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Internet Explorer 9 RC

Last week, Microsoft pushed out the Release Candidate version of IE9. Somewhat overshadowed by the Nokia-Microsoft partnership announcement, the release nonetheless came as a pleasant surprise. I updated to it almost straight away from the beta version I had been running. Installation was smooth and went without any hitches. A single reboot later and I was in business.

Visually, the RC release is near similar to the Beta, but it has some improvements. The ability to have your tabs on a row below the address bar is natural feeling for one, it’s how almost every browser does it. I’ve finally figured out where the RSS button vanished off to as well, it’s part of the Command Bar which needs to be explicitly enabled for the button to be visible. I honestly think that it’s not a good place for the button to be, as it will get overlooked very easily.

Performance wise, the RC is feeling faster than the Beta, and it appears to be compatible with far more sites than the beta was. I’ve found myself needing to use the compatibility button a lot less with this version so far. Even on my dog slow 384k ADSL line, pages load damn fast. From an unofficial and completely subjective point of view, it’s about as fast as Chrome on many of the sites I’ve visited.

Stability wise, it’s been good so far at home, though a little less so at work. I’ve found that although the RC plays well enough with Spiceworks, updating a ticket status causes the tab to crash. Hopefully that will get fixed in the final release of IE.

The one major impression I’m taking away with IE9 is that with its almost 100% standards support and massive speed increase, organisations have little to no reason to want to move to another browser unless for specialist reasons. Internet Explorer is still king of manageability vie Group Policy, something no competing browser has or seems to want to have. If Firefox had Group Policy control built into it, it could have murdered IE years ago in the corporate market, but for whatever reason, it never added such support.

Overall, I’m keen to get to the final release of IE9. I am also grateful to all the competition for forcing Microsoft to become innovative again when it comes to web browsing. Battle for market share is really going to hot up soon I think, IE9 is going to surprise many people.

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