Release Date: July 10, 2012 (stable release)
Tech Type: Web Browser
Part III: Exploring the Tubes
There is a stench here. A smell of rot. The swampy smell of balls ass failure. I can barely fathom using this monster, this beast of the Internet. It is Internet Explorer, the web browser that slowed online innovation for years with its 6th iteration, the inventively named Internet Explorer 6. And yet… here I am using it once again. A nightmare to behold? Perhaps.
I am using all Microsoft products to report back from the front lines of Microsoft’s latest changes. I am in the thick of it and the smell is strong. This is Internet Explorer 9. It is a complete rebuild of code from the old Internet Explorer. That means many of its features were lost during the resurrection.
The first thing I notice as I cringingly begin to use the browser is its quickness. It is faster than any browser I’ve used, including Google’s Chrome browser, as it renders sites. This is refreshing. Its barebones but quick. The browser gets out of the way while the page plays center stage. This is a far departure from the clunky clutter of past Internet Explorer versions.
But how are the features it does have?
New Tabs page features the ten most popular sites you visit. Underneath that we have site discovery, Reopen closed tabs, Reopen last session, and InPrivate Browsing. These are standard web browser features and are hardly impressive, but they are necessary and appreciated. Another feature is web app pinning in the taskbar. This is really convenient and integrates well into Windows 7. This feature also shows that Microsoft is getting its head out of its ass as it transforms to Windows 8. You can basically have a dedicated pinned app for all your favorite sites (like my favorites myspace, livejournal, and broccolicocks.xxx). Very convenient.
Other new tab features include the ability to drag the tab to create a new window. This isn’t really noteworthy as all other browsers have done this for quite a while now. The great thing about this is that the new window will snap to exactly half of the screen with Aero Snap integration, unlike other browsers. Although the Internet Explorer team used to criticize Chrome for using a single address bar for search and address bar, IE 9 now has a single bar called the One Bar that encompasses search, address input, and Bing search suggestions, as well as, favorites and rss feeds.
I really enjoy the security features that come with this latest effort. The download manager’s virus detection is useful when you troll some of the sites I do (broccolicocks.xxx). IE 9 also has tab isolation so processes and plugins only occur in that single tab and do not affect the rest of the browser, this is called “sandboxing” to nerds in the know. On top of that, it adds ActiveX filtering for better protection. There is also a dedicated “Do Not Track” feature which tells sites not to bother with their efforts to track your usage.
IE 9 finally brings Microsoft’s browsing efforts up to speed with web standards as well. It does HTML5 well and in some cases better than most other browsers. Nowadays, this is really important as more web experiences become applications in and of themselves. Microsoft now has a stake in this with its latest web app efforts like Office web apps and Outlook mail.
So, it’s fast, slimmed down, and secure. For me, that’s enough, I like it. It is NOT very customizable and not very exciting in terms of innovation. I have used IE 10 and the improvements begin to become exciting, so the direction they are headed is wonderful to see, but I refuse to judge IE 9 based on what it will be in IE 10. I give this legendary browser an 8 out of 10. It’s nice to see Internet Explorer being legendary for something other than security holes and shitty, slow page loads.
Good on ya, Microsoft. The stank ass swamp is becoming a nice, clear little pond.