With the third developer preview of Internet Explorer 9, Microsoft is kicking up a notch HTML5 support. The company has been dangling the promise of supporting additional aspects of HTML5 in front of developers and early adopters already testing Internet Explorer 9 for quite some time now. Well, as of Platform Preview 3 Build 18.104.22.168.74.6000 released on June 23rd, 2010, IE9 plays nice with canvas, video and audio elements of HTML5.
The best thing about IE9’s support of < video >, < canvas > and < audio >, and one of the aspects that give the successor of Internet Explorer 8 an edge when compared with rival browsers is that all the elements mentioned above are hardware accelerated. This means that IE9 will leverage the power of the graphics cards in concert with DirectX 11 in order to deliver a performance superior to that of rival browsers, including Firefox, Chrome, Opera, etc.
But the best way for users to test the advances in IE9 Platform Preview 3 is to download the release, and to head over to the IE Test Center. Microsoft has published a range of HTML5 tests for early adopters to try out IE9, including for the canvas, video and audio elements.
“Like all of the graphics in IE9, canvas is hardware accelerated through Windows and the GPU. Hardware accelerated canvas support in IE9 illustrates the power of native HTML5 in a browser. We’ve rebuilt the browser to use the power of your whole PC to browse the web. These extensive changes to IE9 mean websites can now take advantage of all the hardware innovation in the PC industry,” Dean Hachamovitch, general manager, Internet Explorer, revealed.
“Try the Asteroid Belt sample and Fish Tank sample on the test drive site to see hardware accelerated Canvas in action. Together with Amazon, we built a book shelf sample showing the potential for bringing the richness of hardware accelerated canvas into an interactive e-commerce experience,” he added.
“Similarly, we partnered with the Internet Movie Database (IMDB) to build the Video Panorama sample to demonstrate the possibilities for bringing hardware accelerated HTML5 Video and graphics interactivity together to create new applications and experiences. Our focus is on delivering a complete, highly interoperable implementation of canvas, video, and audio that makes the most of the full power of the PC,” Hachamovitch said.
It is also important for developers to know just what exactly is supported in terms of HTML5 in IE9 Platform Preview 3. Build 22.214.171.124.74.6000 plays nice with all Canvas element APIs and the majority of Canvas 2D Context APIs and attributes. Users will be able to enjoy HTML5 video via the MP4 H.264 codec. For the time being, there is no support for WebM, but this will change in the future, provided that users have a VP8 codec installed in Windows. As far as the audio element is concerned, support has been introduced for MP3 and AAC but also the window.msPerformance API (which is a work in progress).
Internet Explorer 9 (IE9) Platform Preview 3 Build 126.96.36.199.74.6000 is available for download here.