Working with Pinned Sites


With Internet Explorer 9 Beta, you can pin a Web site to the Windows 7 taskbar the same way you pin Windows applications. Once pinned, you can launch Web sites directly—just like you launch other things in Windows 7. Pinning a site is as easy as dragging an IE9 tab to the Windows 7 taskbar.

Previously, Web sites didn’t have a direct presence on the PC desktop and you had to effectively “boot twice”—once for the operating system and once for the browser—to get to a site. With Pinned Sites, users have a faster and easier time getting to the Web sites they use most often.

Once a site is pinned, Web developers can use the Pinned Site metadata and methods to add tasks to the taskbar icon’s Jump List, alert users with notification icons, and create thumbnail toolbar buttons to control a site. Adding this functionality to a Web site requires little development cost and offers your site visitors a much better Web experience. Developers can read more about this in User Experiences: Customizing Pinned Sites as well as Pinned Sites: Windows 7 Desktop Integration with Internet Explorer 9, or watch the PDC 2010 session “Taking Advantage of Pinned Sites with Internet Explorer 9 and Windows 7” (fast forward to about the 10 minute point).

New API Documentation

Today we introduce new developer documentation that shows how to use the Pinned Site (aka Site Mode) API to enhance and create great-looking Pinned Sites in Windows 7. This documentation picks up from where the IE Test Drive Site Pinning samples left off, including lots of code that shows how the sample sites were developed.

Four scenarios are presented, each demonstrating an aspect of the Pinned Site capabilities of Internet Explorer 9:

Channel9 Podcast Player Sample: Basics

Add basic pinned site functionality to the Channel9 Podcast Player sample, including static Jump List items. Also learn how to promote the Pinned Site functionality of your Web site.

Channel9 Podcast Player Sample: Remote Control

Create thumbnail toolbar buttons to control audio playback in the Channel9 Podcast Player sample.

TweetFeed Sample: Search History

Insert items into a custom Jump List category based on user interaction with the TweetFeed sample.

TweetFeed Sample: Notifications

Notification icon  Notification icon
Notification icons

Use notification icons to show activity in the TweetFeed sample.

Introduction to Pinned Sites is the best overview of the Pinned Site API. It also explains the benefits of the technology and describes how this functionality can improve user engagement with the sites you develop.

Feature-Detection for Pinned Sites

Feature detection is critical for developing sites that work properly across multiple browsers. Unlike techniques that detect specific browsers or check for the presence of unrelated features, feature detection enables developers to test whether a browser supports a specific feature before using it and allows the developer to test for known issues before applying a workaround (see Same Markup: Writing Cross-Browser Code).

Pinned Site APIs are no different; we encourage the use of feature detection for verifying that Pinned Site functionality is available before using it. The msIsSiteMode method of the external object is the best way to determine whether the Pinned Sites feature is available. The following code provides the correct behavior for using the Pinned Sites API when available and triggering an alternate code path (in the catch clause) when it is not:

    try {
        if (external.msIsSiteMode()) {
            /*Code for when site mode is supported and active*/
        }
        else {
            /* Code for when site mode is supported, but inactive */
        }
    }
    catch (e) {
        /*Code for when site mode is not supported */
    }

Programming Pinned Sites from Adobe Flash and Microsoft Silverlight

Developers who use Adobe Flash or Microsoft Silverlight controls inside IE9 can also take advantage of the JavaScript Pinned Sites (Site Mode) APIs to integrate their site with the Windows 7 taskbar.

For example, pages that play audio or video using Adobe Flash can add media controls to the page thumbnail (see screen capture below). Developers should call the appropriate Flash Player playback control functions documented here on the ‘msthumbnailclick’ event handler on the Web page. This method uses JavaScript APIs to invoke Flash Player playback control functions.

Flash-generated media controls in Windows 7 taskbar thumbnail
Flash-generated media controls in Windows 7 taskbar thumbnail

Pages can also use ActionScript to offer users custom jump lists on the Taskbar as explained here. Microsoft Silverlight is capable of the same level of integration. For details on how to do this see this post. The only prerequisite to using this functionality with Flash or Silverlight is that the control be hosted in the IE9 browser, not a standalone application.

Developer Training Available

Starting today, January 17, 2011, Microsoft is conducting a series of Windows Development Boot Camps throughout the United States Central region. The Boot Camp is a one-day deep dive class on client development. The event covers developing for Windows 7, Internet Explorer 9, and Silverlight 4 out-of-browser. Part of this training includes how to use the Pinned Site (Site Mode) APIs to integrate with Windows 7. For more information visit http://www.windowsdevbootcamp.com/.

Pinned Sites provide a fast and easy way to access the Web sites used most often. By providing some of the advanced Pinned Site capabilities described here, you can make your Web site even easier for your site’s visitors to use.

—Israel Hilerio, Ph.D., Principal Program Manager, Internet Explorer

Comments (65)

  1. Prior Semblance says:

    This is actually a pretty cool idea, but it would be more useful if it worked in more than just IE9.  The amount of people using both Windows 7 and IE9 will be fairly low for a while.  Should think about getting other browsers to add this API for windows, it can only help windows sales.

