each other, now, is on how much memory they hog up, or how fast they burn through the battery, or how quickly they can render content, and so on. But this is a battle turned inwards - towards the hardware, where it belongs - because, the best you can ever be, as a standards-compliant Web browser is 'good enough'.

    As far as the rest of us, developing for the Web, are concerned? Well No Man's Land has never looked like such a desirable place to live. Anyone got a football?

  39. Idiots _Quotient

    Shortcuts Any1 ?

    IE9 Preview Minus the ShortCuts

    Ctl+Enter Not workin

  40. Randy Hudson


    Really, support for HTML5 and GPU assisted graphics? Congratulations, your industry-leading browser will have caught up with the browser already on my iPhone.

  41. Anonymous Coward

    More microsoft lies and deception...

    "CodeDread has a published list detailing SVG support in different browsers. As you can see, IE9 still does poorly compared to other browsers. So while Microsoft's own page would give you the impression that IE9 has excellent SVG support, that is not the reality."

    Seems Microsoft wrote their own subset of the SVG tests to make their claims of compliance better...

    Same old dirty tricks Microsoft....

  42. Jeff 11


    Microsoft's half-baked browsers really hold back progress on the web. 55/100 on Acid3 is a score Gecko/Webkit/Opera browsers were getting a year or more ago. I would hope (sadly in vain) that this could get to the 90s, at least, before general release.

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