IE9 for Windows Phone Mango in the Spotlight

IE9 for Windows Phone Mango in the Spotlight

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This week in New York, Andy Lees introduced Windows Phone “Mango” to the world, which includes IE9 Mobile. This announcement and associated demos built upon last month’s MIX11 conference, where Joe Belfiore demonstrated our latest progress on bringing Internet Explorer 9 to Windows Phone during his keynote address. IE9 Mobile represents a huge jump forward for us on the mobile platform, effectively unifying our underlying code base for the browser with the desktop version. In this post, I’d like to outline some of the main principles we’re following as we build IE9 Mobile.

Hardware-Accelerated HTML5 and Graphics

As Joe (or “JoeB”, as we like to call him) showed during his keynote, we’re taking advantage of the hardware available to us on the phone to ensure a high-performance experience for the user. We’ve also incorporated our brand-new “Chakra” JavaScript engine, which provides another level of performance boost to your Web applications.

This bump in performance means that you, as a Web developer, can create great sites for the mobile Web that perform like native applications and give users a rich, immersive experience. We expect that mobile HTML5 applications are going to build on this foundation and deliver game-like interactivity and movie-quality graphical richness to the user experience. We built IE9 to anticipate the rise of these modern, high-performance Web applications by using the phone’s hardware to accelerate all the graphics and text that gets drawn on the screen.

Joe’s demo showed that we’re already off to a great start in the area of performance, and we’re excited to see how developers will use this great performance to drive the mobile Web forward.

Great Support for HTML5

Speaking of HTML5, it is clearly quickly gaining traction, but nowhere is that happening more quickly than in the mobile arena. In a somewhat ironic twist thanks to the relative youth of most modern mobile browsers, it’s much more likely that a mobile user’s device will have the capabilities to support many of HTML5’s features, and IE9 on Windows Phone is no exception.

As Joe showed in the keynote, we’ve built in great support for HTML5 Audio, Canvas, and Video. Just like native applications, our audio stream will continue to play in the background when the browser is not the front-most app. We’ve even integrated support for HTML5 audio with the phone’s volume and playback controls, giving the user a nice integrated experience that they expect on Windows Phone 7.

But we’ve also paid close attention to the under-the-covers stuff, like DOM Local Storage, the DOMContentLoaded event, support for the new semantic markup elements, etc. that you need to make your Web pages sing in the HTML5 era.

Same Markup

We’re focused on the principle of “same markup” – that is, you shouldn’t have to write a whole bunch of custom code to get your mobile Web sites to look and work well on IE9 on WP7. By using established modern standards such as HTML 4/5, CSS 2/3, and ECMAScript 5, you can create mobile-optimized Web sites that work great on a variety of browsers, including ours.

To accomplish this, we are implementing accepted Web standards that are stable and site-ready inside of IE9 Mobile. In places where specifications are incomplete or ambiguous, we are looking to other implementations. This is very similar to how we approached CSS2.1 in IE8 – we delivered a high quality CSS implementation by sticking to the standard, and we are going to continue along this path to make mobile HTML5 applications easier to write and maintain.

Even in cases where a Web site has not been tuned for the mobile scenario, it will still look and work well on IE9 Mobile, given our increased support for standards and the work we’ve done to provide great rendering experiences for desktop sites on Windows Phone.

Support for Key Mobile Features

Of course, we also have to focus on the fact that IE9 on Windows Phone has to function well as a mobile Web browser application and developer platform. To that end, we’ve included full support for CSS3 Media Queries, support for using GPS when working with Geolocation, and some mobile enhancements for layout (like controlling text scaling) and the Viewport. We’ve even changed the way we render our form elements to look more like native “Metro”-styled controls to ensure that users have a consistent experience across native applications and Web sites.

The browser user interface has changed too, in order to devote more of the available screen real estate to your sites. We’ve collapsed the URL edit field and refresh button down into the Application Bar, which allowed us to get rid of the top status bar and allow your sites to really shine through.

MIX was Just the Beginning

Now that we’ve shown what IE can do when a great team of developers puts it on a phone, we’re looking forward to seeing what you can do with it. We’ll have much more information to release soon - tools for the next version of Windows Phone will be available shortly, and we want to hear your feedback. It is our goal and mission to make IE Mobile a great Web developer platform, and you are a key piece of that puzzle. Our inbox is always open – send us feedback, let us know what you like and would want to see improved, and tell us about your sites!

18 Comments
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  • Where can I get information on how to control the double click to zoom functionality in the browser?

    Basically, the browser mostly do a good job zooming in to given elements for instance an image. If I  double click in an image, the browser zooms in in such a way that the width of the image takes the whole width of the device. I love that.

    However, some times the browser doesn't know how to zoom when clicking in a table or some times it zooms way too much like when double clicking in text with many text boxes.

    I would like to be able to catch the double click event and specify what element to use for zooming.

    For instance, in a div with a bunch of text and textboxes I would like to use the div as the element that the browser uses to zoom in. If a user double clicks inside of the div box (probably hitting one of the text boxes) I would like to override the automatic zoom to display the textbox nicely, in favor of zooming in to the width of the div box.

    If this is possible, then the user interface would behave in a predictable optimized way.

  • Flash is a thorn in the side of thoughtful development. It's Adobe's fault it's a security and memory dog, not Microsoft's nor Apple's. I say good ridance.

  • Will the version for conditional comments be updated to IEMobile 9?

