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A visual tour of IE9 preview (screenshots)

Microsoft is showing off its IE9 Platform Preview. Here's a look at some elements of the overhauled browser.

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Stephen Shankland
Stephen Shankland has been a reporter at CNET since 1998 and writes about processors, digital photography, AI, quantum computing, computer science, materials science, supercomputers, drones, browsers, 3D printing, USB, and new computing technology in general. He has a soft spot in his heart for standards groups and I/O interfaces. His first big scoop was about radioactive cat poop.
Stephen Shankland
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1 of 8 Screenshot by Stephen Shankland/CNET

IE9 demo: falling balls

Microsoft showed off IE9 Platform Preview on Tuesday; headline features include support for Web standards and faster performance.

One such standard is SVG (Scalable Vector Graphics), and one technology benefiting from better performance is Web-based JavaScript programs.

This view of a demonstration shows off the abilities chiefly of the faster JavaScript, long a sore spot for Internet Explorer performance, but the balls themselves are rendered with SVG. It includes a physical simulation of the balls interacting in gravity.

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2 of 8 Screenshot by Stephen Shankland/CNET

Whirling browser logos

Microsoft aims to improve performance with the existing Web as well as to support new features. For the former challenge, one change coming in IE9 is support for Direct2D and DirectWrite graphics and text acceleration in Windows Vista and Windows 7. This demonstration of whirling browser logos, including drop shadows and occlusion, uses hardware acceleration to speed performance.
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3 of 8 Screenshot by Stephen Shankland/CNET

IE9 SVG-oids demo

Miss the Asteroids game from 1979? SVG and JavaScript power this knock-off.
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4 of 8 Screenshot by Stephen Shankland/CNET

Better text through DirectWrite

Hardware graphics are used to improve text rendering. Specifically, with DirectWrite, the text "antialiased" with gray pixels to smooth the curves and letters are placed precisely with "sub-pixel positioning." Some of this technology in general has been in use for years, but the new implementation adds the gray pixels to account for both vertical and horizontal curves.
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5 of 8 Screenshot by Stephen Shankland/CNET

Sub-pixel positioning, up close

This shows a single word, magnified threefold to better illustrate the graphics of sub-pixel positioning.
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6 of 8 Screenshot by Stephen Shankland/CNET

CSS border demonstration in IE9

Cascading Style Sheets can control formatting details with economical programming, but IE has lagged rivals in CSS3 support. This demonstration shows how a border can be controlled in a variety of ways.
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7 of 8 Screenshot by Stephen Shankland/CNET

Pulsating bubbles in IE9

There's better eye candy in the graphics world, but this demonstration of SVG-controlled, sometimes transparent ellipses animated through JavaScript does illustrate new in-browser graphics abilities.
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8 of 8 Screenshot by Stephen Shankland/CNET

SVG org chart

Graphics on the Web today are usually done pixel by pixel. SVG lets many graphical elements be constructed by mathematical constructs called vectors that make items such as arrows and shapes easy to draw and compact to download. This Scalable Vector Graphics demonstration shows a United Nations org chart that can be resized easily and rapidly.

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