First look at Internet Explorer 9 Platform Preview

After unveiling Internet Explorer 9 for the first time at the Professional Developers Conference in 2009, Microsoft has finally made a first version of its new browser available for download.

Internet Explorer 9 Platform Preview

Well, not exactly. What you get when hitting the download link on Microsoft’s website is not what I’d call a web browser; it’s more of a web-capable playground with a bunch of testing links that lets you check all the new features included in the all new Internet Explorer 9.

A stripped-down tool with testing material provided by the developers themselves is not really the perfect environment for trying out a brand new web browser. But at least Microsoft allows us to take a sneak peek at the new capabilities coming up in Internet Explorer 9, even if it’s still at a very early stage of development. It’s great to see how the new JavaScript multicore engine is much faster, and renders seamless, smooth animations in graphics, text and maps.

Internet Explorer 9 Platform Preview

Most of the tests are oriented to developers and web designers, so that they can have a look at the browser’s new features and start thinking about ways to implement those in their future apps and designs. This means that if you’re not a developer or web designer, you’ll probably find them a bit too cryptic. However you can still have some fun testing the HTML5 T-Shirt designer or the Asteroids clone created to demo GPU-powered HTML5 graphics.

Internet Explorer 9 Platform Preview

Internet Explorer 9 Platform Preview

Besides demos to try the browser’s functionality, Internet Explorer 9 Platform Preview also includes a few test results to evaluate its performance, speed and standards compliance, with uneven scores. While the JavaScript SunSpider test puts Internet Explorer clearly over Opera and Firefox in terms of JavaScript engine speed, Microsoft is still failing the Acid3 test – showing a shameful 55/100 score.

Internet Explorer 9 Platform Preview

Then again, this is just a very early preview that still has a long way to go. According to Microsoft, there’ll be a new updated version every eight weeks, so we’ll keep an eye on it and keep you informed of any important new features.

Have you tried Internet Explorer 9 Platform Preview yet? What do you think of it?

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