  2. FremyCompany says:

    It would be great if pinned applications had better control on the IE chrome. For exemple, they may want to have only one tab open at the same time, and no url bar. It's not possible now, which still make the application "website-esque" 😉

  3. CvP says:

    @FermyCompany

    nice idea.

  4. JackC says:

    I agree with Fremy. I thought this back when I first saw the initial implementation. It doesn't make sense for a user to be able to navigate away from a site when its window is supposed to purely act as a sort of 'app' container… and as I remember, the window retains its custom styling even after leaving the site – so does that really make sense?

  5. mmm says:

    I like how you showing us old beta images, even if you have newer builds :)

  6. steve says:

    I hate to repeat this here but once a post on the IE blog is not the latest post it gets ignored.

    Can someone from Microsoft please make a statement about shutting down the IE6/IE7/IE8/IE9 images at http://www.spoon.net/

    ======================================================================================================

    This was **THE** most useful resource for testing multiple versions of IE and the shutdown really ticked developers off!

    As a long time web developer of Enterprise Web Applications I've tried all the options out there to try and simplify testing IE and the lack of realistic options is a royal PITA.

    1.) Multiple IEs – IE8 breaks the functionality of IE6's textboxes – thus its a NO-GO

    2.) IETester – works great until you need to test popup interaction and then it fails – thus a NO-GO

    3.) Virtual PC with timebombed images of IE6, IE7, IE8 – works ok, but the 12Gigs of HD space needed is frustrating when each full image of Windows dies 4 times a year, running a full Windows image is slow and you have to beg for updates because the releases are not co-ordinated and announced well at all – thus its a NO-GO

    4.) IE Super Preview – Last I checked this did not allow full testing of IE user interaction, JavaScript DOM changes, popups etc. – thus its a NO-GO

    5.) Multiple PC's to run multiple versions of windows and IE.  With all the hardware, software, and physical space needed – its a NO-GO

    6.) Spoon.net IEs – They work, they work just like local native apps once running, and there's no hacking of my real local IE install. – the **ONLY** problem with these IE's is that Microsoft shut them down

    Please understand that we (developers) just want something that works.  Testing in multiple versions of IE is a pain to begin with and with IE9 on the horizon it is only getting worse.

    I'm not sure where the issue stands with Spoon, but I would really like a solution worked out fast.

    Steve

  7. gawicks says:

    Any idea of doing a 'Internet Explorer web store'; a la Chrome web store? It would be nice to have a site showcasing all websites optimized for IE9

  8. hAl says:

    Can someone please kill Steve

  9. johnnyq3 says:

    @IEteam

    Have you guys shared these specs with other browser makers so they can take advantage of it as well?

    I thinki it would be really awesome if it were an HTML 5 spec.

  10. j says:

    This is easily the best part about IE9 just from a user's standpoint. You can preach to me all day about how other browsers are better, but until they offer OS integration like this it'll be awfully hard for me to think about switching.

  11. Fran says:

    As FremyCompany wrote above, better control of the browser UI would be a great addition. Many existing website and web app do not need tabs or history buttons, and can often live in smaller browser windows. IE9 is *almost* the most advanced SSB available, but chromeless windows are one of the things that are missing.

  12. Charlie Hayes says:

    It's too bad this API is starting out with Microsoft specific method names. It's bad enough that this only works in IE, but there's no way Mozilla or Google can implement this without changing the method names and thus breaking compatability with sites already using the MS API. Yeah! More if ie then blocks!

  13. Daniel says:

    I BSODed when I tried doing this.

  14. j says:

    It makes perfect sense that the code would use MS specific method names; this is a completely non-standard API that that's designed specifically for IE and Windows. It's just like how when websites want to make an iPhone icon they use "apple-touch-icon," because they're designing it for a specific Apple platform.

  15. Charlie says:

    This looks exciting, I expect to find good use for it in our webmail application!

  16. Gordon says:

    Please tell me that you are providing similar hooks in Windows so that other browsers can follow suit if they like.  I agree with Charlie though – if other vendors follow suit I hope they keep the same JavaScript API as this whole mixed API mumbo jumbo is what got Microsoft in trouble in the first place.

  17. Breen says:

    @Charlie Hayes: That's because it's not standarised.

  18. i hate IE 9 says:

    when i am trying it i found that i can't download exe from Microsoft.com. it's not worked whenever i close the browser not the download window and they download well but atleast they give message 'retry'. are you tell me who donkey make this bug. whenever you say "malware and some other thing". tell me why i use IE 9. i got many problem some with MS website. like Google docs not wored many microsoft webstite not worked [who based on silverlight].

  19. @FermyCompany says:

    You can always press F11 to get the desired behavior.

