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IE9 RTW - 9 Reasons Chrome and Firefox Users Will Love It


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Internet Explorer 9 RTW (release to web) is just a couple of hours away. And with IE9 RTW scheduled to go live on March 14th, 2011 at 9 p.m., the browser has already been downloaded well in excess of 36 million times.

Even so, IE9's journey will only truly begin on Monday. Starting next week, Windows Vista SP2 and Windows 7 users running IE8 will have an amazing upgrade available, guaranteed to take their browsing experience to the next level.

And customers that switched from IE to Firefox and Chrome will finally have a valid reason to switch back, with those thinking about jumping ship also bound to find reasons for a change of heart. In preparation for the IE9 RTW launch in just two days, I thought I'd provide my view of why Firefox and Chrome users would love IE9.

1. This is the most non-IE Internet Explorer ever

It might sound like a contradiction, but it's really not. All you have to do is think of IE9 as the Windows 7 of the browser world, only succeeding a number of Vistas instead of just one.

8 Platform Previews, a Beta and a Release Candidate (RC) later, the IE team has proved that it embraced a fundamental change in the way it plans, develops, listens to and integrates feedback and delivers Internet Explorer.

Under the leadership of Dean Hachamovitch, Corporate Vice President, Internet Explorer, come Monday, they will have rebooted Internet Explorer completely.

In a variety of aspects, with modern web standard support as a prime example, IE9 is more like Firefox 4.0 and Chrome 10.0 than IE7 and IE8. In fact, those expecting just another "good old" IE release will be disappointed.

2. Site-centric UI design

The first thing you'll notice about IE9 is the overhauled user interface. But the redesign goes deeper than the surface, and reflects the IE team's site-centric UI approach.

In its default configuration, with the Tabs opening to the right of the One Box, IE9 offers the most screen real estate space for websites out of all rival browsers.

Only the core UI elements have been enabled by default in IE9, providing a UI that's clean, lightweight, streamlined, and that doesn't take the focus away from the sites users are browsing.

3. One Box

Having melted the Address Bar and the Search Box together, the One Box also seamlessly combines the functionality of the two.

In fact, One Box is the heavyweight contributor to making IE9's UI simpler than that of Firefox 4.0 and on par with Chrome 10.0.

There's no Instant search like in the Omni Box, this is true, but there are scenarios, especially when users enter an incorrect URL, in which this is actually better, in my opinion.

I also love how easy it is to control whether IE9 sends everything you type in the One Box to the default search provider, or nothing at all unless customers actually hit Enter to perform a search, by turning Search Suggestions on or off.

4. Performance

IE9 is all around fast. It will launch faster, it will shut down faster, and it will open new tabs instantaneously the second users hit Ctrl + T or the New Tab button.

The IE team designed IE9 with built in add-on performance measuring capabilities, and the browser will alert customers when certain extensions are negatively impacting speed, so they can be switched off.

But in the end, efforts set up to improve performance were spread across all of the browser's subsystems, with the most tangible results, as those measured through benchmarks like SunSpider, indicating that IE9 has bested the most recent releases of Chrome and Firefox.

5. Security

In Vista SP2 and Windows 7, IE9 users benefit from the protection offered by the browser's reduced privileges. When User Account Control (UAC) is enabled, IE9 Protect Mode prevents eventual attacks from accessing the underlying platform.

But it's not just one thing protecting IE9 users, instead, a concert of security layers are tasked with rendering attacks and exploits useless, or making them impossibly hard.

DEP/NX (Data Execution Prevention / No eXecute), ASLR (Address Space Layout Randomization) and SafeSEH (Safe Structured Exception Handling) are among the security technologies leveraged in IE9.

And the good old SmartScreen features also evolved adding Application Reputation capabilities to those already available around URL Reputation. This means that IE9 can now protect users not only from socially engineered attacks, but also against dodgy downloads.

6. Privacy

With Tracking Protection and Tracking Protection Lists, IE9 puts users in control of their privacy while online. IE9's opt-in privacy protection mechanism allows them to actively block third-parties from tracking them.

And from what I'm hearing, Microsoft has only stepped up IE9's privacy game with RTW, although I can't say more now, but I will next week, be sure of that.

7. Hardware acceleration

Let's face it, Microsoft has made hardware acceleration a core element of modern browsers with IE9. Just think back, before the introduction of IE9 Platform Preview 1 a year ago, hardware acceleration was not really regarded as a priority or a must-have feature.

Now, text, graphics, and video on web pages can offer enhanced, desktop-quality experiences simply because the GPU no longer sits unused when users are browsing.

8. Platform integration

Getting the best out of Internet Explorer 9 means running it on top of Windows 7. It's only on Vista's successor that customers can have sites pinned on the Taskbar, in the same manner as their applications.

And only Windows 7 lets users enjoy Jump Lists and thumbnail preview controls for pinned sites, as well as take advantage of smooth tear-off tabs with Aero Snap.

Let's not forget that IE9's hardware acceleration is intimately connected with Windows' graphics APIs, affording customers top experiences by leveraging the power of the GPU.

9. Playing nice with HTML5, CSS3, DOM, SVG, and still not breaking the web

IE9 is the most web standards compliant version of Internet Explorer Microsoft has ever produced. This is the result of the company's focus on same markup, focused on allowing developers to build a website once, and have it render the same in all browsers.

There is still much to be done until the same markup goal can be reached, but IE9 is simply the best step forward that the IE team has made with IE in a long time, embracing emerging technologies such as HTML5, CSS3, DOM, SVG, etc.

But at the same time, IE9 is yet another example of the software giant's commitment to supporting legacy sites and not breaking the web.

Older sites, tailored to IE7 and IE8 will continue to run under IE9 and render in the same familiar manner, since the next iteration of IE packs the rendering technology of its predecessors, making use of it via the Compatibility View feature.

Orignal Article

Staff Note: Moved to Software News as it's about the software. :)

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*Rant Start* I will upgrade to it because I use Windows 7 and I would rather use IE9 over IE8 when I need to which is rare. Other than that I see no reason to switch from Chrome to IE9. Always hated IE, probably always will. *Rant end*

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Is it true Internet Explorer 9 will be better than the others? We need further investigation and benchmark to proof this statement from Microsoft...

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