HTML5, Hardware Accelerated: First IE9 Platform Preview Available for Developers

When we started looking deeply at HTML5, we saw that it will enable a new class of applications. These applications will stress the browser runtime and underlying hardware in ways today’s websites don’t. We quickly realized that doing HTML5 right – our intent from the start – is more about designing our browser’s subsystems around what these new applications will need than it is about a particular set of features. From the beginning, we approached IE9 with the goal of enabling professional-grade, modern HTML5 support on top of modern hardware through Windows.

At the MIX conference today, we demonstrated how the standard web patterns that developers already know and use broadly run better by taking advantage of PC hardware through IE9 on Windows. This blog post provides an overview of what we showed today, across performance, standards, hardware-accelerated HTML5 graphics, and the availability of the IE9 Platform Preview for developers.

First, we showed IE9’s new script engine, internally known as “Chakra,” and the progress we’ve made on an industry benchmark for JavaScript performance. With the differences between script engines on benchmarks approaching the duration of an eye-blink, we described our approach for making real-world sites faster. Chakra compiles JavaScript in the background on a separate core of the CPU, parallel to IE.

We showed our progress in making the same standards-based HTML, script, and formatting markup work across different browsers. We shared the data and framework that informed our approach, and demonstrated better support for several standards: HTML5, DOM, and CSS3. We showed IE9’s latest Acid3 score (55); as we make progress on the industry goal of having the same markup that developers actually use working across browsers, our Acid3 score will continue to go up. As part of our commitment to the standards process, we submitted test cases to the standards bodies. We also made these tests available for everyone to try in any browser.

In several demonstrations, we showed the significant performance gains that graphically rich, interactive web pages enjoy when a browser takes full advantage of the PC’s hardware capabilities through the operating system. The same HTML, script, and CSS markup work across several different browsers; the pages just run significantly faster in IE9 because of hardware-accelerated graphics. IE9 is also the first browser to provide hardware-accelerated SVG support.

Finally, we announced the availability of the first IE Platform Preview for developers, and our commitment to update it approximately every eight weeks. We want the developer community to have an earlier hands-on experience with the progress we’re making on the IE platform. The Platform Preview, and the feedback loop it is part of, marks a major change from previous IE releases.

image of the Platform Preview on it's home page, the IE9 test drive site.


IE9 has a new JavaScript engine, “Chakra.” Here’s a chart of IE9’s performance on a particular industry benchmark for JavaScript performance, the Webkit Sunspider test:

Bar graph of Webkit SunSpider Javascript Benchmark results

You’ll notice that IE9 is faster at this benchmark than IE8 and several other browsers. It’s interesting to note that the difference between today’s IE9 preview and the browsers to its right in this graph. It takes about 70 seconds to identify a 300ms difference between browsers.

As we continue to make IE9’s script engine faster for real world sites, IE will continue to become faster at this particular benchmark as well. To date we’ve done very little specific tuning for Webkit Sunspider. As with most benchmarks, depending on your machine, the differences may vary.

The performance you experience browsing actual websites often has less to do with JavaScript than with other subsystems in the browser. For example, some sites spend more of their time in laying out the page or rendering it than running script. The first chart in this blog post from the Professional Developers Conference illustrates this with data. Today’s PCs have specialized hardware to accelerate graphics performance. IE9 uses that widely available hardware to speed up all text and graphics rendering on webpages and make webpages faster.

To improve JavaScript performance even more, Chakra does something quite different from other script engines today. It has a separate background thread for compiling JavaScript. Windows runs that thread in parallel on a separate core when one is available. Compiling in the background enables users to keep interacting with webpages while IE generates even faster code.  By running separately in the background, this process can take advantage of today’s multi-core machines – so, users with a Core2Duo or QuadCore or i7 or Phenom II can apply that power to making webpages faster without any additional effort.

Developers get the performance benefits of modern PC hardware without having to change anything on their sites. Users simply wait less and interact more, like a native program. This design enables better performance for the web development patterns that occur on many real world sites. The key here is bringing the best technology available to most important language you use, JavaScript.


The goal of standards and interoperability is that the same HTML, script, and formatting markup work the same across different browsers. Eliminating the need for different code paths for different browsers benefits everyone, and creates more opportunity for developers to innovate.

Many standards are still emerging. They are in committee in draft form, or partially implemented, often in different ways, across different browsers.  Developers face a hard challenge here: they need to work harder than they should, to write more and different HTML, script, and markup, just to get similar but not always the same results across different browsers.

We want the same markup to just work across different browsers. In IE9, we’re doing for the rest of the platform what we did for CSS 2.1 in IE8. IE8 delivered a high-quality CSS 2.1 implementation, sticking to the standard, and looking to other implementations in places where the standard is ambiguous. Developers should expect more from across the industry on this front in order to make HTML5 applications easier for developers to write.

Our approach here starts with data. The DOM and JavaScript APIs that developers actually use on the web set the baseline for which standards to support in IE9. To get this data, we built a tool that examined the web API usage of 7000 top sites. Here’s a graph of the distribution – how many sites used each of the APIs. This is data we will blog about in great detail separately.

Line graph of API usage over the Top ~7000 sites, the graph shows that the usage of api's decays exponentially as you move away from the top most used apis.  the top most used api is used on approx 7000 sites, the 51st most used api is used on approx 3000 sites, the 101st most used api is used on about 1250 sites, the 151st most used api is used on about 500 sites, the 201st most used api is used on about 200 sities, the 251st most used api is used on abot 100 sites, the 301-701 most popular apis are used on less than 100 sites approaching 0 sites.

We set out to do every standard that showed up in the data. In IE9 you’ll also see support for several standards that don’t appear in the data – in order to complete scenarios that HTML5 applications will need.

The main technologies to call out here broadly are HTML5, CSS3, DOM, and SVG. The IE9 test drive site has more specifics and samples. At this time, we’re looking for developer feedback on our implementation of HTML5’s parsing rules, Selection APIs, XHTML support, and inline SVG. Within CSS3, we’re looking for developer feedback on IE9’s support for Selectors, Namespaces, Colors, Values, Backgrounds and Borders, and Fonts. Within DOM, we’re looking for developer feedback on IE9’s support for Core, Events, Style, and Range.

Some people use Acid3 as a shorthand for standards. Acid3 tests about 100 details of a dozen different technologies. Some are still in “under construction.” Some of the patterns, like SMIL animations, are inconsistent with other parts of HTML5, like CSS3 animations, and need to be reconciled. Here’s a screenshot of how today’s IE9 Platform Preview runs today’s Acid3 test:

IE9 Platform Preview build showing  the Acid 3 test page with a score of 55/100

As IE makes more progress on the industry goal of “same markup” for standards and parts of standards that developers actually use, the Acid3 score will continue to go up as a result. A key part of our approach to web standards is the development of an industry standard test suite. Today, Microsoft has submitted over 100 additional tests of HTML5, CSS3, DOM, and SVG to the W3C. You can try out some of the tests we’ve submitted to the W3C here.

Microsoft works with the standards organization as part of the standards process to create comprehensive tests. We submit our tests to the appropriate group, and work together with other browser vendors as part of that group to establish a fair, accurate, and comprehensive test suite. Today, there are still too many scenarios in which developers need to use different HTML, script and formatting markup and get different results. A comprehensive test suite from the standards body helps developers and the industry.

GPU-powered HTML5

HTML5 applications will need great script performance and consistent “same markup, same results” across browsers. Great HTML5 applications will build on that foundation and go further, providing game-like interactivity and movie-like graphical richness to the user experience. 