  20. IE - from scratch to shot says:

    I don't know about the others, but it happens very often that when the URL is entered in the address bar, on pressing ENTER IE9 shows "Internet Explorer cannot display the webpage" page promptly without actually communicating with the web-server. It also happens even when I am running the web application from my local-machine through Apache or Mongrel !! Though, on next try (ALT+D+ENTER or Refresh(F5)), it works fine.

    Earlier, in the prior versions of IE, I used to get a popup message "Invalid URL" if the URL is entered and ENTER is pressed as soon as the browser is launched! Looks like it needs some breathing space to entertain the user requests and looks like Launch (display browser window) & Ready-to-serve are two different things.

    Secondly, while using Developer Tool, its hard to add a new CSS style rule. The user must be able to add a new CSS rule even in the HTML view and also without right-clicking the selector…

    FF never exhibits such shortcomings unless server/service is actually down, the Internet is unavailable or it slipped to the offline mode (no matter how roughly you use it and how quickly and frequently you enter URLs and Go!)… Honestly, the usage experience with IE9 is non-user-friendly with more unwanted features and is not as flexible as with the FF! Similar to its predecessors, IE9 and its "developer tools" (after using FF's firebug plugin) gives you a rigid experience in some way… also the missing spell checker…and… Otherwise its cool! :(

  21. steve says:

    I hate to repeat this here but once a post on the IE blog is not the latest post it gets ignored.

    Can someone from Microsoft please make a statement about shutting down the IE6/IE7/IE8/IE9 images at http://www.spoon.net/

    ======================================================================================================

    This was **THE** most useful resource for testing multiple versions of IE and the shutdown really ticked developers off!

    As a long time web developer of Enterprise Web Applications I've tried all the options out there to try and simplify testing IE and the lack of realistic options is a royal PITA.

    1.) Multiple IEs – IE8 breaks the functionality of IE6's textboxes – thus its a NO-GO

    2.) IETester – works great until you need to test popup interaction and then it fails – thus a NO-GO

    3.) Virtual PC with timebombed images of IE6, IE7, IE8 – works ok, but the 12Gigs of HD space needed is frustrating when each full image of Windows dies 4 times a year, running a full Windows image is slow and you have to beg for updates because the releases are not co-ordinated and announced well at all – thus its a NO-GO

    4.) IE Super Preview – Last I checked this did not allow full testing of IE user interaction, JavaScript DOM changes, popups etc. – thus its a NO-GO

    5.) Multiple PC's to run multiple versions of windows and IE.  With all the hardware, software, and physical space needed – its a NO-GO

    6.) Spoon.net IEs – They work, they work just like local native apps once running, and there's no hacking of my real local IE install. – the **ONLY** problem with these IE's is that Microsoft shut them down

    Please understand that we (developers) just want something that works.  Testing in multiple versions of IE is a pain to begin with and with IE9 on the horizon it is only getting worse.

    I'm not sure where the issue stands with Spoon, but I would really like a solution worked out fast.

    Steve

  22. gabrielmorrow says:

    i see this as potitaly opening up some secuity bugs how secure are these apis i wonder

  23. Tino says:

    Now you paste the same thing twice in the same post, steve?

    Please die in two fires or equivalent.

  24. eman neercs says:

    In this post blogs.msdn.com/…/about-the-platform-preview.aspx Microsoft says that every 8 weeks a new platform preview will be released. Its been 8 weeks since preview 7, when can we expect preview 8?

  25. Rudolph Gottesheim says:

    I wanted to post this via the IE9b feedback feature but it doesn't work for me. I can't login or something.

    Anyway, Pinned Sites are the best idea, like, ever! I love having Facebook or Twitter running 'as an application', being notified via the taskbar and so on. There is just one thing that really NEEDS to be fixed in order for this to work the way it's supposed to work:

    No new tabs (from a different domain) should be opened in my application window.

    Example: I'm on Facebook and I click on a link to an article someone posts. The post is really good and I follow two of the links to other sites. I switch to a different application, do some stuff there and decide to go back to my 'Facebook application' to check for updates.

    Now, at this point I don't have my nice FB app anymore; it's gotten just a regular old browser window with a buncha tabs and an 'f' icon. You see what I mean? If external sites open in the same window as separate tabs, it dowsn't feel like an application for just that one site anymore (which was the point in the first place).

    target="_blank" and middle click links should *always* open up in a separate window if you're on a pinned site and the target site is on a different domain. (Or at least there should be an option for this. And if there is, it should be ON by default.)

    If you get that one right, it will be the IE9 killer feature.

  26. gabrielmorrow says:

    @eman neercs  i heard on 28th they plan to release the rc so thats probably why

  27. Steve says:

    I hate to repeat this here but once a post on the IE blog is not the latest post it gets ignored.

    Can someone from Microsoft please make a statement about shutting down the IE6/IE7/IE8/IE9 images at http://www.spoon.net/

    ======================================================================================================

    This was **THE** most useful resource for testing multiple versions of IE and the shutdown really ticked developers off!

