Microsoft ships release candidate for IE9 browser

Internet Explorer 9 is faster, uses less memory, and adds security enhancements such as tracking protection

Microsoft is offering a release candidate of its upcoming Internet Explorer 9 (IE9) browser, which is faster and includes improvements in areas such as security and JavaScript. The release candidate stage is generally the final stage before wide availability of a technology.

"The Release Candidate of Internet Explorer 9, available now at www.BeautyOfTheWeb.com in 40 languages, reflects our unique approach to building the best experience of the Web on Windows," said Microsoft's Dean Hachamovitch, corporate vice president for Internet Explorer, in a blog post on Thursday.

[ Also on InfoWorld: IE9 is closing the HTML5 gap and now supports more HTML5 features. | HTML5 will spawn richer, more sophisticated websites while also easing development. See "How HTML5 will change the Web." | Stay up to date on the key developments in Microsoft and Windows technology with InfoWorld's Technology: Microsoft newsletter. ]

Users will find that Gmail, Office Web Apps, and other websites will run faster as a result of scenario tuning, network cache tuning, and compiler optimizations, Hachamovitch said, and fewer megabytes of memory are used. IE9 also provides performance improvements for text, layout, HTML5 canvas and video, and improvements have been made to extend battery life, he added.

IE9 supports standards such as CSS3 2D Transforms along with HTML semantic elements. "With this Release Candidate we've added over a thousand new test cases for JavaScript and updated over 50 test cases based on community feedback," said Hachamovitch.

For security reasons, Microsoft has made it easy to turn off ActiveX for all sites and re-enable it, he said. Also new in IE9 is a Tracking Protection capability that boosts privacy. Tracking Protection lists can be used to either block or allow third-party content.

During the next few weeks Microsoft plans to solicit feedback from users and will automatically update IE9 beta users to the release candidate. Afterward, release candidate users will be automatically updated to the final build that will come shortly, Hachamovitch said.

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