Today’s standards-markup web pages and today’s browsers are limited in this regard because they can use only a fraction of what PC hardware and the operating system can do. HTML5 applications will demand more.

In anticipation of these applications, IE9 uses Windows’ modern graphics APIs and the PC’s hardware to accelerate all the graphics and text that the browser draws on the screen. A basic example involves a small, simple web page that animates images, having them follow the mouse pointer:

IE9 Platform Preview buid runnig a webpage of spinning browser logos.  There are 16 images on the page and IE is drawing them with 64 frames per second.

Notice that running the same HTML, script, and markup, IE9 provides more responsiveness and more frames per second. Many of today’s websites spend much of their time drawing objects to the screen, as described above in the performance section.

IE9 is the first browser to provide fully hardware-accelerated SVG support. The IE9 developer tools support SVG as well, and we are excited to see what developers build on top of modern hardware with a platform that has great performance and internal consistency. We will discuss SVG in depth in a future blog post.

IE Preview

Today we also announced the availability of the first IE9 Platform Preview for developers, and our commitment to update it approximately every eight weeks. The Platform Preview, and the feedback loop it is part of, marks a major change from previous IE releases.

With these Platform Preview builds, developers have earlier access to the progress we’re making on the IE platform. They have a better forum to share and discuss feedback, available directly from the Platform Preview. Combined with our engagement with standards bodies and the development of industry standard test suites, this open community discussion and earlier and more frequent builds reflect our commitment to the web.

As an example of additional standards support to come in an update to the Platform Preview, we showed HTML5 video support at the MIX conference, as well as how HTML5 video (specifically industry standard HD-encoded, H.264 720p) has much better performance when it uses the operating system to take advantage of PC hardware for video decoding. 

If you’re a developer or technical enthusiast, please download the Platform Preview.  It’s the first preview of how standard web patterns that developers know and use broadly can run better by taking advantage of PC hardware on Windows.

Last week, Channel 9 interviewed several of the engineers on the team. You can find videos of the interviews here:

Introducing the IE9 Platform Preview
GPU powered HTML5
IE9 performance: from JavaScript to COM to DOM to HTML5
SVG past, present, future of vector graphics on the web

Dean Hachamovitch
General Manager, Internet Explorer

P.S. The IE9 keynote from MIX is now availble on demand. 

Update 3/18/10 - Added a link to Dean's keynote and added Phenom II to the list of processors which will improve website performance.

Comments (178)
  1. Anonymous says:

    "Tuesday, March 16, 2010 9:30 AM by mahmoud

    very very nice , go on IE team good job"

    This guy types this as Bill Gates pulls his knob out of him and wipes it off on this dude’s face.

  2. Anonymous says:

    The kitty is fattened by breaking standards not supporting them. Bill Gates would be rolling over in his grave, if the dude were dead. There is a 15 year history there of breaking standards, and producing lousy stuff. Its too little too late to win back those that know better.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Not a bad effort but it would be quicker to adopt Webkit, IE team should seriously consider Webkit as it has a better code base.

    Wow, 50 years later IE developers actually woke up and realize how inferior their technology is.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Thanks MS for dropping support for XP. XP is a pathetic OS in 2010. I ditched XP as soon as Vista  came out and now I’m using Windows 7. I haven’t missed XP for one moment. The luddites who are still on XP can use IE8 until they upgrade to Windows 7.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Why should XP users suffer and not get a modern browser because MS sat on their asses for 5 years? XP gets only IE6,7 and 8? Vista gets 7,8,9 and possibly 10? Windows 7 gets IE8,9,10,11? HUGE FAIL Microsoft. You don’t really care about developers and users. You care about driving Windows 7 sales.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Hey, cool!

    You censored the comment where I pointed out that Microsoft was promoting h264, and thereby forcing smaller competitors out of the market.

    Truth hurts, doesn’t it?

    I’ll say it again: Microsoft is once again promoting an alternative which forces competition out of the market. This time Microsoft know it can’t win against Google, but it will definitely not let anyone else gain a foothold.

    So the easy thing to do is to use the h264 cabal to prevent smaller companies from competing fairly.

    Microsoft as it has always been!

  7. Anonymous says:

    Hey, cool..

    You censored the comment where I pointed out that Microsoft was promoting h264, and thereby forcing smaller competitors out of the market.

    Truth hurts, doesn’t it?

    I’ll say it again: Microsoft is once again promoting an alternative which forces competition out of the market. This time Microsoft know it can’t win against Google, but it will definitely not let anyone else gain a foothold.

    So the easy thing to do is to use the h264 cabal to prevent smaller companies from competing fairly.

    Microsoft as it has always been!

  8. Anonymous says:

    @ted: if you’re on XP, you’re not really a developer.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Dear Microsoft,

    Congratulations on your new browser, which is finally something the web community can be happy with.  But…

    XP SP3 support is necessary, as 60%+ of the browsing platforms on the Internet use XP.  Without it, in a couple of years time, developers will be complaining about IE8 in the same way as they do now about IE6.

    Come on, lets sweep the slate clean, and establish a new level of standards support that websites can expect from browsers.  To do that IE9 needs to be supported on XP SP3.  It may not be possible to provide the hardware acceleration to XP SP3, but it must be possible to provide the enhanced standards support.

    Please, please, pretty please.  Don’t have me tearing my hair out, yet again.  I know you care, you’re trying your best to show it, but please, just this one thing, and I can forgive you almost anything.


  10. Anonymous says:

    Sorry about the double posting.  One more time and I can claim a draw by repetition! 😉

  11. Anonymous says:

    Why implement Html5? Html is not an applications platform, please try your hardest to kill it. I’d rather use a real SDK like Silverlight.

  12. Anonymous says:

    What a crock! I never once violated the so-called policy, but that didn’t stop Microsoft from deleting what hurts to read.

  13. Anonymous says:

    @EricLaw: "E.g. RFC2397, used throughout ACID2 and 3, never even reached the working draft stage, as far as I know."

    Data URIs are an IETF standard (published in *August 1998*), not a W3C standard. It makes no sense to talk about them in terms of the W3C’s standards track. Furthermore, it’s clearly referenced in section 13.3.1 of the HTML 4.01 spec (a W3C Recommendation for over a decade); it’s been listed in STD 1 in Proposed Standard state since September 1998.

    This seems like a pretty weak objection. Shouldn’t you know all this?

  14. Anonymous says:

    I don’t use IE and never will use it anymore.

  15. Anonymous says:

    IE9 has a new javascript engine….that’s a wonderful news for developers….go ahead..guys…

  16. Open Web says:

    MS still sabotaging open web standards by pushing outdated, obsolete browsers that can’t even render Acid2 correctly.

  17. mahmoud says:

    very very nice , go on IE team

    good job

  18. xxdesmus says:

    Excellent start. I look forward to to using IE9. Will there be a simple way of updating to the newest preview builds? Through Windows Update perhaps?

  19. Matthew David says:

    Is there support for CANVAS? I do not see it? Also, where is support for FORMS 2.0 and new elements such as Article, Footer, Aside, Header?

  20. Will you guys support plugging in newer codecs into the HTML 5 video and audio tag engine? Or are we stuck with H264 and mp3?

    I’d at least like Vorbis support for <audio> and hopefully the future produces a codec that all vendors can use for <video>.

