At 04:00 this morning (UK-time) Microsoft released the latest version of its Web browser software Internet Explorer 9. Needless to say I didn’t stay up for the launch… although, thanks to my youngest son I was awake at that time.
Why 4am?! Well, seemingly it coincided with the official launch during the South by Southwest (SXSW) conferences and festivals in Austin, Texas.
The road to IE9
I was genuinely excited following the development of IE9. Over the years it’s become almost fashionable to be negative about Internet Explorer; Internet Exploder.
Hey! I have a poster on my wall in the office that says “God made the earth in 1 day and then spent the next 5 trying to make it look good in Internet Explorer 6”. And another that says “Keep calm and debug IE6”.
I found Internet Explorer 7 a disappointment. It fixed some of the IE6 bugs but introduced a few new ones. It was reminiscent of the Philip Larkin poem ‘This be the verse’:
They fill you with the faults they had
And add some extra, just for you.
IE8 was an a great improvement over both IE6 and IE7 but it was still lagging in terms of keeping up Web standards.
So IE9 had a lot to live up to if it was to claw back respect in the Web development community. And from what I was reading on the IE9 blog and in the Web-media I was genuinely quite excited about the prospect of a Microsoft browser holding its own alongside Firefox, Opera and Google Chrome.
What’s it like?
Having checked out a couple of the beta releases and the release candidate during the last 6 months or so, my initial excitement was quickly crushed.
Each version of IE9 beta plus the release candidate broke my personal homepage that I run on my ‘localhost’ webserver, installed on my PC.
It wasn’t a huge deal, the code is pretty old now and clunky, but it was very disappointing as it has worked perfectly in IE6, IE7, IE8; Firefox 1.0 – 4.0 RC; Opera 7 – 11.1; Safari 3 – 5; Chrome 1.0 – 10.0; and even some archaic versions of Netscape, so why not IE9?!
In installing the final version this evening, however, I was pleasantly surprised. My homepage now works perfectly in IE9.
IE9 is fast—really fast. It starts in only a few seconds and having checked out a few websites and web applications it handles them at an impressive speed too.
I look forward to checking out IE9 more in the future. In the meantime I welcome their “Internet Explorer 6 Countdown” campaign which is dedicated to ensuring that usage of Internet Explorer 6 drops to less than 1% worldwide. It currently has around 12%.