About the Platform Preview

The information published in this post is now out-of-date.

—IEBlog Editor, 11 September 2012

Today we’re excited to release the first ever Internet Explorer Platform Preview. The Platform Preview provides developers an early look at some of the features coming to Internet Explorer, enabling them to try out the new capabilities of the platform.


When we released IE8, we said that our next steps started with listening to your feedback. A major part of what we heard, including comments to that same post, was that developers wanted more builds, more often. At the same time, given the high expectations of our users and the breadth of impact of changes we make to our platform, we need to carefully balance the quality of what we release with the frequency of releases. With the Platform Preview we want to strike a balance that provides developers an early and reliable hands-on experience with key parts of IE. With this Platform Preview, developers and people interested in standards and web development can try out new platform functionality and provide early feedback.

What It Is

The Internet Explorer Platform Preview is a light-weight frame around the core IE platform which includes the rendering and layout, object model, parsing, and script engines. It’s a way to try out the platform, and the experience improvements we’re making to performance, standards support and interoperability, enabling “the same markup” to work.

We designed the Platform Preview to be installed, side by side with IE8. The Platform Preview is not a replacement for your daily browser; for example, the Preview does not have an address bar, a back button, anti-phishing or malware protection. The Platform Preview does include debugging and diagnostics tools for developers. It also includes a way to provide feedback. The top level menus include Report Issue. You can find more information on how to use the Platform Preview in the User Guide.

This is the first Platform Preview. We will update it approximately every 8 weeks on the road to Beta. Each update will provide a more complete look at the IE9 platform. The Platform Preview along with these updates and the reporting tools are designed to speed up the feedback loop between developers and the IE platform.

What Developers Can Do

We ask that developers download and test drive the IE9 Platform Preview. We welcome feedback on how the Platform Preview works with your HTML, CSS, script, and other markup. We’ve provided a User Guide to help you make the most of the Platform Preview, as well as a Developer Guide with information about developing for the IE9 platform. The Preview’s start page is a Test Drive site with a set of samples that demonstrate some of what’s new in the platform. We want you to try the samples, look at the changes to the platform, and experience the new capabilities for yourself.

Some developers may already have sites that use the new capabilities. Other developers may write sample code to test out the functionality. In either case, we’d like to hear about your experience with the new features. Where possible, we’ve documented any known issues along with available workarounds in the Release Notes. In another blog post coming later today, we’ll talk about how you can best provide feedback.

We’re excited to be able to engage with our community in this way with the IE9 Platform Preview. We’re looking forward to seeing what developers build on top of the new platform, and to hear back from you about your experiences. Please check back on this blog and on the Test Drive site for information and updates in the coming weeks and months.

Justin Saint Clair
Program Manager

Comments (37)

  1. Jason Livesay says:

    Here’s what you need to do.  Take the Canvas code from an existing engine and put it in this software.

    The reason you do not support it, everyone is assuming, is because it conflicts with Silverlight.

    Well, as far as I am concerned, this proves once again that Microsoft is an obsolete, illegal fascist scurge that no longer has societal or technological relevance.

    Anyone on the IE development team that wants to try to salvage some of their reputation should take the code from an existing Canvas engine and get that into IE.  That’s the only thing any of you need to work on.

    When the executive scumbags come down on you for threatening their Windows monopoly after you block their deceptive and obstructionist tactics with actual progress, you can be fired proudly.

  2. Ardentra says:

    Wow!  Thank you IE team.  This is fantastic and you should all get raises!  REALLY like what I see here.  Don’t forget to add in a spell checker to IE9 please.

    Can’t wait to see the final product.

  3. Jason says:

    It doesn’t install on Server 2008. It would be nice if it did. Sounds promising.

    Will tabs not take a long time to open a new one with IE9?

  4. Thanx guys, but no XP support for linked installer means some of us still need to wait, before seeing it in action.

  5. Arieta says:

    Jason: tabs open instantly in IE8 already. If that’s not the case for you, disable the Java SSV helper browser plugin, it causes 99.9% of the slow tab problems.

  6. I was a bit confused at first however being able to open up pages via the file menu I was able to manually verify it was indeed a build of IE9. I’m happy to see border-radius, opacity, and RGBA though I really hope to see a few more CSS3 related things primarily multi-column layout support (try reading the my or the IE blog at 1920×1200). The GPU acceleration is AWESOME! I’m very impressed with the performance overall and hopefully you guys can get my benchmark to work successfully.

    In regards to XHTML I tested some broken XHTML pages and IE9 still rendered the pages regardless of the XML errors; I presume this is a known issue that you folks are working on? It’ll be really nice to have both XHTML1 and XHTML5 supported in addition to HTML5 in IE9.

    I’m looking forward to future builds. Also in regards to the GUI remember that the file menu stays on TOP, nothing belongs on the tab bar except for tabs; and please let us actually customize the GUI this time. My computer should be *MY* computer, not something set in stone. *cough* Mac *cough*

  7. Meph says:

    For the sake of convenience, it would be great if you could add a URL toolbar to it. But other that, it’s really great!