    I hope that the matroska container will be used for HTML 5 in the future, since it can support multiple streams, subtitles, and DVD-style menus…

  21. Gavin Williams says:

    LOL! That’s all I’m going to say, looks like MS are taking yet another stab in the dark with this one! Roll on IE6.9 ROFL!

  22. infinte says:


    (tested and it’s absent!)

  23. soumyasch says:

    The DirectWrite artifact of terrible rendering of light fonts on dark background is haunting IE9 too.

  24. Frank Olivier [MS] says:

    @soumyasch thanks for the report – we’ll take a look

  25. Greisha says:

    With GPU accelerated rendering, I would have expected the scrolling to be absolutely smooth, but alas, it sucks.

  26. techie says:

    Very awesome.Under promise, over deliver. Love the GPU support, HTML5 Video, DOM, CSS3, SVG, and performance improvements. Can’t wait till we get to see full UI for it.

  27. Frank Olivier [MS] says:

    @Greisha What GPU are you using? Please see the release notes for a fix, and send us a bug report. Thanks!

  28. — html5lib parser tests in a browser. There’s some HTML5 parser feedback. 😛

  29. hAl says:

    The flying images demo is an interesting benchmark test to put against other browser.

  30. dtrim says:

    I really feared there will be a WMV-based HTML5 video support, so at least that’s a relief.

  31. Raffi12 says:

    <video> performance is much better than Chrome, especially in HD.

  32. ondrej says:

    IE9… LOOLL

    acidtest – 55% = 0%

    IE9 – IE6

    very bad css3 support..

    halooooo, it is 2010!!

  33. Serge says:

    Guys! That’s cool BUT WE NEED IT FOR WINDOWS XP you know?

  34. mahmoud says:

    yes , scrolling has improved , but not as was expected

  35. Hans Schmucker says:

    It’s really just a minor point, but you may want to correct it as people might interpret this oversight as a lie:

    Mozilla has released Beta versions of Firefox for some quite time that accelerate SVG drawing, so labeling IE9 (preview) as the first browser to do it is false.

  36. Raffi12 says:


    They said first to be FULLY hardware accelerated,  SVG in Firefox still relies on lots of software calculations.

  37. hAl says:


    ACID3 is not a test of standards.

    A browser supporting 99% of all webstandards could still score zero on ACID3 tests.

    You should try working trough the W3C standards test suite to have some idea of standards support.

    In the keynote there were browser comparisons on standards support including some for for SVG and IE9 looked a lot better on that.

  38. Chris says:

    It’s a shame this isn’t available for Windows XP, as it means I can’t be a part of any testing, but I guess that is not a surprise.

  39. Kevin Newman says:

    You have IE5, IE7 and IE8 legacy modes. Where is the IE6 mode? It is seriously the only one that matters.

  40. jim says:

    I love it, great work, stay on that track!

    But please, please, PLEASE let the CTRL+L shortcut jump the cursor inside the adressbar, insteadof opening this stupid dialog 🙂

  41. Steve Lee says:

    I’m gobsmacked! SVG in IE. Really? Wh00t!

    One thought – can we have svg support in img tags as a standard? Good for accessibility users who use symbols.

  42. Your RSS feed ( has not been updated with this post!

  43. Hans Schmucker says:


    You can’t implement something entirely in hardware that the hardware doesn’t support. So without dedicated hardware SVG on desktop systems, you always rely on software in part.

  44. Raffi12 says:

    @ Hans

    GPUs are very programmable these days, they’re able to draw sub-pixel fonts entirely using pixel shaders for example.  There is no reason why you can’t draw simple vector geometry entirely on the GPU, its almost a perfect fit for it.

  45. Hans Schmucker says:

    @Raffi12 current Firefox beta does hardware accelerated font rendering for example. The point is simply that "fully accelerated" is really quite impossible, you always rely on software. So using it as a differentiator between Firefox hardware accelerated SVG rendering and IE9 hardware accelerated SVG seems pointless.

  46. Looks pretty snappy. I’ve recently switched from IE to Chrome as my main browser because IE8 is so slow (and Firefox sucks). If this keeps up, maybe I’ll switch back!

    Please don’t add too much bloat when you put the address bar in. It was quite nice using a minimal browser – it’s like Chrome 🙂

  47. dlh2009 says:

    Awesome! I can’t wait to see where IE9 stands when it is officially released.

    That would be cool if we can some kick dirt at the Chrome, Safari, and Firefox users.

  48. toth3max says:

    Small tears of joy here. Great work IE9 team! Now please share your code with the Win Phone 7 team, I heard that they are patching a 4 year old browser. XP users can download Firefox, Chrome or whatever. Win Phone 7 users will be stuck with their browser, please don’t let it be based on IE7!

  49. Halo says:

    I am delighted to see that this platform preview is released in a self-contained manner that doesn’t replace Internet Explorer 8.0.  However, I must ask how self-contained this preview really is?  The MSI does initiate a UAC prompt and I am very concerned about it damaging my Windows 7 install.  I would prefer to run this outside of a VM so that I can get the full effect of the hardware acceleration.

    While I’m sure that Microsoft offers no support on this preview I would like some kind of assurance that this preview can be installed and uninstalled without ill effects.

  50. Dao Gottwald says:

    Congrats! Obviously canvas and open video are missing, but it’s a great start.

  51. peter says:

    Hi in Falling Balls, after clicked "Drop the Balls" and the balls start to drop, the print preview shows a smaller blue ie background, instead of an ie similar size to the square border

  52. Kevin Newman says:

    Please update EOT font embedding to include support for CFF/PostScript glyphs – the base operating system supports it, all we need is support for it in the EOT engine. Alternatively (or additionally), add support for WOFF files.

    If there are any plans in either area, a blog post would be nice. 🙂

  53. eXPerience says:

    Please tell whether the final version will run on Windows XP SP3 or not. If not please be clear about it. Really enough is enough of keeping users in the lurch about Windows XP support.

  54. Brad Laue says:

    Really don’t care about Windows XP support. XP is dead, and everyone should be able to manage a migration by now. Windows 7 is on 50% of the workstations at my company and climbing fast. Doesn’t take a rocket scientist to drop Windows 7 into place in most of the simplistic Windows environments out there.

    You home users can go pick up a new-ish machine for $400 at a Best Buy.

  55. Cheesus says:

    Wow, I’m impressed at how well it runs under VMWare Workstation!  The Speed Demos that are compatible with IE8 are faster with IE9 under VMWare than in IE8 native mode!

    And the new Network tab on the Developer tools?!  SQUEAL!  I use this a lot in Firebug so I’m very much looking forward to this!

    (as well as any other FB functionality you can bring over like the ability explore an object via "console.log(obj)" )

  56. James says:

    The flying images test drive is mind blowing. I’ve never seen a pure website do something like that before. To bad Chrome can’t keep up. Once IE9 ships it might be time to walk away from Flash. What’s your schedule?

  57. Chris says:

    @Brad Laue:

    I don’t plan on buying a new PC for IE 9, and I doubt I’m the only one, as XP is a fine OS!

  58. al3 says:


    Are you sure it isn’t a WMV solution? I didn’t read what container they want to use. They could be using WMVs containing H.264

  59. Color Me Surprised says:

    Nice work guys. This thing is so fast I can’t believe it’s trident under the covers. It’s faster than Chrome and FireFox on the AJAX sites I tested. It even scored the highest on my script tests. You’re moving in the right direction.

  60. Will Peavy says:

    @IE Developers – congratulations on Chakra and JavaScript performance. The improvement from IE8 to IE9 is HUGE. I get a good feeling that IE9 is going to be fun to write apps for.

