This month has seen a flurry of activity in the browser market. Chrome 10 was released earlier this month, IE9 last week and Firefox 4 this week. As a web developer, I’m pretty keen to look at the latest releases of software not only for my work, but for home use as well.
IE9 has been of particular interest to me since it is the Microsoft browsers, more than any others, that give us pain when building websites. IE6 is the oldest of the family and despite Microsoft itself trying to kill it, the thing just won’t die. That causes major problems when users want the greatest web experience that modern browsers can deliver, but we still have have to code for software that is over 10 years old and was buggy to begin with. With IE9, Microsoft continues their lurching development in the browser arena to barely keep up with every other major browser. I keep hoping Microsoft will wise up and go to faster releases, but they just keep building browsers that become outdated soon after release (sometimes before).
I can partially understand why Microsoft doesn’t implement many html5 and css3 features, but what amazes me most about IE9 is that it is such a niche product. It only runs on Windows Vista and Windows 7. Meanwhile; Chrome, Firefox, Opera and even Safari run on both OSX and Windows (even XP). I think it’s a bad sign when your competition can run on more of your own operating systems than you do.
I applaud the IE team for the massive upgrades they have made between 8 and 9, but it’s time to start getting ahead of the curve instead of just playing “Ketchup”.
Please note that while I don’t recommend actually using IE9, I do suggest you get it and consider it a security update for Vista and Windows 7.