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.
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.
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.
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.