  61. Frank Olivier [MS] says:

    @al3 Not WMV. IE9 supports MP4 h.264 video, MP3 or AAC audio – just like Safari, Chrome.

  62. Kroc Camen says:

    I can’t file bugs because you require an MSN account and ask me to give you my address, phone number and a ton of personal details that have nothing to do with me trying to tell you what’s wrong; so I will comment here instead. just displays a blank page. It’s an HTML5 site that heavily uses CSS3 (there’s no ids, no classes and no DIVs or SPANs). It would be a good test case for your engine. does not use HTML5 video, it falls back to Flash. Is Video not a part of this preview yet?

    I do look forward to a competitive IE that plays by the rules. I understand that it’s extremely early yet, but it’s a shame that the preview is not working for me.

  63. @Frank Olivier [MS]:

    Chrome supports way more than MP4 H264/{MP3,AAC}. It also supports Ogg Theora and Vorbis.

    Safari itself comes out of the box support for MP4 H264/{MP3,AAC} but since it uses QuickTime, Ogg Theora and Vorbis support can be manually added.

    What about IE9? Will it support plugging in other codecs and containers?

  64. Serkan Unsal says:

    Does this version supports geolocation ?

  65. Lars Gunther says:

    The Good that makes me delighted:

    – SVG with some nice twists

    – JavaScript JIT with some nice twists

    – DOM 2 events (finally!)

    – CSS 3 selectors (finally!)

    – CSS 3 colors, fonts, borders, etc

    – XHTML (= the real deal as application/xhtml+xml?)

    – HTML 5 parsing (not sexy but really important)

    The bad – that perhaps will come(?):

    – Canvas?

    – WOFF?

    – Web workers?

    – Standards compliant X-domain XmlHttpRequest?

    – ECMAScript 5th Edition (That MS championed!)

    The ugly that makes me disgusted:

    – H.264 – all Microsoft ever does is spreading FUD about ogg/theora when it comes up.

    The hilarious:

    – Windows Phone will have "something in between IE 7 and 8". It is not like that sends shivers of fear to Mozilla, Opera, Google, Nokia or Apple.

    – No XP version, even though XP was the dominant OS on netbooks as late as last year.

  66. boen_robot says:

    I was expecting SVG, and even addEventListener()… I mean, come on, they’ve been W3C standards for too long, and with X-UA-Compatible, there are no more excuses for not implementing them.

    However, this wasn’t emphasized enough (and I wonder why), but I noticed something I only hoped for – XHTML as application/xhtml+xml is supported!!! Yay!!!

  67. EricLaw [MSFT] says:

    @Kroc Camen: Your homepage has no BODY tag, so as you’ll see in the developer tools, all of your tags are in the HEAD of your document. If you add a BODY tag above your content, the page renders properly.

  68. Jack says:

    With Microsoft backing H.264 (why wouldn’t they? it’s bundled in Win7, no?), all of the big companies are behind it, and it looks set to become the de facto codec for the video tag. Any browser that doesn’t support it, can fall back on Flash 10+. From an encoding standpoint, you only have to encode 1 file, which gives better quality than Theora without having to tweak its settings. All comparisons I’ve seen where Theora comes out on top required special builds/non-standard encoder settings; something the average user won’t do.

  69. Mike says:

    So ehm, where can I dowload this for OS X?

    I kid, I kid…

    Although it would be nice :p

  70. someone says:

    I see Microsoft answering some questions but very obviously & deliiberately avoiding the question on XP support. I get it that the current platform preview does not work on Windows XP. I want a definite answer on whether the final version of IE9 will run on Windows XP. It’s better to say yes or no than to keep users confused and angry.

  71. Stifu says:

    @Chris: yeah. Just like Windows 95 and 98 were fine OSes… but at some point, it’s time to move on. That’s how technology has always worked, and that’s good.

    And it’s not like all XP installs are going to explode all of a sudden, there are still plenty of good browsers that work on it. So you can still hang on to it for a while.

    Anyway, I’m certainly not an IE fanboy, but congrats for your work on IE9. And don’t mind the tireless anti-IE trolls.

  72. anonymous says:

    Dropping Windows XP support is one of the worst decisions ever taken by IE team probably even worse than disbanding the IE team back in the IE6 days. Internet Explorer will fade into obscurity and face the fate of Windows Mobile 6.5 without support for the overwhelmingly dominant OS of choice at 65%.

  73. Tom Stack says:

    They must create a build for XP. While it may be old the fact that it is somewhere in the 70-75 percent range of ALL INTERNET CONNECTED COMPUTERS is too big to ignore.

  74. Clemens Eisserer says:

    > IE9 is also the first browser to provide hardware-

    > accelerated SVG support.

    Wrong, FireFox on Linux supports this for ages now (back to FireFox-1.5, released 2003).

    Firefox uses Cairo to draw its SVG stuff, which itself is based on the XRender API, accelerated by the Xorg-DDX.

    – Clemens

  75. dan says:

    sounds excellent… just what we needed 4 years ago.

    IE has already messed up the internet, trying to catch up using trident is futile.. the various "compatibility" and "standards" modes on IE 8 taught us that.

    besides, when IE 9 is actually released (im guessing 2013?) everything in this blog post will be old news and every other browser will of moved on.

  76. Tom Stack says:

    I know it just came out, but When I go to connnect log in with my live id and go to the IE connection it states there are new bugs but I cant see any of them.

    Whats up?

  77. Chris says:


    It’s certainly true that things move on, but I’d say (and could be wrong) that the desire for people to move on from XP will be reduced than that of 95 / 98, especially as Vista was seen by many as an inferior OS to XP.

    But I also say well done to the IE team – and remember the reason many XP users will be asking for IE 9 is because it’s already shaping up to be a great browser.

  78. Kroc Camen says:

    Microsoft, don’t make XP the millstone that holds back the web, just as IE6 is now.

    XP support is mandatory.

  79. So far so good, but I do hope this is only a start point!

    With words such "accelerated, GPU, hardware, performances" I don’t get why we do not read any official info about *WebGL* in primis, canvas tag after, and I do not get at all why this version could not run under XP when a GPU with DX support is there.

    I am sure it won’t be fully accelerated in that case, but surely better than whatever IE you have released before.

    As example, my Netbook nVidia ION powered can run Counter Strike in HD 720p and about 60fps without problems, same is for WebGL engines and scenarios, and same is for any kind of software able to use DirectX or OpenGL.

    Please give us more details about what you are planning to put there, included all ES5 parts right now not present or just partially supported, thanks.

  80. browser says:

    Let’s see IE8 was announced with it passing Acid2 in Dec 2007 and ended up RTMing in March 2009. That’s 16 months!! Then IE9 is announced a year later in March 2010!! In Sept 2008, Google introduced Chrome and 18 months later, it’s at version 5.0 in beta. Do you see where the problem is? Will IE9 end up shipping in June 2011? Good luck with shipping it.

  81. Danny Gibbons says:

    Kroc Camen has a point there. Those who choose to stay with XP will be forced to stay then forever on IE8 which will become the new IE6.

  82. Brad Neuberg says:

    Congratulations! This is very exciting to hear.


     Brad Neuberg

  83. erlehmann says:

    Will Vorbis and Theora be supported as well, like in Chrome ? Or is the IE team going the Safari route, supporting only h.264 ?

  84. Stu says:

    Good work, certainly good progress in the right direction.

    If you don’t have time for the canvas tag, try and get the SVG support really solid out the door.