    As a long time web developer of Enterprise Web Applications I've tried all the options out there to try and simplify testing IE and the lack of realistic options is a royal PITA.

    1.) Multiple IEs – IE8 breaks the functionality of IE6's textboxes – thus its a NO-GO

    2.) IETester – works great until you need to test popup interaction and then it fails – thus a NO-GO

    3.) Virtual PC with timebombed images of IE6, IE7, IE8 – works ok, but the 12Gigs of HD space needed is frustrating when each full image of Windows dies 4 times a year, running a full Windows image is slow and you have to beg for updates because the releases are not co-ordinated and announced well at all – thus its a NO-GO

    4.) IE Super Preview – Last I checked this did not allow full testing of IE user interaction, JavaScript DOM changes, popups etc. – thus its a NO-GO

    5.) Multiple PC's to run multiple versions of windows and IE.  With all the hardware, software, and physical space needed – its a NO-GO

    6.) Spoon.net IEs – They work, they work just like local native apps once running, and there's no hacking of my real local IE install. – the **ONLY** problem with these IE's is that Microsoft shut them down

    Please understand that we (developers) just want something that works.  Testing in multiple versions of IE is a pain to begin with and with IE9 on the horizon it is only getting worse.

    I'm not sure where the issue stands with Spoon, but I would really like a solution worked out fast.

    Steve

  28. Steve says:

    As the "real" Steve – I can assure you I only posted the comment **once** on this blog post.  If the multiple comments in this post magically get the attention of Microsoft then great – but I assure you I only submitted the comment once on this post.

    PS speaking of the Virtual PC images – I've caved in and downloaded the IE6/XP image for some testing.  The readme indicates a password combo of "Admin/Password1" – I've tried every possible incarnation of this (upper, lower, mixed, abbreviated, etc.) and NO combination will let me in.

    Can someone please verify what the real credentials are? and in future can someone verify in the release that they are correct… or better yet, leave it blank.

  29. Steve says:

    Actually I did finally figure it out.  The TRUE credentials are "admin/admin".  Thanks again for wasting 30 minutes of my time. Man I wish there was some sort of superior service that provided these testing tools over the web in an easy to use fashion that made development in IE almost fun… I'd eat that up with a Spoon!

  30. Steve says:

    I hate to repeat this here but once a post on the IE blog is not the latest post it gets ignored.

    Can someone from Microsoft please make a statement about shutting down the IE6/IE7/IE8/IE9 images at http://www.spoon.net/

    ======================================================================================================

    This was **THE** most useful resource for testing multiple versions of IE and the shutdown really ticked developers off!

    As a long time web developer of Enterprise Web Applications I've tried all the options out there to try and simplify testing IE and the lack of realistic options is a royal PITA.

    1.) Multiple IEs – IE8 breaks the functionality of IE6's textboxes – thus its a NO-GO

    2.) IETester – works great until you need to test popup interaction and then it fails – thus a NO-GO

    3.) Virtual PC with timebombed images of IE6, IE7, IE8 – works ok, but the 12Gigs of HD space needed is frustrating when each full image of Windows dies 4 times a year, running a full Windows image is slow and you have to beg for updates because the releases are not co-ordinated and announced well at all – thus its a NO-GO

    4.) IE Super Preview – Last I checked this did not allow full testing of IE user interaction, JavaScript DOM changes, popups etc. – thus its a NO-GO

    5.) Multiple PC's to run multiple versions of windows and IE.  With all the hardware, software, and physical space needed – its a NO-GO

    6.) Spoon.net IEs – They work, they work just like local native apps once running, and there's no hacking of my real local IE install. – the **ONLY** problem with these IE's is that Microsoft shut them down

    Please understand that we (developers) just want something that works.  Testing in multiple versions of IE is a pain to begin with and with IE9 on the horizon it is only getting worse.

    I'm not sure where the issue stands with Spoon, but I would really like a solution worked out fast.

    Steve

  31. Steve says:

    I hate to repeat this here but once a post on the IE blog is not the latest post it gets ignored.

    Can someone from Microsoft please make a statement about shutting down the IE6/IE7/IE8/IE9 images at http://www.spoon.net/

    ======================================================================================================

    This was **THE** most useful resource for testing multiple versions of IE and the shutdown really ticked developers off!

    As a long time web developer of Enterprise Web Applications I've tried all the options out there to try and simplify testing IE and the lack of realistic options is a royal PITA.

    1.) Multiple IEs – IE8 breaks the functionality of IE6's textboxes – thus its a NO-GO

    2.) IETester – works great until you need to test popup interaction and then it fails – thus a NO-GO

    3.) Virtual PC with timebombed images of IE6, IE7, IE8 – works ok, but the 12Gigs of HD space needed is frustrating when each full image of Windows dies 4 times a year, running a full Windows image is slow and you have to beg for updates because the releases are not co-ordinated and announced well at all – thus its a NO-GO

    4.) IE Super Preview – Last I checked this did not allow full testing of IE user interaction, JavaScript DOM changes, popups etc. – thus its a NO-GO

    5.) Multiple PC's to run multiple versions of windows and IE.  With all the hardware, software, and physical space needed – its a NO-GO

    6.) Spoon.net IEs – They work, they work just like local native apps once running, and there's no hacking of my real local IE install. – the **ONLY** problem with these IE's is that Microsoft shut them down

    Please understand that we (developers) just want something that works.  Testing in multiple versions of IE is a pain to begin with and with IE9 on the horizon it is only getting worse.