  8. someone says:

    please please please XP support!!!

    i want to use it there till i get a new PC…

    so many cool stuff and then you tell me i can’t run it? it’s not fair…

  9. Ryan says:

    SVG! CSS3! HTML5! Is this really Internet Explorer? Wow. Thanks guys.

  10. expee says:

    How can I be part of the technical beta? I have tons of feedback on existing bugs. Also, you are kidding right? There’s no way you are not supporting XP with this.

  11. kendo says:

    I’m really glad you’ve decided to implement SVG in IE9.

    I already have a site that I want to test in IE9 which uses SVG and HTML (which I think is what you want me to do); the only problem is the

    DOMContentLoaded and dataavailable events aren’t working so I can’t test, will events like this be "hooked up" in the next preview?

  12. FromTheDarkSide says:

    Thanks a lot for this, it is good to see you catching up quickly with the state of the art. I wish you luck and success.

    Will you support WebGL?

    It would be good for cross-platform developers like me if you’d follow Apple’s, Google’s, Opera’s and Mozilla’s lead and released IE9 for the broadest possible set of operating systems. Windows XP, of course, but also Mac OSX and maybe even Linux (or at least make it work in the Wine emulator) so that we can test that our web pages work well on your browser like we can do for the rest.

    Thank you for every step you make toward interoperability, compatibility, and the adoption of established W3C standards. By doing so you guys are making everybody’s life better. Kudos to you!

  13. Searcher says:

    I want to check the platform preview.

    but I can’t install this in my computer :S

    I’m using Windows XP SP3

    any solution ?

  14. rubensr says:

    The effort is appreciated and it is good to see that MS is working on improving IE, but implementing SVG support in detriment of a canvas implementation is very disappointing.

  15. John Sausage says:

    « Thanks for checking out this site. The purpose of these demos is to convey a concept and not intended to be used as a best practice for web development. Enjoy! »

    You mean it’s not best practise to include code that checks for Netscape 6 in the user agent? 😉

  16. XPfanboy says:

    Please support XP as Windows Vista+Windows 7 combined make only 24% of total Windows customer base. Does Microsoft want to alienate its users? XP can get IE9 without the HW acceleration but with other rendering improvements.

  17. mastro says:

    As a web developer I’m very excited to hear about the huge improvements in JS speed and CSS3 and SVG support, but what video codec(s) will IE9 support?

    I’m currently using Ogg/Theora on my sites (with a Java applet as fallback, but that’s sloooow) since everyone supports it (except Safari), and I would *hate* to have to encode every video with a different codec only for IE.

    So please, if you don’t do it already, support decoding Theora video and Vorbis audio.

  18. sy says:

    This is nothing short of amazing. Full CSS3, DOM Events, SVG, high-performance Javascript & hardware-accelerated graphics. Reads like Safari release notes. But it’s not. This time it’s Internet Explorer.

    This is a real turning point. The great schism has ended, and the new-era web development may finally start in full force. This is huge news.

    People are obsessed with XP/IE6, but the thing is, it won’t last indefinitely. What’s important is that the future is now guaranteed to be bright. IE9 might have been just as outdated and incompatible as previous versions, but it’s not. It’s great. Microsoft could have easily held us back for another 10 years, simply to protect Silverlight, but they chose otherwise. They actually went ahead and made IE a modern and compatible browser and saved us all 10 years.

    The fact that IE9 is last to the game doesn’t matter. What matters is the critical mass, and now we’ve got it. Now we can finally build great stuff that works everywhere. Thanks to all people at Microsoft who made this possible.

  19. tuxplorer says:

    Dear IE team, XP was the latest OS till Jan 2007 and then your product called Vista was largely shunned and only managed to reach 15% marketshare. Windows 7 became available in October last year and considering the extremely vast marketshare of XP (you say you sold 90 million copies yet market share data from multiple data sources shows it at 9%.) So XP machines connecting to the internet (65%) are 650 million? Can’t Microsoft simply support GDI rendering on XP but give them the rendering side improvements?

  20. Rei says:

    Please DO NOT support XP

    IE9 will become rubbish by supporting XP.

  21. sy says:


    Actually, SVG is much more in line with HTML ‘document’ spirit than <canvas>. Consider authoring tools, printing, interactive graphics (event handlers), accessibility etc. All these are better served by SVG, not <canvas>. <canvas> is more low-level/high-performance, like WebGL, and we’ll probably get both in IE10 (the latter as a 3d context). So no hard feelings. But the primary need now is 1) declarative vector graphics and 2) interactive graphics integrated with Javascript event handlers. Glad Microsoft gets it.

  22. michael says:

    @Arieta – IE8 tabs are very slow for most users.  We have all disabled MS Research, the Java SSV helper thing, Spybot S&D restricted sites, and all other un-necesary IE addons however IE is still incredibly slow at opening new tabs due to the bad initialization architecture.