  85. Stu says:

    Don’t forget clipping and gradients for SVG !

    (As noticed by on of the good berghers of reddit)

  86. Brian LePore says:

    For those clamoring for an IE9 release for XP, why should Microsoft release new software for whose lifecycle expires on July 13th ( )? Note that this is also the end of IE6 and IE7 support.

  87. marek says:

    Well, I’m more than pleased to you supporting SVG, pushing acceleration, DOM events etc.

    Please, do not slow down and keep your speed in adapting all those cool standards…

  88. Coldspice says:

    Vista Home Premium and Ultimate’s support will end in 2012 and XP’s in 2014. Windows 7 Home Premium and Ultimate support will end in 2015. So will Microsoft produce IE10 (which will defintely comes later than 2012) only for Windows 7 and no other OS?

  89. Rob Retchless says:

    I am very impressed with the performance gains from hardware acceleration.  It’s also nice to finally be able to forget about the VML mess in favour of SVG.  That said, please address your reasons for not including canvas.  Seems too important a piece of HTML5 to leave out without some political rationale.

    PRIORITY NUMBER ONE – Please implement more CSS3:  box-shadow, text-shadow, border-image, and multiple backgrounds.  IE9 will be 2015’s lowest common denominator, and I’ll be pissed if I’m still using div nesting and pixel painting to do simple shadows.

  90. great says:


    Now Microsoft can successfully force smaller companies out of the market by backing h264.

  91. MarchRover says:

    @Brian LePore, get your facrs right. XP lifecycle is ending in April 2014. XP *SP2* support (the earlier service pack version) is ending in July 2013. In fact, support for Vista Home and Ultimate editions as ColdSpice pointed out ends earlier than XP Professional and Windows 7 Home and Ultimate support ends just a year later than XP in 2015.

  92. Chris Maffey says:

    We are web developers who waste hours and hours every week trying to make our websites (which function fine on other browsers) work in IE.  This is very slow, painfull and wasteful work.

    Please Please Please stop making your own browser platforms.  Please pick a platform that works, either mozilla or webkit, then build the next version of IE on that platform.

    Thank you for listening.

  93. Ezoe says:

    Wow. Some Demo use real XHTML. Not a fake one.

    Looks promissing.

    However what about DOM level 3 core?

  94. MarchRover says:

    I meant XPSP2 support is ending in July 13 2010.

  95. Chris Lilley says:

    Great to see this preview. I downloaded it and ran it on a Win7 box with GPU. Great demos, some nice smooth fast rendering. I also ran the SVG 1.1 test suite. This is an excellent start!

    Pleased to see the VML to SVG transition guide too, nicely done.

  96. David Bruant says:

    I used to spit on IE, but I am following the IE blog for couple of months. You show a lot of progress for IE9 and it is very encouraging even if IE still seems to be far behind from the other main web browsers.

    Please continue your work toward interoperability (HTML and DOM APIs especially !). Web developers have suffered enough from the browser war and API inconsistencies.

    Your graph about API usage is interesting. Could you publish the results (and not only a summarizing graph) ?

    Main feature that everyone is waiting for for the web are <video>, <audio> and <canvas>. Please work around those. And for the interoperability (and web developers’) sake, please support OGG which is (as far as I know) the only format family that any browser can support with no patent or royalty constraint.

    The same way it was annoying to maintain different scripting branches or CSS or markup, it will be annoying to have 2 or 3 versions of the same audio/video file just to be sure to support all web browsers.

    It would be very hypocritical from your part to continue pretending supporting interoperability and at the same time, supporting only H.264 for video while everyone knows that Firefox or Opera "cannot" support them.

  97. Mitch 74 says:

    What about copying and linking to Microsoft Halo’s Ogg library to IE 9, and thus add Theora and Vorbis support?

    Your answer: no.

    Rationale: submarine patents on Ogg codecs (which are in the public domain, and have been there for quite some time, and have been scrutinized quite closely). Well then, why use them in Halo, which shipped millions of units? Not mentioning other small companies on incidental software (Blizzard, World of Warcraft). And h.264 is guaranteed submarine patent free.

    Moving on.

    What about implementing DOM 2 events?

    Your answer: no.

    Rationale: DOM 2 is only a Recommendation. Since 11/2000. Implemented by all other browsers, albeit with some variations in event orders and numbers. But then, it’s not exactly coherent with the post, so there must be another reason.

    And what about backporting IE 9’s engine to XP, even in full software rendering mode (whose development would still be required for Vista/7’s safe mode)?

    Your answer: no.

    Rationale: well, IE 9 Final will be out only by the time XP has entered Extended Support period (security updates only), so we won’t bother with it. Oh, I’d love looking at the download costs of Vista images for IE 9 testing, for those that can’t install IE 9 on their development machine. You know, professionals…

    The post contained a lot of good news. Unfortunately, it also contained a lot of bad news.


  98. tommy h. says:

    A new logo and a new GUI would be a great addition. Less clutter and a simpler UI like Chrome and I will installing it on my systems.

  99. Chris Jean says:

    There are two things that I would love for the IE devs to do:

    1) Allow us to finally run multiple versions of IE on the same Windows install. I’m really getting sick of loading multiple VMs just to be able to properly test in all the versions of IE that are still out and about. It would seem that this is not an impossible task if the IE 9 preview build can coexist with another IE.

    2) Allow the browser to update itself like all the other browsers can. Windows Update is ignored or disabled by an amazingly-large number of people. The result? 10%+ browsers are still IE 6 and 15%+ browsers are IE 7. Make the browser handle telling people when an update is ready, and they’ll pay more attention. Better yet, automatically upgrade them behind the scenes like Chrome. Want to support the enterprise users’ need for a stable, unchanging browser? Add a simple settings option and group policy to control it. If this were in IE 6, we would be done with the multiple IE version tango 5+ years ago. It would also eliminate the need to spend millions in marketing bucks to try to sell people on upgrading their browser.

    Without this, web devs, such as me, will continue to hate IE as it will prove nothing more than a testing nightmare that causes me to do nothing but gripe and complain about IE every chance I get.

  100. JustinSC [MSFT] says:

    @Tom Stack

    Any users registered on Connect should be able to see bugs.  Have you registered on Connect?  The IE Connect home page has instructions to point you in the right direction.  If this doesn’t resolve your issue, please email and we’ll see what’s up.

  101. Very, very good news for the whole web. With IE6 finally dying, and new IE9 looking so sweet – we can hope than people will update to it much faster than they went from IE7 to IE8.

    Now the bottom speed of JS will be FF3.6, and that is also great, because FF3.6 is quite a fast browser on its own.

    Hardware acceleration is the future, – Opera already uses it, FF has announced it, and now IE, as well.

    SVG + HTML Video will mean Flash is officially doomed, and its about time to sell Adobe stock options 😉


    What i wonder though, are SVG images supported as backgrounds ? Can anyone confirm or disprove it ?

  102. WSHost says:

    Will JScript be retained in IE Compatibility mode?

  103. martin says:

    The motto "same markup, same results" must apply to video/audio as well. Please include OGG Theora/Vorbis for video/audio. We want to be able to use a single video file for all browsers, many other browsers only support this format.

    Re-encoding in multiple video formats will be messy, slow and VERY disk space consuming.

  104. smist08 says:

    Problem is that Vista didn’t ship till Jan, 2007 and then was a complete failure. That means nearly all computers sold between 2001 and 2009 are running Windows XP. Most of these would probably have trouble with Windows 7, due to weird old devices. Computers last much longer now. Most people don’t upgrade their OS, just get a new one when they get a new computer. Seems to me that if IE9 has any chance it need to support XP. There are just too many out there.

