During its annual MIX conference, Microsoft has announced that Internet Explorer 10 (IE10) is available for download in a “preview” form today. This is not the final product, and it will evolve over time, but if you want to take it for a ride, here’s the download url.
In most ways, IE10 continues what IE9 had started: Microsoft is still committed to HTML5 and CSS3, but it thinks that it can outperform competitors in the actual implementation of those standards. This is a much healthier strategy than trying to isolate the competition, because the consumer wins. The rending engine of IE9 was already hardware-accelerated and arguably blazing fast but the new IE10 renderer should continue to push the envelope.
At the moment, Microsoft is demonstrating many CSS3 features like Multi-column Layout, Grid Layout, Flexible Box Layout and CSS3 Gradients. However, Transitions and 3D Transforms have yet to be implemented. The good news is that Microsoft should push a new preview at least once per quarter, so developers should have a good visibility and ample time to check if their HTML5+CSS3 sites work as they should.
Microsoft has also been very active at providing standard compliance tests (about 6401) and if you look at the different results, the important thing is not that Microsoft passes most of them (they are Microsoft tests after all…) – it’s that other browsers with a large market share don’t seem to be quite ready for a mass-adoption. This means that while web designers are very interested by the next step with HTML5, they might hold back until the landscape is more homogenous.
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