  • Leigh
    89 Posts

    @Paranoid888 No on the back button.  If the phone's back button doesn't work right, let's fix that, not throw away the entire concept for one functionality.  If we go along that path, we'll have an android phone with everything working different in each app.  That would be totally juxtopposed to everything WP7 stands for.

    Remember, this is also a phone for the masses, so it has to be easy, consistent, intelligent and delightful.

    Enjoy Windows Phone 7!

    -e

  • KR
    503 Posts

    I will like the address bar to be able to disappear just as Opera mobile on Omnia 2,I love browsing in landscape and full screen,but having all the functionalities while in landscape

  • Its not easy to post from wp7 when one wants to set the cursor it will post, so ignore the last silly msg. I agree with the tabs button. Its to important to be removed from the bar. You could have the address bar slightly smaller when choosing the addreess bar (url), it would grow on that moment. I am always tabbing.

  • Any chance of being able to choose to browse with graphics turned off for when on a slow cellular network? Maybe the same way that graphics are not downloaded in email.

  • I like the address bar moving to the bottom, that's a nice usability tweak. But we need a button for bringing up the tabs, removing that is going too far. I also think IE desperately needs it's own back button because using the phone's back button doesn't always work properly. Lots of scenarios when you switch apps and then go back to IE and lose browser history - or will the multitasking solve this?

  • Leigh
    89 Posts

    @Gurtej   Since IE0 supports WOFF (Web Open Font Format), I expect that the Apple browsers will follow suit.  In short, Microsoft is already where it needs to be, and, in this instance, Apple needs to catch up.

    I would also like to see Flash on WP7.1.  I don't want to jinx us, but Microsoft said they are not done with the Mango announcements.

    I know Flash is the present, and HTML5 is the future, for the most part, but with Flash we'd be able to see so much more of "today's" web.

    Enjoy Windows Phoine 7!

    -e

  • @Kenny Rawlins yes i have seen MS saying about this 2 issues: security and we dont need it. Security might be controlled by MS. We dont need it.. just lol. We who? We Microsofties? Are they kidding us? The end users NEED IT and WANT IT.

    Again its the 4 most voted feature.

  • KR
    503 Posts

    the flash issue is up to adobe, but Microsoft in the first place doesnt want it on WP7 as they say its not so secured and memory consumming and that we dont need it,but we users have to make the choice on what we need and what we don't.and more than 70% of websites still rely on flash and so will it be until atleastt 2014,things just don't change from one day to another,look how long smartphones have been on the market,but what percentage do they occupy in the world mobile phone community??

    i dont mind having html5 instead of flash,but what is the point having it when just about 20% of the web use it??and the remaining 70% which makes use of flash contain websites which dont have substiitutes running html5.conclusion microsoft should open the way to flash

    another example is to look at what perentage of the world still runs XP on their PCs??i work for the government and i bet you the whole of our ministry use windows XP for all work computers

    @Tiago Fouto,you're very right regarding the html5 ad banners and publicity

  • Well about Flash on Android is not really bad, at all. I think with wp7, MS could make Flash integrated with security restricted.

  • sich
    4 Posts

    >> it would exist a setting which enable/disable flash and if MS really wants a warning

    Agree with you on that, but even in this case, flash add-in for the browser, as I understand, cant be added as easy as arbitrary app, written against .net. It should probably be cooperative work of MS and Adobe to natively integrate flash player into IE.

    Also, don't forget that flash is not only a performance issue, its also a security one. And (most of) users don't care about the origins of the problems with their devices (as well as computers), they forget about warnings very quickly. This is why Apple is also so strict about flash - they don't want to loose their quality reputation because of reviews of the users who don't care about finding problem origins. In other words, if Adobe's code leads to battery short life or security threat - the guilty will be MS or Apple, not Adobe.

  • Gurtej
    24 Posts

    I would rather like to see Universal Unicode fonts support in IE9 (like iPhone) on WP7.1 instead of Flash.

  • well sich the future its just html 5 ad banners and publicity as well dont get fooled. So should we expect to live in the future? We have a nice browser which would be great in next year+? Flash is everywhere and among ad banners, there's also flash site content's, videos, etc, etc... You dont want to see on your phone ok, but the majority of people disagree with you. It would be nice if it would exist a setting which enable/disable flash and if MS really wants a warning saying: Attention enabling Flash might pose performance degradation. I and the majority wont care anyway we would use it enabled. Its one of the most annoying things since i moved from Android, and maybe one that might be decisive on choosing my next phone. MS please a little less arrogance, be attentive to wp7 needs not what you think is good or not. The users know better want they want then you.

  • sich
    4 Posts

    Tiago Fouto,

    >> Over 70% of web videos and media on the internet require flash

    For this purpose HTML5 was introduced, and this is the way all the web sites should deal with audio/video in the nearest feature. The rest of flash in the web - mostly ad banners which everybody hates. Flash games is another flash content which I don't wanna see on my phone.

  • IE9 mobile seems really fine. But please bring it Flash. 'We wp7 end-users' need it. Check it out:

    windowsphone7community.uservoice.com/.../1189865-ability-to-play-flash-video-and-flash-media

    4th most wanted feature.

  • hades32
    21 Posts

    Nice that you support Geolocation, BUT WHY DO YOU DISABLE IT IN COMPATIBILITY MODES?! Quite same pages use old (and thus more "compatible" markup) and as soon as IE falls back into IE-x (x<9) mode the geolocation object isn't available anymore.