Internet Explorer 9 Platform Preview revealed: GPU-accelerated HTML5, new JavaScript engine, more

We may have been looking to MIX10 for its juicy Windows Phone 7 series tidbits – and have you seen our demo videos of the latest apps and functionality? – but smartphones aren't the only think Microsoft want to talk to developers about.  Today has been Internet Explorer 9's turn to take to the stage, with the focus on hardware-accelerated HTML5, a new JavaScript engine and Direct 2D technology.

In its current state, the new JavaScript engine vastly out-performs IE8, as you can see in the graph below.  It's lagging behind Chrome, Safari and Opera 10.5 at the moment, but besting Firefox 3.6 (by a little, anyway), and we're promised further improvements as they tweak the script.  Part of the way Microsoft are approaching JavaScript is to run it in a separate background thread from the main browser, even on a separate CPU core if available.  That takes better advantage of multi-core processors, a decent idea given many people spend most of the time in their browsers these days.

Now, this isn't a full release of the new IE9 today, it's the company's "Platform Preview", but there are still a few downloads you can try out if you're developer-minded.  The IEBlog has several links, and they're also promising to update the preview every eight weeks in the run up to the Release Client.  In fact, they're being particularly honest about the current shortcomings of the latest build, which passes 55 out of 100 tests in benchmarking tool Acid3 (which tests for compliance with browser standards).  You can find the new Platform Preview build here.

Press Release:

Microsoft Announces Hardware-Accelerated HTML5, Pushes Boundaries on Web and Cloud Development

Microsoft releases first platform preview for Windows Internet Explorer 9, highlights commitments to jQuery and OData.

LAS VEGAS — March 16, 2010 — Industry standards and innovation took center stage at MIX10, as Microsoft Corp. made a series of announcements that underscore the company's commitment to interoperability and performance on the Web. Dean Hachamovitch, general manager of Internet Explorer at Microsoft, unveiled the Internet Explorer 9 Platform Preview including expanded support for HTML5, hardware-accelerated graphics and text, and a new JavaScript engine. Together these allow developers to use the same markup and deliver graphically and functionally rich Web applications that take advantage of modern PC hardware through a modern operating system.

Microsoft also announced that it will contribute to the development of new features and enhancements in the jQuery JavaScript Library and shared the release of new software development kits (SDKs) for the Open Data Protocol (OData) that make it easier for developers to access data from the cloud to create more compelling cross-platform Web applications.

Raising Developer Expectations With Hardware Acceleration, Increased Interoperability

As part of its commitment to interoperability, Microsoft detailed its support for a number of HTML5 specifications, including CSS3, Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG), XHTML parsing, and the video and audio tags using industry-standard (H.264/MPEG4 and MP3/AAC) codecs, among others. In addition, Microsoft demonstrated a new JavaScript engine that uses the multiple cores of today's modern chips to effectively manage computing resources and improve Web performance. By combining increased interoperability with a new JavaScript engine and Direct 2D technology, Internet Explorer 9 enables Web developers to provide users with richer experiences that render more quickly and consistently.

"I am very happy with Microsoft's commitment to the HTML Working Group and to HTML5," said Philippe Le Hegaret, W3C, Domain Leader.

"Internet Explorer 9 is the first browser to take standard Web patterns that developers use and run them better on modern PCs through Windows," Hachamovitch said.

Starting at MIX10, developers also will be able to track Microsoft's progress and provide direct feedback on the Internet Explorer 9 Platform Preview by evaluating new code refreshes approximately every eight weeks leading up to the beta release. Developers can download the Internet Explorer 9 Platform Preview at

"Internet Explorer 9 enabling GPU-accelerated HTML5 is a milestone for visual computing," said Drew Henry, general manager of GeForce and ION GPU business unit at NVIDIA Corp. "By harnessing the power of NVIDIA GPUs, Internet Explorer 9 removes the glass ceiling for Web developers, enabling them to build graphically rich, high-performing Web applications."

Increased Support of Client Development Through the jQuery JavaScript Library

As part of Microsoft's broad engagement with open source communities, Corporate Vice President Scott Guthrie today announced that Microsoft is investing resources to contribute to the development of the jQuery JavaScript Library to help improve the development process of standards-based Web applications. Microsoft will also work to provide better interoperability between ASP.NET and the jQuery JavaScript Library by enhancing ASP.NET so .NET developers can better incorporate jQuery capabilities. In addition, Microsoft will actively promote and distribute versions of the jQuery JavaScript Library by packaging it with popular products such as Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 and ASP.NET MVC 2. As a first step, Microsoft will contribute a templating engine to the jQuery JavaScript Library Team to simplify Web applications.

Creating Compelling User Experiences, Powered by the Cloud

To enable developers to build immersive, cross-platform Web and mobile applications that use data delivered from the cloud, Microsoft also released SDKs for OData, an HTTP and Atom-based approach to data portability, for a number of languages and platforms including .NET, Java, PHP, Objective-C (iPhone and Mac) and JavaScript. In addition, Microsoft announced the second Community Technology Preview (CTP) of Microsoft code-named "Dallas," an information marketplace powered by the Windows Azure platform, which provides developers with access to third-party datasets that can be consumed by Web and mobile applications. By making content and data available with an OData feed via "Dallas," developers can access and monetize their data under their terms and pricing, which can be can built into applications to deliver unique user experiences.

Today, developers can take advantage of more than 30 datasets from content providers, including NAVTEQ, Pitney Bowes Business Insight, Weather Central and, available on the "Dallas" information marketplace. Developers can access the OData SDK at and download "Dallas" CTP2 at

The latest news from MIX10 is available at