Monday, August 6, 2012

Web Browsing with Windows 8 and IE10

Web Browsing with Windows 8  and IE10

The upcoming release of Windows 8 will ship with version 10 of Internet Explorer and feature a newly designed Operating System interface named Metro. Metro is similar to the Windows Phone interface currently used by Microsoft on smart phones. Its main goal is to improve touch screen navigation along with traditional mouse and keyboard input for an immersive web browsing experience. Metro is a tile-based interface, each tile represents an application, web page or social media feed. A metro application typically runs in full-screen mode and utilizes a new set of runtime libraries or HTML markup to construct the UI.

IE10 plays an important role in Windows 8 since it interacts with the Metro interface and can also be run in the traditional Windows Desktop view, both modes use the same rendering engine. IE10 will not support plug-ins or ActiveX components but will include a version of Adobe Flash Player that has been improved for use with a touch screen interface.

The rendering engine in IE10 contains many improvements and support for HTML5 and CSS3. Examples of the multiple rendering engine enhancements are: Touch sensitive areas on a page react based on touch or mouse navigation, the ability to adapt website layouts to any device and multiple styling enhancements such a text-shadow and built-in support for OpenType  fonts.
A preview of some of these features can be seen at

When IE10 starts, it runs in full screen mode, swiping the screen reveals the top navigation section which contains a  list of active websites and the footer which contains the navigation controls such the back, address bar, refresh, tools, pin and forward controls. Right click options are limited on IE10, for example there are no options to view the image source or size, holding a finger on a link will only allow to copy and paste it but additional options that exist in IE9 such as view Encoding have been removed.

In IE10 websites can be pinned. This means that the sites will be added as tiles to the desktop. An existing site, when pinned will display on the desktop as a tile using a generic color and IE logo. It is expected that sites will add additional programming to supply a customized icon and description when pinned, an alternative is to supply a metro App to wrap the site content in the same way smart phone and table Apps do. Sites that supply an App are marked with a plus sign in the footer, which allows the developers to redirect the web site to the Microsoft Store to download or purchase the corresponding App for their device. The goal is to create integrated web sites that can be used across all platforms.

Initial tests by Ziff Davis labs indicate that IE’s performance is better than Chrome and FireFox in some areas but not really fit for sites that make extensive use of JavaScript. It is expected that performance will be improved on the final version.

Conclusion: IE10 has been labeled as “the best version of Internet Explorer yet”. The interface enhancements allows the user  to fully experience the content of a website. Web designers that plan on taking full advantage of the Metro version of IE need to keep in consideration that there is no browser interface therefore the site will behave as a standalone App in the same way that is done in mobile devices such as tablets and smart phones, fortunately with support for HTML5 and CSS3 the browser should support all modern design elements. IE10 has been promised to run on Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows Server 2008 R2 and Windows Server 2012 and has been should be available in August 2012.