  105. Stifu says:

    Windows XP is as old as IE6. Let them rest together (this is coming from someone currently posting from XP). The fact they could add so many new things in IE9 was certainly made easier by the fact they didn’t need to bother with XP. Newer APIs and libs are there to be used eventually. And not having to worry about older systems can help clean up the code, too.

    @browser: Chrome is a bad example. They increase their version number too fast for their own good. Besides, how would it be any different if the next IE version was IE15 rather than 9? It’s just a number.

  106. Kwel says:

    Why, even the Office team considers it worth supporting XP with Office 2010!! Why won’t the IE team do that? Obviously because it’s a free product whereas in case of Office 2010, there would be tons and tons of lost sales. IE9 HAS to run on Windows XP to be successful. Is Microsoft not aware of the market share figures with which XP dominates as of today?

  107. @MarchRover and @Coldspice

    > XP lifecycle is ending in April 2014.

    Where exactly do you read/see that info?

    I do not see such info at

    thank you, Gérard

  108. John Sausage says:

    It’s beautiful! *wipes little tear away*

  109. Vinod Patel says:

    So Microsoft basically wants to accelerate the continuous IE market share slide? IE has 61% market share according to Net Applications, XP market share is even greater than IE (65%), and now  you pull XP support? That would be committing suicide.

  110. No XP support? says:

    When IE9 comes out, it will not be available for XP users? Is that in the best interests of MS? When Google releases their Chrome OS sometime in 2010, and IE9 excludes XP, won’t that create more incentive to give consideration to Windows OS alternatives, or, at the least, other browser alternatives?

  111. @Mitch74

    >What about implementing DOM 2 events?

    > Your answer: no.

    Mitch, I would be extremely surprised if IE9 RTW would not support DOM 2 Events entirely. DOM 2 Events is much more powerful, more versatile than IE events model. FWIW, both bugs filed for DOM 2 Events support (can’t provide bug number or links since connect IE beta feedback has been closed!) have been reactivated shortly after the release of IE8.

    I think it may be just too early to claim that IE9 is not going to support DOM 2 Events.

    regards, Gérard

  112. Time to switch says:

    Its time to switch. Not to a newer OS but to a different browser. I am on WinXP currently but I am thinking of dumping IE8 since I am spoilt for choice.

  113. Jon says:

    Is there any chance of getting box-shadow in IE9? When combined with border-radius, it makes things so much easier.

  114. Greg Houston says:

    Minus no mention of Canvas support in IE9, this is looking fairly promising. Will you comment on your plans for Canvas support?

  115. Martin says:

    Forget the trolls crying for feature X or Y, I feel IE is definitely going in the right direction and really appreaciate you releasing previews like this.

    I only hope you choose Ogg Theora for video to avoid fragmentation among browsers. If nothing else it would at least annoy Apple with their shiny iPhones 🙂

    Keep up the good work!

  116. great job so far guys, keep up the good work!

  117. John Sausage says:

    XSL transform into real XHTML works too, wohoo!

  118. Travis Leithead [MSFT] says:

    @Gérard Talbot

    I think you can expect IE9 to support most of DOM L2 Events (sans some of the events not supported by any browser) — but we’re tracking to the latest DOM L3 Events editor’s draft. I’ll have more on this in a later post.

  119. Disappointed says:

    Imagine if the developer division decided to drop .NET or Visual Studio support for XP. Why such an important product such as IE is the first to drop XP support? Very disappointed Microsoft.

  120. @Tom Stack: Microsoft proves in the past that this is not important for they. One the other side, sometimes there is too much cost to build new IE for old systems.

  121. Alex says:

    With the quality/freeness arguments over h.264 and Theora, has anyone thought of Dirac? It’s supposed to be comparable to h.264 in quality and is patent-clear.

  122. IE is dead says:

    Why even provide Silverlight 4 for XP when it is such a dead platform? And I thought IE was a much more core essential product than Silverlight. Opera 10.10 supports Windows 98 today, and manages to get 100/100 on Acid3 and the fastest JS engine. Is hardware acceleration that important to not have an XP build that doesn’t include it instead of altogether dropping support for the popular OS?

  123. Fabio says:

    For those that keep asking about Canvas support and DOM 2 support… have you read previous posts?

    Like this one?

  124. Wow! It sounds like this was written by somebody who knows what they’re talking about. I won’t use it (being a Mac person) but as a web developer I’m thrilled! I’ll be following.

  125. Don Reba says:

    IE was one of the first big products to drop Win2k support, too.

  126. blah says:

    So Opera called their engine Carakan, and you call yours Chakra? How lame can you get?

  127. Rob says:

    Not bad for a 5-year old browser but this is 2010.

  128. Rob says:

    Oh! Beware folks. In typical Microsoft fashion, they claim "support" for things without clarification of what "support" is. In the case of SVG, it’s pitiful, it’s more than IE8, which is none, but it’s bad.

  129. AntiTroll says:

    Rob, before making baseless accusations, how about you provide some context?

    From the MIX demo, looks like it works just fine.

  130. Browse says:

    "Update: Hachamovitch said in a Q&A with press and analysts following the keynote that IE 9 will not support XP."

    So web developers, tell your users to move away from IE8 to Firefox 3.7/4.0.

  131. mogden says:

    This sounds great.  It’s exactly the direction I was hoping IE9 would go.  Let’s hope we get to THREE modern web platforms with interoperability on new standards.  That would truly be excellent.

  132. ted says:

    so if we are on XP (which is a ton of us) just what on earth are we supposed to do to install../test this?  does this run on a virtual PC image?

  133. Paul McKeown says:

    Dear Microsoft,

    Congratulations on your new browser, which is finally something the web community can be happy with.  But…

    XP SP3 support is necessary, as 60%+ of the browsing platforms on the Internet use XP.  Without it, in a couple of years time, developers will be complaining about IE8 in the same way as they do now about IE6.

    Come on, lets sweep the slate clean, and establish a new level of standards support that websites can expect from browsers.  To do that IE9 needs to be supported on XP SP3.  It may not be possible to provide the hardware acceleration to XP SP3, but it must be possible to provide the enhanced standards support.

    Please, please, pretty please.  Don’t have me tearing my hair out, yet again.  I know you care, you’re trying your best to show it, but please, just this one thing, and I can forgive you almost anything.


  134. vince says:

    @dUH – I certainly beg to differ!!! as a professional developer that has to develop content to render in multiple browsers across multiple OS’es XP is actually the BEST development platform available.

    Vista was and is a complete joke – not worth the time to install it.

    Windows 7 – "The best service pack for Windows Vista Ever!" – Jeff Attwood (and most users/developers)

    But Windows 7 only just came out – so moving up to this platform in a development environment that uses several tools that work on XP just fine isn’t likely to happen until developers have a need and spare time window to do so.

    I certainly plan to upgrade to Windows 7 – but that will be on new hardware picked up in the fall – not a second sooner.

    Thanks for telling a massive portion of the professional developer community that the OS they build on is out of date.  With no viable update option until last October – I think you need to lighten up on developers not jumping to Windows 7 until they’re ready/need to.

  135. Rob says:

    Paul McKeown,

    Web developers will NOT be happy with IE9. So called "support" for things like SVG, which is incomplete,  and lack of canvas means IE9 is already an inept browser behind the times. Why would anyone want to use IE9 when, today, you can get most everything it is supposed to do on any non-IE browser?

