Tuesday, February 15, 2011

IE9, Windows Phone and More

What an exciting time.. Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’d know that I’m a heavy user of Microsoft Technology, it’s part of my job, it pays the bills and all that other stuff. Sometimes, working with Microsoft Technologies can be painful. I have had several older windows mobiles, and cursed nearly every day, I’ve worked in office environments where IE6 was the standard, and cursed at older versions of SQL Server. You name it, I’ve played with it.

But lately, I’ve been really excited about the software coming out of Microsoft, and the announcements from the last week are no exception.


Last week, the IE9 RC was released. I’ve been using the Beta since it was released, but the RC just blew me away. It’s performance was impressive, leaving the beta looking like panda bear on pot. The hardware rendering is awesome, start up time quick,and in general just feels extremely responsive.

This has all been achieved by:

  • A new Java Script engine
  • Hardware accelerated rendering through via GPU
  • Running the Java Script engine in process (no more COM interop)
  • Multi-threaded support
  • Reduced Memory usage.

The biggest punch with this release is the new Anti-Tracking protection. This is something that had been hinted at but nothing had been shown until the RC.

Usability has also had a big working over in the RC thanks to lots of feedback from the beta. Tabs are now by default next to the address/search bar, but can be moved to sit under the bar like they were in previous versions.

I think Microsoft are on a winner with this, and I hope they keep this sort of innovation up for future versions of IE.

Windows Phone

The first update for Windows Phone should be out in the next few weeks (March??), and this brings with it a few small updates related to 3rd party app performance and copy paste. Both of these features are nice, but not killer inclusions.

What IS exciting, is the talk about the first Major update which should ship this year. The update is now looking like it will include IE9 (sure, trimmed a little for mobiles) with the same rendering capabilities of the desktop counterpart. And by “same”, Microsoft are even talking hardware accelerate via the phones GPU!!! This I can’t wait to see.

The other big part of the announcement is the support for running apps in the background. Yes, I know, other mobile platforms have this, even the old windows mobile had this.. But it’s still big news for WinPho7..

Last but not least is the feature that I think is going to increase the uptake the most (besides the Nokia announcement) is the integration of Sky Drive. Right now, office documents are stuck on your phone (unless you have SharePoint), but being able to load/save documents in the cloud is a HUGE update, and one that was sorely missing. This one feature is probably the biggest inhibiter of businesses picking up these new phones.

And then..

There are lots of other bits happening as well, like Win 7 SP1, NuGet, the fast approaching VS SP1 and lots of other projects that have been popping up around the place.

I think in general, Microsoft has really turned a corner and seem to be shipping quality software again with fairly regular releases.

I think it’s a great time to be involved in the MS Tech space.

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