IE9 Beta was released a couple of days ago, and I’ve been using it since it was released. It’s WAY better (as in faster, and more out of the way) than for example IE8. I’ve been using Google Chrome (beta) for about two(?) years now, and I’ve been very happy with it. Chrome is fast, it works perfectly on 99% of all sites I visit and it’s out of my way. It doesn’t bug me about updates, the UI is very simple and it only takes a couple of cm in the top of the window.
I’ve always ended up with IE, for some reason. I’ve had periods where I’ve used Firefox, Chrome and even Opera (believe it or not), but after a while I’ve always ended up with IE. Now might be the time to get back to IE after two years of Chrome. Don’t get me wrong. I LOVE Chrome. It’s awesome! But now Microsoft has released the beta and it’s satisfying to use it. The key features for this release are HTML5 support, hardware acceleration, speed and stability. I know this is a beta, but I’d like Microsoft to focus more on “out of the way”. Here’s a couple of things I’d like Microsoft to fix before they release the RTM of IE9:
Closing tabs should be easier. If I’ve got three tabs open, and I want to close only one of the tab that’s not focused, I have to click on it and then click the X on the tab. In Chrome I just click the X on the tab I want to close.
Browsing favorites. In my favorites bar I’ve got 5 folders. In some cases I don’t remember where I’ve put the favorite I’m looking for, so I have to go through all maps. With the beta of IE9 I have to click every map to see it’s content. In Chrome I just click one map, and then hover the others with my mouse.
about:Tabs is confusing. In Chrome you got the same feature, but I think it’s better done in Chrome. This might be because I’m used to it, but there’s a couple of things that annoy me with IE’s implementation of this. For instance, why are there different colors on the active bars? IE uses text and favicons, instead of showing the a snapshot of the site. This makes it way slower to find the one you’re looking for.
Now over to the positive things about this release. Let’s first start with the integration with Windows 7, more specifically, the taskbar. Go to www.twitter.com and drag the favicon in front of the URL down to your taskbar. This adds twitter to your taskbar, and you can right-click the icon and you’ll see a list of common tasks for twitter; New Tweet, Direct Messages, Mentions, Favorites and Search. This is done by adding a couple of meta-tags in your site. Under you’ll see the metatags from Twitter, but other sites like Amazon, Facebook and Channel 9 have already implemented this functionallity and is ready for you to start using them.
<meta name="msapplication-task" content="name=New Tweet; action-uri=http://twitter.com/home; icon-uri=images/ie/tweet.ico" />
<meta name="msapplication-task" content="name=Direct Messages; action-uri=http://twitter.com/inbox; icon-uri=images/ie/dm.ico" />
<meta name="msapplication-task" content="name=Mentions ; action-uri=http://twitter.com/replies; icon-uri=images/ie/mentions.ico" />
<meta name="msapplication-task" content="name=Favorites; action-uri=http://twitter.com/favorites; icon-uri=images/ie/fav.ico" />
<meta name="msapplication-task" content="name=Search; action-uri=http://search.twitter.com; icon-uri=images/ie/search.ico" />
One other thing that I’ve been amazed by is the speed of the browser. It’s more or less the same speed as Chrome, at least when you’ve disabled plugins you didn’t know you had! It also uses about 1 cm less than Chrome in the top of the window, which is the way to go in my opinion. Also, the developer tools built in to the browser is easy to use and seems to support a lot of features.
Bottom line; I like the way Microsoft’s going with their browser, and I hope the RTM will be even better than this beta release!