  136. sy says:


    H.264 is not just about quality, it’s also about power-efficient playback supported by graphics chips.

  137. Ken says:

    Here’s an AMD developer blog comment about the fact that IE9 will support canvas, and canvas will be GPU accelerated.

    Hope it’s true!

    More proof of IE9 canvas as mentioned above…

  138. somebody says:

    Where is the WebGL ????? IE9 look like still trash,I  use chrome yet.

  139. cens says:

    Why are you censoring all the comments that are pointing out that going for h264 means that Microsoft is once again destroying the market and blocking smaller companies from competing?

  140. Kroc Camen says:

    @EricLaw [MSFT] If you read the HTML5 spec you’ll realise that the html / head / body tags are optional. Fix your browser, my HTML is fine.

  141. Mitch 74 says:

    @Travia: THANK! YOU!

    *** goes all giddy and claps heels – no more need to support IE’s half-baked event model ***

    Now I know it’s not in DOM 2 spec, I can’t find it in DOM 3 drafts, but if we could get DOMContentLoaded too, it’d be great – but I won’t cry a river any more if we don’t.

    About XP support: what Paul McKeown said. I’ll add that accelerated rendering on XP can be discarded entirely (we won’t ask you to write WDDM 1.1 for XP), a software-only version (even better, a mere Trident and Jscript update, keep IE 8’s chrome) would be enough.

    That leaves Theora and Vorbis support. But I don’t think I’ll get an answer here.

  142. Microsoft please support the Ogg video format, otherwise the <video> element is, for all intents and purposes, absolutely useless. With some browser (IE9, Safari) supporting H264 and others (Firefox, Opera) supporting Ogg, then we have a fragmented <video> codec landscape, which effectively means we can’t use <video> if we want to make our websites to target all browsers.

    Also H264 is patent and licencing encumbered, whereas other web formats (jpg, png, html, css, javascript etc.) are not patent/licenced restricted in any way, and this is how the web has always been, a free open system where anybody can play a part. Introducing a propriatary format/codec for the web threatens this, and this bad for the web in general.

    So please Microsoft, support both Ogg and H264 and let the web decide the <video> format wars.

  143. wechrome says:


    "many other browsers only support this format."

    by "many", you mean "Firefox and Opera"? I never thought "two" can mean "many" here.

    Firefox and Opera and Chrome support Theora, IE and Safari and Chrome support H.264, so the two camps are even now.

    Remember Youtube is in H.264, and Content Is King.

  144. wechrome says:

    Windows XP needs to die, let it RIP with IE6 together, Microsoft should just kill Windows XP, it’s a security nightmare, as while IE8 in Vista/Win7 is pretty secure, IE8 in XP is just full of security holes that can be breached easily. The existence of XP is why the web is so full of malware these days, and IE9 won’t be able to fix it neither. So I say IE9 should NOT support XP, just let XP die like it should be two years ago. Then we will have a much more safe web.

    To all those who are still on XP, just move on, staying on XP means you are leaving your personal info and important data wide open for thieves and virus. XP is just way too old to be fixed, it just needs to go now. The faster, the better.

  145. Mohan says:

    Good to see all the new features. Competition is always better and the end user will be the most beneficial. having said that I am not sure if there will be a version of IE9 for MAC OS.

    any plans on that? I know you folks have scrapped developing IE for mac.. Please do consider for the goodness of all

  146. mahmoud says:

    excuse me , i need more info about " what is direct 2d ???"

  147. Jean-Philippe Martin says:

    What strikes me here is that Microsoft seem to have won to gain trust back from the community. The level of aggressive comments has really diminished from what I read on this blog when the team ie8 announced that the default rendering mode would be non-standard.

    So congrats.

    Ps: what about JavaScript Harmony ?

  148. dmw says:

    how hard it is, to put a notification in your IE9 Preview download page which version of windows it supports?

    i downloaded iepreview.exe for almost an hour, (yes, there are web developers on slow connections on third world countries, in case you don’t notice) only to find out that it can only be installed on vista sp2 or higher.

    thank you, ie team! you guys are genius!

  149. ieblog says:

    @Kroc: I didn’t say there was anything "wrong" with your HTML, I was merely pointing out that the issue was related to creation of an implicit body for generic elements.

    @Mohan: Sorry, no, there will not be a Mac version.

    @cens: Only comments which violate the comment policy are removed:

  150. CM says:

    Quiet impressive. Adobe is in real trouble now.

  151. Kroc Camen says:

    Will you be supporting the optional body tag as per the spec? I understand that it breaks in IE8 simply because of the legacy of IE and that’s the way it does it, I hope that changes in IE9; I have no intention of changing my markup, I expect browsers to support me, not the other way around—that’s what standards are for.

    I understand that adding a body tag is a workaround, but you are asking us on this blog post to look at spec conformance. When you say "We want the same markup to just work across different browsers" then I tell you that my site works fine in the other major browsers and the fault is with your engine.

  152. Thanks to Microsoft for a much-improved browser. When Canvas support arrives, I’ll be glad to start developing using it as a platform.

    I hope I’m right in writing "when" and not "if". Too often "we’re working it" turns into "sorry, our priorities changed". And, for those who point to various sources saying it’s coming, well, until we *see* it, it’s hard to feel comfortable. Even after that, until the Silverlight/Canvas story is clear, I’ll worry. Plus, the sooner it goes public, the sooner we can find the inevitable bugs and/or variances from the other implementations, which *might* be fixed, but the sooner we get our mitts on it, the more likely it is to happen.

  153. eralper says:

    Thanks a lot for the IE preview.

    I hope MS IE team will lead all other browsers for a better and safer user experience

  154. grendelkhan says:

    The original blog post included this bit: "Acid3 tests about 100 details of a dozen different technologies. Some are still in “under construction.”"

    This is patently untrue. Every standard tested in Acid3 was a Candidate Recommendation or better <i>in 2004</i>. (There’s one exception in the font embedding test–the spec doesn’t demand TrueType font support, but the test uses a TrueType font, which IE doesn’t support.) Ian Hickson said this in the original call for tests:

    (As a side note, Acid4 development will be starting when Gecko gets SVG font support, which is the one remaining feature keeping the trunk version from passing the test; I wonder if IE will actually end up two full versions of Acid-compliance behind.)

  155. @Kroc: It’s absolutely a legit issue– thanks for sharing it. I’ve passed your test case to the right folks.  IE6/7/8/9 do support the notion of an implicit body, but as you noted, don’t support starting an implicit body for generic elements.

    @grendelkhan: I don’t know that Hixie’s wishes really map to the test itself. E.g. RFC2397, used throughout ACID2 and 3, never even reached the working draft stage, as far as I know. That’s not to say that it’s not reasonable to support it, merely that the claim that everything is CR or better isn’t necessarily correct. (Furthermore, keep in mind that CRs can and do get switched back to WD from time to time.)

  156. Kroc Camen says:

    Thank you. That is all I wanted, just an acknowledgement that it is a bug that will be fixed.

    You can see there’s a lot of hate coming your way and IE9 will have to demonstrate a real marked change in attitudes to developers. I’m not one to forget those five years of complete neglect and subsequent abuse by tons of popups, spyware and viruses.

    I keep banging against 10 year old bugs in Gecko and I’m getting tired of it. Webkit cuts corners and cheats spec conformance in the name of speed, so of all things, I want to see a Trident engine that dots the Is, crosses the Ts and isn’t a maddening headache to develop for.