    I'm not sure where the issue stands with Spoon, but I would really like a solution worked out fast.

    Steve

  32. johnnyq3 says:

    @IETeam

    What kind of icons can be used with the tasks.  I had used semi colored icons, but they didn't show up next to the Tasks.

  33. Lance says:

    @Breen – you say that as if it is on it's way to being a standard, not something that a 3rd party in all likelihood will never be able to duplicate on Windows

    @Steve – you clearly like repeating yourself, in any case IE6 and IE6 are close to being easily dropped for support anyway if not already.

  34. Lance says:

    Ha, I meant to say IE6 and IE7, but I want IE6 gone bad enough I don't mind mentioning it twice

  35. Mitch says:

    @Lance – Although IE6 and IE7 *should* be close to being dropped (they're both old, dead technology) unfortunately in the corporate/enterprise world they are still heavily used and IT Departments are very un-motivated to upgrade.

    If I had the choice, I would drop all support for IE6 and IE7 this second – but if I want to continue making income – I need to continue supporting them.

    I look forward to IE9's release – not because it is so great or whatever – but once it has been released there is a reasonable browser upgrade available to help push users off IE6, IE7 and IE8.

  36. steve says:

    I hate to repeat this here but once a post on the IE blog is not the latest post it gets ignored.

    Can someone from Microsoft please make a statement about shutting down the IE6/IE7/IE8/IE9 images at http://www.spoon.net/

    ======================================================================================================

    This was **THE** most useful resource for testing multiple versions of IE and the shutdown really ticked developers off!

    As a long time web developer of Enterprise Web Applications I've tried all the options out there to try and simplify testing IE and the lack of realistic options is a royal PITA.

    1.) Multiple IEs – IE8 breaks the functionality of IE6's textboxes – thus its a NO-GO

    2.) IETester – works great until you need to test popup interaction and then it fails – thus a NO-GO

    3.) Virtual PC with timebombed images of IE6, IE7, IE8 – works ok, but the 12Gigs of HD space needed is frustrating when each full image of Windows dies 4 times a year, running a full Windows image is slow and you have to beg for updates because the releases are not co-ordinated and announced well at all – thus its a NO-GO

    4.) IE Super Preview – Last I checked this did not allow full testing of IE user interaction, JavaScript DOM changes, popups etc. – thus its a NO-GO

    5.) Multiple PC's to run multiple versions of windows and IE.  With all the hardware, software, and physical space needed – its a NO-GO

    6.) Spoon.net IEs – They work, they work just like local native apps once running, and there's no hacking of my real local IE install. – the **ONLY** problem with these IE's is that Microsoft shut them down

    Please understand that we (developers) just want something that works.  Testing in multiple versions of IE is a pain to begin with and with IE9 on the horizon it is only getting worse.

    I'm not sure where the issue stands with Spoon, but I would really like a solution worked out fast.

    Steve

  37. Asa Dotzler says:

    According to the documentation, this is a Windows 7 Taskbar API. I thought that Microsoft were required by the US consent decree and the EU settlement to publish all Windows APIs that IE used so that IE did not have privileged access to Windows features.  I don't see any API documentation from a Windows app developer perspective. How are other browsers supposed to interface with this Windows Taskbar API?

  38. Rob says:

    @Asa – Is there someone you know to report this to? I hadn't thought about that.

    I'm surprised there are developers on the IEBlog that actually use IE. Unless you guys just use it on new installations to download another browser. I'd understand a temporary situation like that.

  39. Zoey says:

    @Asa Dotzler – Surely Microsoft is busy sending the documentation to Kinkos for printing since they failed to reply to @johnnyq3's, @Charlie Hayes', & @Gordon's requests for information on how to implement this in other browsers.

    Or maybe Microsoft has forgotten that during the D.O.J. antitrust lawsuit they "couldn't separate IE from windows because it was an integral part" – oh but wait, no it isn't… they lost that bogus case and  the browser is a choice to be installed by the customer (at least in Europe)… as it should be because the browser isn't tied to the operating system (and Microsoft knows full well not to tinker in this arena again!)

    Surely this was a tiny misunderstanding that will be completely documented in Monday Mornings sincere apology Blog post to correct this *cough*, *cough* "Accidental Mistake".

    We are not amused.

    zoey

  40. Metasyntactic says:

    Information about the Windows taskbar API can be found here: msdn.microsoft.com/…/dd942846.aspx

    There is no reason that any other browser won't be able to make use of it.

