Browser aficionados and haters alike will be overjoyed that Microsoft is keeping its promise to keep the new Internet Explorer up-to-date on Windows 7 as well as Windows 8.
The Internet Explorer 11 Developer’s Preview for Windows 7, which debuted on Thursday, introduces the most of the new features and functionality of the Windows 8.1 default browser.
Roger Capriotti, Microsoft’s marketing director for Internet Explorer, said that, like IE 10 forWindows 7, IE 11 won’t have the modern interface, but it will have performance benefits.
“We’re faster than the folks at Chrome or the folks at Firefox,” he said. “We’ve got better CPU [processing times], better usage, and better load time overall.”
In addition to usual pitch of improved overall performance, the specifics of the Windows 7 IE 11 Developer’s Preview include updated standards support and overhauled developer tools.
Repeating a talking point that’s been at the forefront of Microsoft’s campaign to revitalize its previously-moribund browser, Capriotti said that the team building IE wants developers “to spend more time developing and less time on standards.”
Most of the backend changes to IE 11 for Windows 7 are in the Windows 8.1 version. These include several firsts that result in faster site loading, according to Microsoft.
The browser is the first to implement the W3C Resource Priorities standard, so that developers can tell the browser which parts of a page to load first; it’s the first to render text on the graphics processing unit (GPU), to more directly accelerate page loading; and it’s the first to natively decodes JPG images in real-time on the GPU; which reduces overall battery drain as well as speeds up site loading.
IE 11 also includes support for WebGL, and it supports the security- and speed-focused SPDY protocol, which originated at Google. These are notable because both previously had been sniffed at by Microsoft. The ECMAScript 6 standard scripting language is supported,