Sunday, December 19, 2010

A Week With IE9 (beta)

Last month I posted some thoughts on Chrome and with a significant amount of time and thought, I eventually made it my default browser. I wanted to give the other platforms equal time, so I am taking a block of time and changing my default browser to give them all a fair shake. I will admit that my planned week using Internet Explorer 9 was a bit sidetracked by a surprise delivery this week from Google. More on that in the next post. For now, the Show must go on.

Internet Explorer 9

For those of us lucky enough to have Windows 7 and get to enjoy the ease of use, better security features, a simpler user interface, and many other small but necessary tweaks, we get the privilege of making an optional upgrade to the newest Internet Explorer. Users that still have Vista also get the optional upgrade, but hopefully people are not holding out with Vista. Make the upgrade. You'll thank me later.

I have to admit out of all the browsers I've been looking at either in a desktop environment or now in the mobile space, IE9 wins hands down for most improved. It has made several changes for the better. In fact, the more time I spend with the browser, the more tempted I am to keep this as my default browser. Here's why:

The look and feel. Internet Explorer 7 and 8 were such a breath of fresh air from version 6 that we all overlooked the clunky design. For a minute. With the new version, the feel is more natural. Now this organic change and feel is probably because it now more resembles modern browsers Firefox and Chrome. The key difference is this browser fits so perfectly within Windows 7. The feel is more second nature and less like a weighed down application sitting on my desktop. IE9 is noticeably faster!

This carries over from the updated command bar, the location and feel of the tabs, the new tab page, and now the ability to search in the address bar. Yes, this is all catch up to other browsers, but I almost feel as though IE caught up then briefly and for one second passed their contenders. There's ability now to drag and pin bookmarks to the taskbar, the download manager is infinately improved, even the newly located notification bar to the bottom of the screen is a refreshing change.

Some of the biggest changes are more subtle. There are quite a few game changing fixes under the hood. With increased support for HTML 5, the browser is going to be able to evolve with the web over the next few years. There are increased web standards over previous versions, but there is still a long way to go. Any improvement now is note worthy. A good demonstration of some of these advancements for those who have the newest version of Internet Explorer is to try their test pages. I like the fish tank.

There's still a small journey overall for the people that work on IE9, but these changes will catapult them into creating a simple and hopefully more stable browser by IE10. My hope more than anything is that soon people will not associate Windows and failure. For me, the OS has preformed flawlessly and I want everyone to share that experience. This gets us in that right direction. I think others will feel this too.

More info:
About IE9
Test Drive