IE9: The last chance saloon for Microsoft
Careful! This post is looking a little old and could be inaccurate in many, many ways
It’s been years since any web professional has used IE in any meaningful way, instead demoting the worlds most widely used browser to an afterthought of browser testing. But could IE9 change all that?
Given the hype and announcements surrounding IE9 it would seem it will certainly change the browser landscape for the better but it might be some time until web developers start using IE9 as their default browser; the emotional scars are just too great.
So what is IE9 all about?
Simply put it has to be the most radical Internet Explorer since version 6, because rather than simply identify their users as the average home user they are now addressing the wants and needs of those that create the web. In doing so they are including into IE9 a wealth of new web technologies that either match or surpass their competitors. This will finally put IE back on a level playing field and create a browser developers are unable to criticise.
What could go wrong?
Well of course everything could go wrong. While IE is playing the catch up game the other browsers have already been playing with the shiny new web toys of HTML5 and CSS3 and in all this time have been perfecting their implementation of these. If IE9 is to have any success and not repeat what has happened with IE6 then they need to ensure what they are pushing into IE9 is implemented correctly. It is likely something will be missed (even Google Chrome has screwed some things up) so really IE need a way to push updates to the browser without user action. This way they can fix the browser after release and react to our needs quickly rather than having to save up problems to fix in the next version. If Microsoft gets this browser wrong then it could be the nail in the coffin for IE.
But what if it all goes right?
Could we all be using IE9 to develop websites? Of course if IE9 is as good as they say and that the majority of IE users move to IE9 it makes sense for us to develop sites in the browser that the greatest number of people will view it in. But as I already mentioned the scars of previous IE versions are still there to see and it could take some convincing for people to return to a Microsoft branded world. The best hope for IE is to get the new breed of web professionals using it, but this could be a 10+ year plan and I’m sure Microsoft won’t be so patient as to wait.
Unfortunately we still have a small wait till be cane play with the new IE9 beta and even longer till it’s finally released. Then we should truly find out how good it is, but then still to be of any worth it will need to find its way onto peoples desktops, and that could take some time.