Speed and standards. Those two words sum up the goals of Microsoft’s just-released Platform Preview of its upcoming Internet Explorer 9 browser. I have to stress that there’s a good reason for calling it a “platform preview” rather than a “beta”—the code you can download from ie.microsoft.com/testdrive is not a full browser program by a long shot—there’s no Back button, let alone bookmark manager, history feature, toolbars, or any of the other features we’ve come to expect in modern Web browsers. So this hands on will be shorter than most, simply because there’s not much in the way of “user interface” or other goodies to talk about. But there’s still plenty to look at in terms of performance and standards support. And, from what we can see so far, it looks like Microsoft is on the right track.
One note about running the Preview: Don’t try installing in on any nearly-decade-old operating systems (I’m looking at you, XP): If you do, you’ll get to a dialog stating “Windows Internet Explorer Platform Preview does not support any operating system earlier than Windows Vista SP2.” And of course, don’t even think about versions for non-Windows operating systems. IE General Manager Dean Hachamovitch told me that Mac and Linux versions weren’t currently in the company’s plans….