First preview of IE 10 is here

Microsoft also highlighted several Azure products at its MIX11 developer conference, demonstrating its shifting focus toward the cloud

Microsoft has debuted the first platform preview of IE 10, just four weeks after the final version of Internet Explorer 9 (IE 9) was released.

Dean Hachamovitch, corporate vice president of Internet Explorer, announced the release April 12 during the opening keynote of Microsoft's MIX11 developer conference, taking place in Las Vegas this week. The pre-release browser is available for download here.

Hachamovitch indicated that Microsoft would adopt a more measured release schedule with IE 10 in an effort to provide more time to work on reported issues with each iteration. "In fact, for the next version of Internet Explorer, we will change the cadence of platform previews to be eight to 12 weeks apart, rather than eight," Hachamovitch said.

Emphasis on Standards

Microsoft's commitment to standards, specifically to the HTML5 specification, was a theme of Hachamovitch's keynote. "As developers, we'd rather have native support for features rather than an add-in or hack," he said. "Native experiences are the best experiences."

Hachamovitch presented a series of demos, which showed IE 9 providing superior performance and compatibility with HTML5 sites compared to Google Chrome. These included Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) animation, HTML5-based video playback and accurate rendering of CSS3-based markup.

The keynote also emphasized Microsoft's aggressive support of open source development and tooling. This year's event highlighted the additional jQuery integration with the ASP.NET MVC 3 Tooling Update, support for the Nuget package manager, and sponsorship of open source projects like the Orchard CMS project. HTML5 support in the MVC 3 update is enabled via Modernizr, an integrated, open source JavaScript library that detects browser version and allows HTML to be scaled to each target.

Spotlighting Azure

Microsoft also turned its interoperability and standards message to the cloud. Scott Guthrie, corporate vice president of the .NET Developer Platform, took the stage to demonstrate how Windows Azure enables .NET developers to use mature skill sets to bring Web applications to the cloud.

Announced during the keynote was the release of the Windows Azure Traffic Manager community technology preview (CTP), which optimizes application traffic across regions to improve performance and enable failover. Guthrie also previewed the Windows Azure content delivery network (CDN), which allows developers to upload IIS Smooth Streaming-encoded video for delivery to Silverlight, iOS and Android Honeycomb-based clients.

Other Windows Azure platform announcements include the expected availability within the next 30 days of the Windows Azure AppFabric Caching service, which will improve Windows Azure and SQL Azure application performance.

A new version of the Windows Azure AppFabric Access Control service was also announced, with immediate availability here (Windows Live ID required). The new service enables single sign-on for Azure applications, working with Active Directory or with Web identities such as Windows Live ID, Google, Yahoo! and Facebook.

Guthrie also announced several server-side developments during the event, including the release of Entity Framework 4.1, which adds Code First functionality. The new version provides for a more code-centric approach that doesn't require a designer or XML mapping file.

About the Author

Michael Desmond is an editor and writer for 1105 Media's Enterprise Computing Group.

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