  41. Prior Semblance says:

    Wow, look at you guys jump at the possibility to get microsoft in trouble.  The whole point of having a fancy new taskbar is to let programs take advantage of it, that wouldn't be possible if the API was unavailable to developers <_<

  42. Aethec says:

    @Asa Dotzler >>  msdn.microsoft.com/…/ee624070.aspx

    Not difficult to find, really.

  43. Adama says:

    Shouldn't you focus on playing catch-up? This is lip stick on a pig.

  44. Crescens2k says:

    The whole pinned sites thing is easy to work out, and besides using the publicly available functions for putting something on the taskbar, nothing else is needed.

    So where to start, well, first how to get IE to change mode. It is easy enough to look at the actual shortcut of the icon on the taskbar. Even though I don't have IE9 beta installed at the moment, I would guess that what could possibly happen is that a simple thing like changing the shortcut to something like %Path to IE%iexplore /pinned http://www.myurl.com. It doesn't take much to come up with that idea.

    For the pinned sites API inside IE itself, as was already pointed it, it is an IE only thing right now, although probably like things like XMLHTTPRequest and InnerHTML, if this idea is good enough it will be taken and modified, and then in a few years even though Microsoft was the inventor, people will still come back and complain that Microsoft are the ones doing it wrong. Anyway, that aside, it doesn't need to do anything strange. If you know the ActiveScripting stuff for Windows then you know that it relies on COM objects, and all that the new pinned sites API does is exposes a new IE COM object to the scripting engine that can be used. So again, this doesn't require anything private or weird, it just means a new object is exposed and available.

    @Charlie Hayes

    I love this comment. People in the past have complained at Microsoft for putting vendor specific extensions in with no way to distinguish them, but when they put extensions in with vendor specific names someone then complains that it has vendor specific names. This is a standards thing and what Microsoft did this time was the right thing. If other browsers supply this kind of interface with generic names then they are the ones which are doing the bad thing. But one thing you may not have thought of, while it does cause some issues with forward compatability etc, there is also more creativity which can come into play. For example, now that things are vendor specific, mozilla, opera and webkit can come up with their own implementations and then the one which gains the most popularity will come into wide spread use and will then get standardised. This is one way that things get standardised. For example XMLHTTP was a proprietory ActiveX object that needed to be loaded in explicitly, so very much vendor specific, but other browsers took it and modified it. Great ideas need a starting point, even if they are vendor specific.

  45. Sheng Jiang says:

    About developer training… they are not alternatives of proper documentation. the ISurfacePresenter interface mentioned in the Flash post is poorly documented. No word on how to create an object that support the IViewObjectPresentSite interface which is supposed to be the creator of an object that supports the ISurfacePresenter interface. No word on what IID the GetBuffer method expects. It is the same IThumbnailCapture situation all over again, are we supposed to reverse engineer IE and Windows to be able to call the "documented" APIs? And risk compatibility issue like we have with IThumbnailCapture, whose COM server was removed from Vista but the documentation has no word of deprecation?

  46. steve says:

    I hate to repeat this here but once a post on the IE blog is not the latest post it gets ignored.

    Can someone from Microsoft please make a statement about shutting down the IE6/IE7/IE8/IE9 images at http://www.spoon.net/

    ======================================================================================================

    This was **THE** most useful resource for testing multiple versions of IE and the shutdown really ticked developers off!

    As a long time web developer of Enterprise Web Applications I've tried all the options out there to try and simplify testing IE and the lack of realistic options is a royal PITA.

    1.) Multiple IEs – IE8 breaks the functionality of IE6's textboxes – thus its a NO-GO

    2.) IETester – works great until you need to test popup interaction and then it fails – thus a NO-GO

    3.) Virtual PC with timebombed images of IE6, IE7, IE8 – works ok, but the 12Gigs of HD space needed is frustrating when each full image of Windows dies 4 times a year, running a full Windows image is slow and you have to beg for updates because the releases are not co-ordinated and announced well at all – thus its a NO-GO

    4.) IE Super Preview – Last I checked this did not allow full testing of IE user interaction, JavaScript DOM changes, popups etc. – thus its a NO-GO

    5.) Multiple PC's to run multiple versions of windows and IE.  With all the hardware, software, and physical space needed – its a NO-GO

    6.) Spoon.net IEs – They work, they work just like local native apps once running, and there's no hacking of my real local IE install. – the **ONLY** problem with these IE's is that Microsoft shut them down

    Please understand that we (developers) just want something that works.  Testing in multiple versions of IE is a pain to begin with and with IE9 on the horizon it is only getting worse.

    I'm not sure where the issue stands with Spoon, but I would really like a solution worked out fast.

    Steve

  47. Windows Internet Explorer Team [MSFT] says:

    Please can we call time on duplicate postings please guys!

  48. Taciturne says:

    Here is a serious wish/suggestion:

    The minute Internet Explorer 9 "release candidate" or "whatever" is made available, block feedback from users with beta

    And the same when "final" or "whatever" is released

    The feedback tool is a nightmare

    The beta VS platform preview in parallel is a nightmare

    Don't make it worse

  49. watt says:

    What I'd like to see is the ability to keep my installation of IE8 intact. As I am a web developer, I need it for testing the older features. Please install IE9 as a separate program.

