Microsoft reveals Internet Explorer 9 performance gains

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Development of Internet Explorer 9 is just three weeks in, but Microsoft is already bragging about its new features.

Speaking today at the Professional Developers Conference (PDC), Windows president Steven Sinofsky said that Microsoft is looking to make IE the best browser for Windows.

"We intend to make sure that Internet Explorer represents the very best browser for Windows and that it represents the most world class and modern browsing experience that we can develop," he said.

But he admitted that work still needed to be done. "We have a lot of things that you've asked us to do, that we need to do, in building Internet Explorer," Sinofsky added.

First, he admitted IE is behind the pack on the Acid3 test, a standards compliance rating. "It's something we have to go and improve," he said.

He then revealed that three weeks in, IE9 is already topping IE8. The new version scored 32/100, while IE8 came in at 20/100. It's still a fail grade, but an improvement all the same.

For JavaScript, looking at WebKit's SunSpider test, IE9 was still a shade slower than Firefox 3.6, but the gap was significantly smaller.

"We're getting very close to it all being a wash, because by the time you get down to this amount of performance, the other subsystems are really going to dominate in terms of where the best places to improve are," he said.

He also said developers were looking to make IE9 compatible with CSS3 and HTML 5.

Sinofsky finished up by showing off how a tweaked rendering engine called Direct 2D would take advantage of hardware to make graphics and fonts smoother - and make rounded corners easy to do.

On the IE blog, IE general manager Dean Hachamovitch said such hardware-accelerated rendering was "something that other browsers don't do today."

"Website developers will see performance gains and other benefits without having to re-write their sites," he added.

Click here for our review of IE8.