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Internet Explorer 9 (IE9) RTW Is Here


zeon22

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One year after the first Platform Preview of Internet Explorer 9 was unveiled to the world, IE9 RTW (release to web) is here.

"We’ve been both humbled and excited by the praise and the response that we’ve gotten to the release,” Roger Capriotti, Director, Internet Explorer Product Marketing told us over the phone last week.

There have been in excess of 40 million downloads of the Beta and the Release Candidate (RC), the largest Beta of Internet Explorer in company history.

According to Capriotti, the size of the IE9 Beta is about double that of the IE8 Beta, with more than 2% of Windows 7 users already running it, but the number of early adopters is just one of the aspects in which the latest iteration of IE leaves its predecessor in the dust.

IE9 is faster than IE8, it sports an overhauled UI, comes with better security for end users, and delivers a collection of new and innovative features that together account for an amazing evolution for IE.

RC to RTW

Since the RC was launched on February 10, 2011, there aren’t any major changes introduced in the RTW bits.

The IE team focused ahead of anything else on fine-tuning IE9, getting it ready for the general availability deadline.

As a part of this fine-tuning effort, Microsoft focused on improving the performance of IE9 on older machines, especially around hardware acceleration and low-end GPUs, Capriotti told me.

I have been running the RTW release since the Build went into Escrow, and then Build 9.0.8112.16421, for quite some time now, and I can tell you that on one of my top machines, Internet Explorer 9 absolutely flies.

At the same time, I also have an older machine, 5+ years, that I’ve upgraded, hardware-wise, to get it to run Windows 7 properly, and the IE9 experience has also vastly improved on this one as well, although the graphics drivers did stumble a few times.

IE9 RTW also sports some updates for privacy, on top of Tracking Protection and Tracking Protection Lists that Microsoft introduced with the Release Candidate.

Essentially, as of the RTW Build, IE9 is capable of offering users that want more control over their privacy and who gets to track them online both the Tracking Protection opt-in mechanism, as well as the Do Not Track header opt-out technology, which was already embraced by some of the company’s rivals.

“There’s a built in enforcement mechanism with Tracking Protection, so right out of the box, any Tracking Protection Lists are enforceable out of the box with IE9,” Capriotti revealed.

With the Do Not Track header there’s really no way of enforcing privacy protection, because it’s up to third-parties to decide whether they will conform to it and respect user wishes, or if they’ll ignore them and still track them.

In addition, Tracking Protection has been extended to also cover ActiveX controls in pages, and Microsoft also made it easier for users to find Tracking Protection lists.

The Redmond company re-launched the IE add-on gallery, which now houses not only browser extensions but also Tracking Protection Lists for IE9 RTW.

IE release to web (RTW)

While the Platform Previews releases were designed for developers to test the IE9 platform and provide feedback, with the Beta and RC still offered to mainly to testers, the RTW Build can be used by all Windows users running Vista SP2 or Windows 7.

In excess of 17,000 pieces of feedback from over 8,000 contributors on Microsoft Connect went into refining Internet Explorer 9.

“Ultimately, what really matters is that we have a much higher quality release,” Rob Mauceri, Group Program Manager at Microsoft revealed to me over the phone last week.

Mauceri credited the effort that developers and early adopters have put in during the testing of IE9 for the quality of the RTW Build.

Mauceri added that the IE team is excited by the approach for the IE9 development process, and that it expects this strategy to carry on into the future. This is also interesting because I’ve heard that the Redmond company will continue to produce Platform Preview releases even after IE9 RTW, one aspect that the members of the IE team would not confirm to me officially.

IE9 RTW key enhancements

Developers will be able to build increasingly complex web experiences thanks to IE9’s support of modern web standards, among which HTML5 and CSS3, but also because of improvements such as hardware acceleration and performance.

Microsoft boasts full hardware acceleration with IE9, and introduced Chakra the new optimized JavaScript engine.

IE9 also sports a new look, with the redesign delivering a cleaner UI, and deep integration into the Windows 7 user interface with such features as Pinned Sites, JumpLists, Aero Snap.

The UI overhaul has also resulted in the Address Bar and Search Box becoming one, namely the One Box, a single area in the browser tasked with enabling users to both navigate and search.

There are additional features, of course, including around reliability, security and privacy such as Tracking Protection, ActiveX Filtering, Hang recovery, Group Policy support, etc.

IE9 RTW readiness

Over 1,000 sites worldwide have already done work in order to take advantage of the unique IE9 features, including Site Pinning, Taskbar notifications, Jumplists, etc.

Grupon and Hulu are two new partners that have jumped aboard the IE9 bandwagon with Microsoft, Capriotti explained.

I have already revealed that sites taking advantage of the IE9 Pinned Sites feature managed to boost user loyalty, by increasing the number of visitors returning to a destination (by 40%) and the time they spent on a site (by over 50%).

50% of the world’s top social networks, including Facebook, but also top e-commerce sites such as Ebay and Amazon.com, and additional partners such as Hulu, Slacker, Pandora, etc. have already got their websites playing nice with IE9.

It will be worth checking out the IE9 partners, since Microsoft has worked with some of them in order to offer IE9 users special offerings, discounts, etc.

The re-launched IE add-on gallery is the best destination to find additional details about the IE9 partners and the special deals available to users, Capriotti revealed.

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T4C Fantasy

best browser to date!

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Damn Microsoft... I've downloaded the installer for Windows 7 x64, I thought the installer was "offline" version due to the size of the program (34MB to be exact). But once I installed the program, it still downloading data for the installation! Damn! Opera 11 installer is just 8MB size, and it is real offline - doesn't need any internet connection to install... I don't think will give any chance Internet Explorer 9 to be installed in my Windows 7 x64 because of this...

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I never believed that this day would come, but IE9 beats Firefox in benchmark (attached). Damn it!

Cheers ;)

post-10441-0-49344900-1300195342_thumb.p

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@mara-: Yes that's correct. IE9 beats FF4 in benchmarks. But I'll consider two things before saying that IE is faster than FF. IE's optimization of their code to tell benchmarks to skip certain things so that it gets better score in benchmarks. And, we may well see 2-3 Firefox versions this year, whereas, IE10 will take atleast two years.

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Microsoft is doing a good job so far , its browser is hated for no reason now , it's back and it's competing

this is fun , let's see how Mozilla will react , not to mention google doesnt care about both of them ... in the top

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unknownasphyxiated

for me,ie9 load website slower than firefox 4 rc1 portable and chrome 10

win 7 sp1 32bit

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for me,ie9 load website slower than firefox 4 rc1 portable and chrome 10

win 7 sp1 32bit

Same here

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