  50. Richard Szalay says:

    First up, any plans on being able to specify which HTML element gets rendered in the taskbar preview? It would be great to have, for example, a youtube video or an equaliser rendered into the preview rather than the entire webpage.

    Secondly, surely catching an exception is not the best way to test support for the site mode feature? Would "if (window.external && window.external.msIsSiteMode) { }" not be sufficient?

  51. Steve says:

    @Windows Internet Explorer Team [MSFT] – Sure thing, just let us know when and where we can expect a reply to our questions. (For the record, many other people are copying my original comment and re-posting it (I have no control over that))

    I will however continue to re-post my comment on every blog post until there is a response or an indication of when and where a response will be made.

    thanks

  52. Peter says:

    @Steve

    Clearly you don't understand that Microsoft may be a bigger company than the IE-team, and that these good people cannot comment on decisions taken on another level in the organisation.

    You also fail to understand that Spoon.net might have violated copyright laws, intellectual property, or other transgressions. (I'm not a lawyer, but MS has plenty. They supposedly know what they're doing.) If Microsoft were to turn a blind eye here, it may set a precedent and it will be harder to go after others.

    Lastly, if you're a serious developer you'll invest in some tools to test for multiple versions of IE – some solutions have already been brought to your attention here.

    Stop displaying your childish behaviour here by trying to take this forum hostage. It doesn't work anyway.

    Regards,

    Peter

  53. Martin says:

    @Peter – thanks for teaching @Steve and the rest of us how to suck eggs, very informative, well done!

    We all realize that there are many questions at play here – what were the circumstances?, was/is there blame/legal issues at play? etc.

    What we've also indicated to Microsoft on several different occasions is that the development/debug environment situation with Internet Explorer is just shy of atrocious.  Microsoft has put us in an awkward position where we *need* to test on multiple versions of IE yet we can only install 1 at a time on Windows. – Point blank – this absolutely sucks!

    Realizing that no quick fix for this was on the way, several bright developers and vendors have jumped forward trying to build a useful solution to this problem.  IETester, Multiple IE's, VMWare, Spoon, etc.

    Each option has pros and cons, some of which are major deal-breakers, other just frustrating enough to make it a PITA to use.

    Spoon was the first (IMHO) solution that actually made testing in multiple IE versions simple and straightforward.

    Similar to @Steve's request we've discovered that the existing methods to debug IE are not acceptable (and yes, that includes the awkward, cumbersome, crippled, bloated, never available on time, PITA MS Virtual PC approach)

    We would be quite happy with Microsoft (at whatever corporate level) simply indicating that **yes** they acknowledge that there are many questions and concerns about developing/debugging in IE (as noted by developers on the IE Blog)… and that **they** are **interested** in reducing developer frustration on this front and that **they** are working on a solution (or document a permanent solution to this very real, very annoying problem)

    Virtual PC – under the current conditions (January 24th, 2011) is NOT AN ACCEPTABLE SOLUTION TO THIS PROBLEM!!!!

    martin

  54. AndyC says:

    @Steve + @Martin: It's a legal issue. Either contact Microsoft's lawyers or go ask the spoon team. Posting here won't accomplish anything, the IE team are almost certainly not allowed to make any sort of comment whatsoever without the lawyers being involved.

    As to the pinned sites functionality, it looks awesome and really brings integration between webpages and the OS to the forefront in a genuinely useful way. I agree that the vendor specific names are unfortunate, but that's the way the standards say things are supposed to be done and if anything it highlights the fact that simply introducing vendor prefixes doesn't really provide a good solution to introducing a feature which other browser vendors may also wish to adopt. It's always been a flawed idea and this shows exactly why.

  55. Bret says:

    @AndyC – seems many are missing the point.  Debugging in IE is not a pleasant task when you can't just take 2 seconds to load pages in another browser.  Developers have complained about it for years.  With yet another version of IE (9) the problem is worse.

    Not only did Microsoft not provide a realistic solution to this problem they created but they tore down the only solution that made it a simple process – way to kick the developers when they're down.

    Never mind Spoon – when is developing across multiple versions of IE going to be a reality?

    Are you saving some cool answer for this until Mix? Did you buy Spoon so that it can re-launch and provide the service we need now?

    Disgruntled.

  56. J says:

    hey IE team, could you make a blog post about Spoon? I don't really care what you say about Spoon specifically, I'm just hoping such a post would act as a gutter to catch all of these comments so they don't clutter every single other blog post.

  57. Peter says:

    I *know* developing and debugging for IE is a pain. I *know* that frustration runs deep. But that's not my point.

    It's clear that you are addressing the wrong people here – they aren't *allowed* to make a statement on this issue, and can't take to another level. (Or they can and have done so, but the gears run slowly within the MS organisation.)