    This has been discussed over and over on this blog hundreds of times. 1,000s of users can confirm that IE8 is slow at opening new tabs as they see it every single day.

    What came out of every single discussion was the same conclusion – it doesn’t matter what addons a user has installed – if IE can’t handle them then that is IE’s problem – don’t blame the users addons.

    Finally, if MSFT is going to continue blaming addons for incredibly poor new tab load times they need to come forth and list the top 10 most offending plugins so that users actually have the ability to fix IE.

    I’m tired of hearing that it is the addons fault.  If it really is, then step up and help users find them and disable them or at least identify them so that the developers can fix their code if they want to remain competitive and desired.

    Sick and Tired of MSFT blaming addons,


  23. Greisha says:

    In the next preview release, please provide an address bar. No Stop/Refresh buttons, URL history suggestions (save for dumb autocomplete) or anything fancy is needed, just a simple text box would suffice. CTRL+O to go to a new page or even read back the current URL is plain painful.

    Just moving the text box from CTRL+O dialog to the top of the window will be enough.

  24. Jay says:

    So Microsoft really thinks 600 million XP users are all going to upgrade to Windows 7? Not even 300 million will upgrade and IE’s loss will be other browsers’ gain. Good luck with the great IE suicide.

  25. AlfonsoML says:

    The only new feature for the next Preview release should be support for XP.

    We can’t be happy about IE9 (and it deserves, the list of changes is incredible) if the people can’t use it, and people uses XP.

  26. Tim Snadden says:

    @FromTheDarkSide "it is good to see you catching up quickly with the state of the art".

    I am surprised that this is described as ‘quickly’. We should get together some time and watch continental drift!

    Seriously, I am glad to see some of these features. It will make the case for progressive enhancement a bit of an easier sell.

    I dream of the day when I can look at the latest whizzy new design and think ‘easily doable with clean, flexible CSS’ without the caveat ‘but IE exists so I’ll have to totally dumb it down and do it the hard way with hacks, extraneous markup, javascript tricks, complicated background images etc.’

  27. Mitch 74 says:

    A few precisions:

    – if you’re using Windows 7, installing it is a breeze.

    – if you’re using Windows Vista, get ready to pull hair.

    First thing first: I installed in a virtual machine (VirtualBox 3.1), with a 32-bit Vista DVD I had around. You can try Starter, it’s supposedly a bit lighter.

    First snag: Service Pack 2 is required. So, get ready to install SP1 then SP2, since they are not cumulative. Rather longuish – if you have a 7 DVD around, that alone would convince you to forgo Vista.

    Second snag: you need IE 8 installed. OK, not a big deal, it’s listed as a security update anyway.

    Third snag: you need to update the Windows Graphics Foundation (or something like that), because of Direct2D. But this download requires WGA, thus Validating your Vista version, so if you expected to run your Preview on a trial version of Windows Vista, you’re out of luck.

    These precisions would have been nice to have.

  28. Parchman says:

    Please make it so that the user can customize the menu and tool bars any way we want.

    Adding a spell checker would be great!  

    Being able to adjust the resolution independently from the general settings could be useful; I know I would use it.

    Always have the IE window open full screen, easer to reduce than resize it, close it and open it up again to the preferred size.  

    I have several more ideas that I will post later.  


  29. Walter Knopf says:

    I LOVE the SVG support, it would be nice to have some links to catch up on SVG2. It’s an ideal format for converting technical drawings from a native file format to render them to the web page in vector format. Not all web content is advertising 😉

  30. Kent Nixon says:

    Just wanted to say that this thing BLAZES! I’m very happy with it so far, and I also think that keeping this as a Vista/Windows 7 exclusive is a good idea.

    I really wish there was a registry mod or something to change the homepage, though. Besides the lack of a back button, this thing might as well be my new browser of choice.

  31. ieblog says:

    @Kent: You can edit the shortcut to provide a full URL (http://www.example.com/) as a command line parameter. The preview build will then open to the URL you supply.

  32. Good to hear that Microsoft is investing heavily in IE9 and open to feedback. Please include color management support so that serious photographers don’t have to use Firefox!

  33. Frank Olivier [MS] says:

    @Harald Mühlhoff

    IE9 does indeed support color management – go to http://www.color.org/version4html.xalter with the dev preview.

  34. Mark says:

    HI Guys,

    Great start, would be great if you could add a URL toolbar to it.

    Interesting to see the reaction and modelling with phpbb.

    Hardware acceleration is great and very smooth.

    Hopefully the final build will have the same speed.

    watching with interest

  35. alpha123 says:

    Good work, but for the next preview, and Address Bar would be *really* nice. After a bit of testing, Opera is still owning you guys in terms of pretty much everything, but the progess from IE8 is HUGE.

    BTW, it freezes at 6% of Google’s sputnik javascript test on my computer (which has very good hardware).

  36. Impressed says:

    Great work guys! It seems pretty awesome so far. How about support for canvas and Ogg Theora though?

    Oh and please guys release this to the public before 2011!

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