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Microsoft IE 9 Released

by Alex Blewitt on Mar 15, 2011 |

Microsoft released IE9, its flagship internet browser, at the SxSW conference yesterday. This brings IE into closer alignment with current web browsers, as it introduces some level of HTML5 support and achieves a 95% pass rate on the Acid 3 tests.

The most notable feature of IE9 is its speed. With a background thread for JIT compilation of JavaScript and hardware acceleration, it feels much faster in performance than its predecessors. There are other user interface updates to fit in with Windows 7, including “pinned sites” which give you a quick link from the shortcut bar to a web page.

The addition of HTML5 features such as the HTML History API will enable more user friendly websites/applications to be written without needing to invoke the hashbang syntax which was largely derided when sites like gawker disappeared from Google's caches.

Also supported is the video tag; out of the box, it supports hardware accelerated H.264 video decoding – though you can add WebM/VP8 plugins for decoding other codecs if you want to. And, taking a leaf out of Chrome's book, each tab is isolated from each other which should result in a better browsing experience for sites which cause crashes.

Developers looking to build HTML5 applications will appreciate the new features that IE9 brings, and although it's only supported on Windows Vista and Windows 7, it's highly likely that this will be the starting point of the end of older variants of IE such as IE 6 and 7. It's unlikely IE 9 will be adopted significantly in the enterprise until the first couple of patch sets are released, but this is the start of something good for the IE browsing platform.

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Processes by Patrick Julien

IE8 also ran its tabs in individual processes but the similarities with Chrome end there.

Chrome's child processes are renderers without a UI that render to shared memory and communicate with Chrome using a pipe. They have minimal privileges and on Windows, run on another desktop, isolated from the rest of the system. They have no access to User, GDI objects or the registry. They can't open files for reading or writing (unless installed on FAT32 on XP) and on Vista and higher, they can't open sockets and are run in the "low integrity" process level.

IE tab processes run a full UI, run on the same desktop than the user, they have to because they run the UI, they process window messages.

All this to say, even if you find a bug you can exploit in Chrome, you're stuck in a sandbox, IE is still swiss cheese

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