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Here’s what’s noteworthy in the upcoming version of Microsoft’s browser.
Microsoft recently released a Developer Preview of Internet Explorer 11 for Windows 7. Here’s what’s noteworthy in the upcoming version of Microsoft’s browser.
It’s similar to IE11 for Windows 8.1 but missing some things
IE11 is available as a Developer Preview for Windows 7 SP1 32-bit and 64-bit, as well as Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1 64-bit. It’s essentially the same as the desktop version of IE11 Preview that currently comes with Windows 8.1 Pro Preview. But there are some notable features missing, like support for certain touchscreen functionalities, high DPI screens, and the SPDY/3 protocol which helps to speed up the loading of web pages by cutting back on the number of TCP connections.
Closed captioning and other new features to HTML5 video
IE11 includes support for professional-looking closed captioning, full-screen mode viewing, and downloading and playing video without needing to cache it to your computer’s storage medium (which can help to save on the battery life of your notebook).
DRM added to HTML5 video
A controversial feature is that IE11 implements DRM technology for HTML5 video. Called Encrypted Media Extensions (EME), it lets the browser play protected media from premium streaming services, such as Netflix, without needing to go through a separate plug-in that you would have to install, such as Adobe Flash or Microsoft Silverlight. (EME is backed by Microsoft and Netflix, and also Google, So Chrome and Chrome OS include this scheme, too.)
Interactive 2D and 3D graphics through WebGL
WebGL gets supported in IE11. This web technology renders 2D and 3D graphics within a page by using your computer’s Graphics Processing Unit (GPU) hardware. These graphics can be interactive.
Images and text rendered through the GPU
Speaking of the GPU, IE11 uses this chip in your computer to help speed the rendering and display of pages. Microsoft boasts that IE11 is the first browser to natively decode JPG images in real-time by using the GPU to do so, and the first to use this hardware to render text. Besides helping to load pages faster, this technique saves on memory usage; therefore, the company claims, it reduces the power consumed by your computer, and, if IE11 is running on a mobile device, extends battery life.
Prefetching and pre-rendering links in the background
IE11 can prefetch and pre-render HTML5 links. This is a feature that can be implemented by a web developer to speed up the way pages are delivered to the browser. For example, while you are reading the first page of an article, the link that you would click leading to the second page where the article continues is silently loaded and rendered by IE11 in anticipation that you will click the link.
Loading priority assigned to important parts of a web page
IE11 is the first browser to support the W3C Resource Priorities specification. This enables a web developer to designate which parts of a page the end-user’s browser should take priority to download and render. This should help the “important stuff” on a site you visit to load up immediately, such as the main body of text you want to read, which also gives the impression that the overall page loads fast.
A more robust text editor
The built-in text editor has been improved. For the average end user, this probably won’t be apparent, but it allows developers to build web interfaces that support common editing features like pasting images, and a full-featured undo system.
New look and features added to the developer tool
IE11 includes a new-and-improved F12, the tools for developers to test and optimize their pages and web apps. (Press the F12 key to pop open a separate application that provides you access to the underlying code and other technical intricacies of the current page you’re viewing in IE11.) It shares some similar tools with, and looks more similar to the UI of, Visual Studio. New features and improvements have been added to the Console and Debugger.
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