This article was originally published on March 14, 2012.
Internet / Technology
Exploring Internet Explorer 10
Windows Internet Explorer 10 (abbreviated as IE10) is the next version of Internet Explorer currently being developed by Microsoft, and the successor to Internet Explorer 9. New details have been revealed by Microsoft about its forthcoming IE10 web browser, which will be the default for Windows 8.
IE10 is already available for Windows 7 in a limited version, but two new versions will ship when Windows 8 launches later this year. One will be optimised for touchscreens and tablets, while the other will be a more conventional desktop version. Only the latter will run ‘plug-ins’ which add extra web functionality.
IE10 expands on Internet Explorer 9 functionality in regards to CSS 3 uptake and hardware acceleration. The so-called Metro version of IE10 will allow websites to be pinned to the home screen, which looks like a Windows Phone home screen, just as they can currently be pinned to the taskbar. Windows 8 will offer full-screen browsing that is augmented by the ‘charms’ for sharing and printing that swipe in from the side of the screen when required.
Adopting a similar approach to Google’s popular Chrome browser, IE10 will use tiles for favorite websites and most used sites. “IE10 takes a clean, “low nag” approach to notifications. All alerts and user prompts come through a notification bar at the bottom of the screen. IE uses Windows 8 Metro style “fly-outs” when more interaction is needed.”
With Google and Mozilla both promising their own Windows 8 Metro style browsers, Microsoft has placed a lot of focus on its touch, performance, and security improvements for the Metro version of Internet Explorer 10.
Simple usability improvements include swiping backwards and forwards (with a touch screen) in the browser to mimic the back / forward buttons typically found in a traditional browser. Mouse users can find the web transport controls to the side of the Metro IE10 interface.
Outside of IE10 Metro, Windows 8 users can also pin sites to the Metro Start Screen. Pinned sites will include a site’s color and favorite icon and can even provide background notifications for new messages and other activity from a website.
In private browsing has also been extended to run per-tab rather than per-session and Microsoft is using a new Force ASLR option in IE10 to randomize the location of all modules loaded into memory by the browser. The protection has been added to the Windows 8 kernel and will be back ported to Windows 7 as an update for Internet Explorer 10 on that particular platform.
The navigation bar appears only when you ask for it. Internet Explorer 10 showcases a pure HTML5 browsing experience free of add-ons and plug-ins that can slow performance. Microsoft’s security improvements for Internet Explorer 10 include an “Enhanced Protected Mode” sandbox, for what the company describes as better isolation of website content in each tab.