Testing Internet Explorer 9 Beta 1

Internet Explorer 9, Microsoft's attempt to make their browser relevant once again and stop the declining shares of IE in the market. For web developers, it is a wish come true. A wish that Microsoft will (once again) take web standards seriously.

And they are giving us more than what a lot of us are expecting from them - an HTML5 and CSS3 browser.

But this is not what this post is all about, I have a separate article for that. This post is about the things I noticed and things I tested after installing Internet Explorer 9 Beta 1 on my Windows 7 Ultimate partition.

These are:

  • Web Open Font Format ("WOFF") support
  • IE 32-bit vs. 64-bit
  • JavaScript errors that keeps popping on my screen
  • Real XHTML support

Web Open Font Format ("WOFF")

I am very happy to finally test and see with my own eyes IE supporting the new Web Open Font Format or WOFF. All IEs prior to version 9 only reads Microsoft's EOT font format which no other browser on Earth supports. And the other font formats the other browsers support, all pre-IE9 IEs doesn't care at all. (Ironically, font foundries highly prefer EOT for web font, so you see the deadlock here.)

With the creation and presentation of WOFF, and how font foundries and all of IE's competitors giving their commitment, IE gave their support after. Problem solved. What do I mean? Check the two screenshots below:

As you can see above, EOT can not render Unicode scripts with diacritical marks correctly. It adds a space in replace of the diacritical mark (where it should have been if the mark did not moved to the left character/glyph). But it is also possible that my EOT file generated via Font Squirrel's @font-face Generator was not able to encode it correctly.

Regardless, EOT is a font format that I can not understand at all and which does not have any tool for Linux users. But with WOFF, everything looks as it should be - perfect.

IE 32-bit vs. 64-bit

64-bit has been at the hands of ordinary citizens and businesses for some years already. Installing Windows 7 64-bit also installed IE8 64-bit but it is so bare it deserves a huge warning that say "unfinished project" - I can't even make Flash and Java to run in it. It's all fine and understandable.

But with IE9 they gave attention to it, thank you for that. (Mozilla, hello, 64-bit please?) Since I have a 64-bit Win7, I chose to run IE9 64-bit. It works, no problems with that but it eats a lot of memory! When I tried the 32-bit, it was pretty normal.

IE9 64-bit using a whopping 788,000 K
IE9 32-bit using only 99,000 K

And that's just viewing one site. The same result everytime I try to restart IE9 and even my PC, IE9 64-bit is currently a monster. I hope they'll be able to figure out and fix this before the final release of the browser. It is time to move to 64-bit, releasing a working 64-bit IE9 will help a lot in the adoption and migration.

JavaScript Errors

This one just keeps popping in not just one, two, three, or four websites - a lot of websites! Yes I know you can turn it off, in fact, JS error alerts are turned off by default. I intentionally turned it on because I'm testing IE9, testing my blogs, the websites of my clients, and any other websites as well. Surely, this is related to the new JavaScript engine in IE9.

Though it doesn't limit the functionalities of the affected sites (or maybe I haven't seen the effects yet), it worries me still for people who doesn't know what they're doing (by turning the alert on), they might think the site was poorly coded. Worst case, someone turned it on and they don't know what in the world is happening with all the attention grabbing pop-up errors.

I'm not saying it is a bug, what I'm saying is maybe there is some way to lessen the errors? For all the non-JavaScript people know, these sites showing errors does have poorly written, no, an age-old code.

I still have to contact the author of the Apycom jQuery drop-down menu I am using because it is messed up a little bit in IE9 when it comes to its attribution detection mechanism. And that's just one example.

Real XHTML support

More good news. IE9 supports real XHTML, meaning, it can parse XHTML as XML by sending this header: Content-type: application/xhtml+xml; charset=UTF-8. IE8 and IE7 can also read real XHTML but it is not easy to detect it correctly so we can send the correct header. IE9 in my opinion is the first IE browser that "truly" supports XHTML as XML.

Yes that is correct, if your browser can not parse XHTML as XML then regardless if your code passed with flying colors in the W3C XHTML validator, your browser is parsing it as HTML4.01 with plenty of errors like those trailing slash XHTML requires (/>), so might as well use the HTML4.01 DOCTYPE or better yet use <!DOCTYPE html>.

Final words...

There are plenty more new features that are available, these were already discussed in detail by ars technica in an article entitled Inside Internet Explorer 9: Redmond gets back in the game; and by ZDNet entitled Internet Explorer 9 beta review: Microsoft reinvents the browser.

I don't see the point repeating what they already said for this IE9 Beta 1 release so I invite you over to read their reviews.

Thank you for reading!

Download IE9 Beta 1 here.

* This post was originally posted via IE9 Beta 1. *

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