New IE10 Platform Preview: Now With More HTML5

It has often been remarked that IE is a headache for developers — in part because Microsoft tends to prefer its own versions of web standards. With IE10, take advantage of the evolution of web standards with even more HTML5 access and features.

The Retirement of Internet Explorer

On the other hand, quite a few ‘modern’ web technologies — including XHR — were originally Microsoft innovations, only later adopted by..well, everyone else. Today, Microsoft has a brand new version, known as Microsoft Edge, as Internet Explorer 11 is set to be retired on June 15th, 2022, meaning there will no longer be support provided for users or developers alike.

While in some fundamental ways, IE9 actually handled what it was meant to handle fairly well — Chakra, for example, shows that IE9 uses less CPU time and RAM than Chrome, under Windows.

Even today, Microsoft Edge clocks in at using around 600-800 MB of RAM compared to Google Chrome’s 1.4 GB just for one browser window.

Of course, in terms of support for emerging web standards, IE9 lagged well behind its competitors. IE9 may have done some things well, but it did not do as many things as other browsers do (even if it did some cool things, like pinned sites that other browsers don’t).

Advantages of using IE10

While using Internet Explorer has not been in style for more than a decade, it is still used by many people from around the world, especially those who do not have access to updated software or hardware. Even if IE10 is not your preferred browser to work in, ensuring any website or software application that is programmed is compatible with Internet Explorer 10 is essential. Some of the advantages of using IE10 include:

  • Speed: IE10 has been updated for improved performance and speed. With Internet Explorer 10, you can enjoy fast loading speeds when browsing and when developing projects of your own.
  • User-friendly: Fortunately, the latest version of Internet Explorer is extremely user-friendly with an updated interface for easy and straightforward navigation.
  • Tab implementation: With Internet Explorer 10, you can also use tabs easily and with minimal effort. Tab implementation helps developers to work in various areas with numerous websites open simultaneously without closing another window.
  • Pinned sites: Use the new ‘Pinned Sites’ feature from Internet Explorer 10 to keep track of favorite websites or websites that are useful for resources and tools while programming.
  • Memory usage: If you are concerned about how much memory your browser is using, IE10 is typically a safe and smaller choice compared to alternative browsers such as Google Chrome. On average, Google Chrome can use anywhere between 300 MB and 1GB of memory just while browsing online. With Internet Explorer 10, you have the ability to cut the memory usage in half in most instances.
  • Flash add-on: There are enhanced add-ons available for Flash with Internet Explorer 10 for those who are interested in loading web pages with Flash or working with Flash during development.
  • Development tools: If you enjoyed Internet Explorer 9’s Developer Tools, you will be relieved to know that Internet Explorer 10 has kept the same F12 Developer Tools for quick and easy access. However, keep in mind that it is difficult to test a site that has been hosted on your machine with Internet Explorer 10 without a manual workaround. When using Developer Tools, Internet Explorer 10 automatically switches the pages you are working in into a compatibility mode by default, making it a bit more difficult to test pages locally without uploading them to your own web server(s).

Drawbacks of IE10

Unfortunately, as with any piece of software, there are also drawbacks to using Internet Explorer 10, even for those who are truly committed to Microsoft’s creations. The most notable drawbacks of using IE10 to program, develop, or browse include:

  • Lack of Flash: With Internet Explorer 10, there is no built-in Flash player or Flash support, which can make it difficult to load websites with Flash players or with Flash animations built-in to the site itself. While Flash is not inherently supported by Internet Explorer 10, it is possible to use and access Flash-based websites and applications with an Internet Explorer 10 add-on designed for enhanced Flash performance.
  • Lack of PDF support: unfortunately, it is not possible to load previews or entire PDFs when using Internet Explorer, even when you are using the most updated version of the browser. There is no PDF reader with IE10 available, which can make it difficult to access a variety of documents, for work or for personal use.
  • Outdated: Now that Internet Explorer 10 is being retired, it is considered an outdated piece of software. With little to no future updates being rolled out by Microsoft, Internet Explorer 10 will no longer provide additional features, add-ons, or plugins that may be relevant to the development or working with HTML5.

IE10: Now With More HTML5

But Microsoft promised big changes for IE10, and made available a developer preview to prove it. Diving into HTML5 can provide an array of new features for developers and designers alike.

This preview includes (expanded HTML5 support, and most impressive to me) leverages hardware acceleration (ala Chakra) to speed up graphical technologies (eg, SVG, CSS3 transforms) — check out the embedded video in the full announcement.

Microsoft highlighted a few specific HTML5 features, newly available in this developer preview:

  • Cross-Origin Resource Sharing (CORS) for safe use of XMLHttpRequest across domains.
  • File API Writer support for blobBuilder allowing manipulation of large binary objects in script in the browser.
  • Support for JavaScript typed arrays for efficient storage and manipulation of typed data.
  • CSS user-select property to control how end-users select elements in a Web page or application.
  • Support for HTML5 video text captioning, including time-code, placement, and captioning file formats.
  • Great operating system integration for various operating systems available today
  • A Metro mode is also available for those working from touchscreen smartphones and tablet devices to browse and/or to develop

Additional HTML 5 features supported by IE10 include:

  • File reader API
  • Forms validation
  • Drag and drop solutions
  • IFrame support for sandbox attributes
  • CSS3 gradients
  • Flexbox

Improvements that have been made to the IE10 browser that are beneficial to developers include:

  • The ability to run script (Web Workers API) in the background with frontend impact
  • JavaScript 5 support (adds the method JSON.parse to objects)
  • The browser’s Flash player is no longer a plugin, but is a built-in element of the browser itself.
  • The “Do Not Track” feature is automatically enabled by default, which can prevent ad trackers from harnessing web browsing data from users.

The full documentation of IE10’s HTML5 support is here, and the rest of the developer documentation here. While it seems like just yesterday, on October 26th, 2012, Microsoft released Internet Explorer 10, it’s time for support has come to an end. It is important to keep in mind that further support will no longer be available for any versions of Microsoft’s Internet Explorer following the official retirement of the browser on June 15th, 2022.

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