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New Internet Explorer Focuses on Developers

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Mainstream web browsers Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome have long offered preview builds which allow developers to test upcoming browser changes before they make it into the mainstream.  Now Microsoft is offering the same for Internet Explorer with their preview build called Internet Explorer Developer Channel (IEDC).  This build of IE is supported for use on Windows 8.1 and Windows 7 Service Pack 1.  As it is a developer-focused build, it can be installed side-by-side with your existing copy of IE. 

Having a developer build available brings Microsoft into line with its competitor’s, and continues Microsoft’s plan to increase transparency into the overall development process of Internet Explorer that was communicated in May. 

The IEDC build does more than just offer the ability to test new IE features, it also provides access to a more comprehensive set of F12 Developer Tools.  The profilers for Memory usage and UI responsiveness have been improved and benefit from the ability to filter events so that it is easier to focus on the desired metrics.  IEDC brings event breakpoints to the debugging process, and more keyboard shortcuts have been added.

IEDC also includes support for the Gamepad W3C draft specification to enable web browser support for gamepads and remotes used during presentations (think of the common slideshow clicker).  Without this support, web browsers have had to rely on workarounds that meant gamepads were treated as devices that sent keyboard strokes or mouse clicks.  In conjunction with gamepad support, IEDC has improved WebGL performance and higher conformance on the Khronos WebGL Conformance Test.

Since this is a developer build, proper testing plays an important part and IEDC supports the WebDriver W3C draft specification which allows automated tests to be written which can control and examine web browser behavior during its operation. 

IEDC is available for download now via the modernIE site but note that you will want Windows PowerShell 3 installed first.   As this release is targeting developers, it is recommended to not run this in an enterprise setting.  The ability to run side-by-side with your existing version of IE is possible through App-V, so there is a small performance hit involved which could impair the accuracy of performance testing.

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