    What about the more experimental stuff? CSS gradients? WebGL? CSS variables? I don’t mind vendor specific extensions, I deal with those enough already given that so much CSS3 is incomplete at the moment but I feel that it’s beneficial if vendors can be exploring better ways of doing things—for example, Mozilla’s much cleaner (and saner) gradient syntax. I don’t want to forget that Microsoft invented XMLHTTP, content editable and font-embedding. You just invented them very messily and everybody else came along and cleaned them up.

  157. Jean says:

    Please, canvas support in IE9 !!!!!!!

    Not supporting Win XP is a big mistake, but …

  158. @Ottmar Freudenberger

    Thank you!! You found the exact webpages to read!

    thank you and best regards, Gérard Talbot

  159. Paul McKeown says:

    >>>Web developers will NOT be happy with IE9. So called “support” for things like SVG, which is incomplete,  and lack of canvas means IE9 is already an inept browser behind the times. Why would anyone want to use IE9 when, today, you can get most everything it is supposed to do on any non-IE browser?>>>

    … Developers have to develop to what users use.  IE9 has the potential to raise the level that developers can expect browsers to support quite dramatically.  I like and use Opera 10.50 and Firefox 3.6/3.7a, but the truth is that I develop to IE6, because that is the way the world is.  You can do what you want, but I know that the smart guys with responsibility for real world clients, just like me, develop for the real world base.  I get frustrated on a daily basis, but that’s the way it is.

    In a toss up between support for SVG and canvas, I would choose SVG any day of the week.  In a toss up between a small, but useful subset of SVG and no SVG, I would choose the small, but useful subset.  You can bitch from the anonymity of your keyboard, but I would prefer to recognise the great strides that Microsoft have taken with IE9, and I would further like to encourage them to go that one step that would enable me in my daily work (and I own my own business so I know how it feels in my wallet every week, every month) to work to a higher level – which means pushing the world’s main browser to a new level on the MAJORITY of the world’s computers – 60%+ use XP – and that number is going to stay high for the next 3 years at least.  …

    My very best regards,

    Paul McKeown

  160. Bundyo says:

    Guys, please test this page in your platform preview:

  161. not for XP? says:

    If you’re not going to support IE9 in Windows XP, can you at least provide a free, easy to use tool for developers to test a website within all versions of IE that have a measurable market share? I’m sorry, but the actions, or lack of actions, you guys take in regard to older IE versions makes it seem like you don’t give a rip about the problems older versions of IE cause, problems that won’t go away with the release of IE9.

  162. EricLaw [MSFT] says:

    grendelkhan: Errr, no, Data URIs are not an IETF standard, they’re a proposal. While it’s true that the document was authored under the IETF, that doesn’t change the fact that this makes the statement "Every standard tested in Acid3 was a Candidate Recommendation" incorrect. (Incidentally, I don’t see 2397 as a "reference" in HTML;

    My intent was not to provide an exhaustive summary of the cases where your statement was perhaps misleading, merely the most obvious instance for a feature that I’m most familiar with. I personally have no idea whether Wikipedia’s remarks are correct: "Controversially, [ACID3] includes several elements from the CSS2 recommendation that were later removed in CSS2.1 but reintroduced in World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) CSS3 working drafts that have not made it to candidate recommendations yet."

  163. HOLA says:

    Oh well when I.E 9 comes out i guess ill have to look at my XP Pro and say " You cant run version 9 so we’ll just have to keep using IE 8 then" . !! that simple.

  164. The Arkady says:

    I mean, seriously, nobody uses Vista. And whether Windows 7 will be rolled out to the enterprise masses by the time IE9 hits remains to be seen.

    There’ll still be pelnty of XP systems running even in the corporate space, that’s for sure.

    So Microsoft is firmly committed to keep an old browser alive needlessly, just so it can cause compatibility issues, yet again?

    The only reason this doesn’t stink quite as bad as the old IE6 story is that IE8 doesn’t stink quite as bad.

  165. David Goss says:

    Glad to see less comments calling for IE to use Webkit or Gecko – it’s not going to happen, even if the whole IE team wanted it. We need to be realistic.

    Because I’m on WinXP, I can’t run the preview, but I’m interested to know whether the CSS3 columns module is supported, if anyone can confirm? Things like this and advanced selectors that are likely to affect layout are much more important than border-radius etc which are just visual flourishes.

    To those who predict IE8 becoming the new IE6: it’ll never be that bad. The reason IE6 has been such a problem was because there was such a big gap between its release and IE7. That won’t happen again.

  166. kilroy trout says:

    What about support for html 5 sockets?

  167. Vedetta says:

    IE9 is looking great with Chakra, canvas, and hardware acceleration. Any news about audio?

  168. acl says:

    I cannot test this.

    Is PNG alpha transparency property supported?

    Are CSS3 opacity and border-radius supported?

    Are .ttf fonts finally supported with @font-face?

  169. Rocky Madden says:

    While XP was a great OS, it’s time is now past. It’s nice to the the IE team take advantage of advanced techniques like GPU rendering. Great job on starting down this path! If standards are more closely followed in IE9, I have no doubt it will be a great browser.

  170. not for XP? says:

    Ummm, I think XP may be around for more a little while yet. Tying the browser to the OS – now maybe that is a thing whose time has past.

  171. sy says:


    “I cannot test this” as well, but I can read.

    There is no such thing as “PNG alpha transparency property”. However, yes, transparent PNGs are supported.

    CSS3 opacity and border-radius are supported.

    TTF fonts are *not* supported, but you can easily convert them to supported EOT fonts using a GUI-based Windows-only tool called WEFT (, or, better yet, using a crossplatform command-line tool called ttf2eot ( You can then either supply the EOT CSS through conditional comments, or use one of the ‘hybrid’ methods (see Not that hard, really.

  172. Bruce says:

    Why don’t you provide a virtual hard drive image of Vista SP2 with a limited activation period.  This can run on Virtual PC 2007 and any XP machine can test the features and compatibility of IE9 and provide feedback.  It is working on my XP box.  This is exactly what you did for testing IE7 and IE8.

  173. Jason Smith says:

    Opera’s Vega engine is fully hardware accelerated as of the 10.5 release (unless your machine doesn’t have adequate hardware – in which case it degrades to software graphics).  

    I am looking forward to IE9’s eventual release, and the revolution this will bring to the web – HTML 5 and associated technologies will change everything.

    However, to announce that Microsoft IE9 is the first fully hardware accelerated browser when (a) it hasn’t even been released, and (b) Opera actually beat you to it … well that’s just plain wrong.  

    With the current level of standards compliance (or lack thereof) and how long things take, I would not be surprised if Chrome and perhaps Safari can claim full hardware acceleration support before IE9 is actually released.

    I know you can’t just come out and say, "Hey, we sure let ourselves get behind the curve on this one!"  That would be bad marketing.  But I am glad to finally see that Microsoft is once again taking the web seriously and not taking their current browser dominance for granted.

    [Posted from Opera 10.51]  

  174. Matt says:

    Jason, if Opera 10.51 is hardware accelerated, they’re doing something wrong. The "Flying logos" demo has a low frame rate and looks terrible! IE9 Preview, otoh, looks awesome.

  175. not for XP? says:

    All this fuss about standards, IE9 etc. Fine and dandy. But only silence regarding IE6. Offer a patch or something. Please.

    A haiku for Internet Explorer:

    IE6 tear drops

    four more years. Developers! ! ! ?

    No; money, money.

  176. Is Opera hardware accelerated via the GPU or via the CPU?

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