Nine is the new seven

Microsoft released the beta for its latest incarnation of Internet Explorer  yesterday and the word is that its actually quite good.

Following four developer previews to show off the standards compliant side of the browser and its new CSS3, HTML5 and SVG abilities along with its new JavaScript engine, we finally get a peek at what UI changes Microsoft have been working on.

I’ve never been one to downright hate Internet Explorer, sure IE6 can be a pain in the ass to code for, but IE8 is actually quite good. Not great, but not bad either.

Microsoft have finally, however, brought its aging browser into the 21st century.

First and foremost IE9 is fast, very fast. In terms of start-up and page rendering it leaves previous versions in the dust.

The UI Microsoft have gone for is simplistic. Address bar and search bar are merged, file menus are gone and only a few buttons remain.

Tabs have also been moved to alongside the address bar, and while the address bar can be resized by dragging it the same way you would a window, if you are a heavy tab user then the non moveable placement of tabs might present a problem.

Other areas aren’t without problem either. The favourites bar and other menus don’t fit in with the aesthetics of the browser at all and feel quite out of place. Given that this is a beta, however, things are likely to change come the final release.

The beta really shines when it comes to Windows 7 integration.

Developers can easily add Jump lists to their site to allow people quick navigation to some important areas of the site.

So easy in fact that I have added it to my in production site.

Check it out at:

Simply pin the site to the taskbar and right click to see some shortcuts to pages on my site.

It has been said that Microsoft has brought apps to the desktop and while these are far from full blown apps, the Win 7 integration does offer some great shortcuts and even updates for those most regularly visited sites.

Simply put IE9 is a great step in the right direction.

There is still a lot of work to do but IE9 heralds a new era in the browser wars.

Download IE9 beta now!


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