I’ve received some very juicy details on the first Beta development milestone of IE9, but even though my fingers are absolutely burning, I won’t ruin Microsoft’s event tomorrow.
I will say that the Redmond company has shared the IE9 Beta with a select number of testers for a few weeks now, but just a very small group actually got to see the bits, which is evident from the fact that there was no leak of the release this time around, despite some promises to the contrary.
I will also tell you that the software giant has cooked some amazing User Interface (UI) details that are bound to be the delight of end users.
But the fact of the matter is that IE9 Beta is now just hours away, and as such users will need to exercise their patience just a tad longer.
At the same time, there are a plethora of features to get excited about, details that have already been unveiled to the public via the four Platform Preview releases of IE9.
I’m in San Francisco and I’ve just attended a small event designed as the Welcome Reception for the IE9 Big Bang from tomorrow. (pictures at the bottom of this article)
At the SOMArts Cultural Center, the Redmond company unveiled a mind-blowing new application set up to take advantage of all the technology built into Internet Explorer 9, but especially HTM5 support.
Endless Mural (www.endlessmural.com) is a project that offers users an interactive and collaborative website in HTML5.
Designed and developed by Joshua Davis Studios and Automata Studios, Endless Mural is the result of the collaboration between a few very talented people including, Joshua Davis, Ben Arditti and Mark Oliver Drilon, Branden Hall, Joel Stransky and Eric Fickes.
Made possible with the support of Microsoft and Internet Explorer 9, the project is a fully-fledged HTML5 application that is live today, and available to the public. It took approximately five weeks to put together.
In addition to bringing Internet Explorer 9 HTM5 support into the spotlight, Endless Mural is an excellent example of the applications that devs can now build, not just for IE9, but for the web.
Microsoft did not want Endless Mural to be in any way limited to IE9. As users will be able to see for themselves, the app works seamlessly across all modern browsers that support HTML5.
I’ve talked with a few members of the team, including Joshua and I must tell you that they did not hide in the least the enthusiasm over the kind of user experiences possible in the context of writing code once, and having it run seamlessly across all browsers.
They underlined that it’s not really a matter over browser plug-ins (Flash, Silverlight) vs. HTML5, but rather about the experiences that will be available right in the browser.
Sites built with HTML5 are not limited to the desktop, but span across a wide range of devices, as long as the browsers they include support the technology.
The team behind the project even demonstrated Endless Mural to me on such a mobile device, and the results are equally impressive, especially considering the slow speed of 3G.
While there is still much to be done until HTML5 will be a finalized standard, Microsoft has made an important contribution to accelerating its adoption with the support offered in Internet Explorer 9.
Endless Mural for examples required extremely little tailoring to specific browsers, showing that same markup can indeed become a reality, as soon as browser vendors, standards groups and developers will come to a consensus in relation to the technologies which need to be supported, and a consistent implementation across all browsers.
After I spoke with the people behind Endless Mural, I also had a chat with Jason Weber, Lead Program Manager for IE Performance.
I mentioned to him that Endless Mural appeared hardware accelerated, but that the developers which put together the project did not mention doing any work in this sense.
This is precisely one of the advantages of Internet Explorer 9, Weber revealed. Whether devs create HTML4 or HTML5 projects they will automatically benefit from hardware acceleration in IE9.
Microsoft’s next generation of IE is the first fully hardware accelerated browser, which means that even existing HTML websites will benefit from the extra horsepower offered by the GPU.
Remember, Microsoft launches IE9 Beta tomorrow, an event which you don’t want to miss, especially since the company has some surprises in store.
Internet Explorer 9 IE9 Beta is here (Build 9.0.7930.16406).