    Either way, re-posting this issue over and over again is a display of utterly childish behaviour.

    And yes, Microsoft can chalk up another scoffing to their prime audience/customers, but that doesn't mean you have to stoop to their level.

  58. Nate says:

    @Peter – you indicate that posting issues over and over to this blog is childish behaviour yet you provide no reasonable alternative.

    Don't fool yourself.  This blog gets read by thousands both at Microsoft and in the developer community.  If you want to gague the developer community's feelings towards IE and the progress (or lack there-of) this is __THE__ place to come to for that information.

    Now if Microsoft feels that ignoring the community is the best way to treat the developers that's fine – don't expect IE share to do anything but continue to drop across the globe, along with developer sentiment towards the browser, the lack of development tools, and the mess that debugging in IE has become.

    Can the IE team post on here about Spoon? – I have no idea.  Can the IE team post on here about the state of debugging in IE and what they plan to do to make it better? provide options and alternatives? you bet they can!!

    Why haven't they done so?! – Likely because they didn't feel that it was necessary to drag that skeleton out of the closet.  However that was before they (IMHO) foolishly ripped down the Spoon service that helped solve this problem.

    This is why the issue is so important now, why it must be addressed – it is __THE__ number one issue discussed on this blog by frustrated developers and the voices are clear – "WE WANT A SOLUTION" or at least some viable options.

    Are the continuous rants about this, that and the other on the IE blog childish? NO.  IE is not open source – we can't fix the bugs ourselves, we can't even see the code to point out the bugs to Microsoft.  All we can do is voice our opinions loud and clear and hope they get their act together and respond.

    More importantly the longer Microsoft chooses to __NOT__ respond, the more developers are going to complain, and that will just tick off people like @Pete even more.

    There's only 1 solution and its been stated many times. COMMUNICATE!

  59. sebastian says:

    *begin_sarcasm* – i'm not sure what everyone is complaining about! you can download the IE VPC images complete with a full Windows install and run those. Get em while they're hot!

    oh, and by the way they are timebombed to only work for 7 (seven) more whole days – so maybe that isn't a solution.

    wow – why would you ever timebomb to a fix date for something developers need every day? if only there was a way to timebomb to a date say – – – 6 months after installing/setup.  That way developers could get a copy whenever they need it and use it.  They could even co-ordinate when they would like to re-install it sometime in that last 30 days before it times out to avoid disruption to their schedule.

    *end_sarcasm*

    SRLSY! – Fixing this whole problem is Sooooo easy – maybe Microsoft could patent it… something like: "Download a XX day trial" – wow get on this, I think that this concept of a trial might really take off.

  60. Peter says:

    @ Andy

    Posting the same comment over and over again isn't communicating either, especially when it is crystal clear that there won't be a response.

    Or, in this case, no response is also a response. Let me translate their silence for you:

    Microsoft will defend its intellectual property by all means possibe. Even if that means to make the life of the "developers, developers, developers!" for the IE platfom much harder, frustrating, and loyalty draining. This policy takes precedence over the long term strategy to build and nurture a solid foundation for applications that will run in IE, thereby gambiting any marketshare we may have left in a few years.

    We can't offer a viable solution for the mess we made over the past decade, and developers are left to their own devices.

    Perhaps it's best to not count on Microsoft at all, and just use a VMware player and a few left-over XP licenses to install an environment for IE6, IE7 and IE8.

    — End of translation

    Yes, Microsoft, we heard you. Loud and clear. (You might also have heard us. But do you listen?)

    Now that we've got that out of our system, why do you post the same question over and over again, just to receive the same answer?

    That's not only childish, it's also not very intelligent behaviour.

  61. Prior Semblance says:

    I'm glad they shut it down, the harder it is to develop for IE6/7 the sooner people will stop bothering with IE6/7.  I mean really, almost nobody actually uses IE6 anymore its just companies that want to stick with old technology because they have no reason to change.  Give them a reason and they will change, this could be that reason.

  62. jader3rd says:

    So could someone configure a pinned site to be their default email client? That way when they click on a mailto: link they won't get confused beyond all reason when a wizard pops up asking to configure a mail server (as if most users even knew what a mail server was).

  63. www.bestdigitalmarket.com says:

    So could someone configure a pinned site to be their default email client? That way when they click on a mailto: link they won't get confused beyond all reason when a wizard pops up asking to configure a mail server (as if most users even knew what a mail server was).

    what outlook version exacly you are using ?

  64. jader3rd says:

    I'm talking about the case where the person doesn't have an email client configured on their computer. The only way they know how to access their email is going to hotmail, gmail, or yahoo through their browser.

  65. Todd says:

    I have to laugh at IE trying to be open and standards based but continuing to lock down IE to Windows-only. Again, why should I care about developing for IE when they can't even make a cross-platform browser.

    I also laugh at you highlighting a "feature" that's been in Firefox and Chrome for the last year (and has worked in Fluid for Mac and Prism for Windows for longer then that).