Here’s My Internet Explorer 9 Wish List. What’s on Yours?

By  |  Tuesday, November 17, 2009 at 10:47 pm

According to Neowin’s Tom Warren and Cnet News’s Ina Fried, Microsoft will have something–maybe just a little something, but something–to say about its plans for Internet Explorer 9 at its Professional Developers’ Conference in Los Angeles tomorrow. The company often briefs tech reporters in advance about major announcements, but it hasn’t told me a darn thing about IE9. So I’m just as curious as anyone else to know what the upgrade is going to involve.

And for the next few hours, at least, I’m free to ponder the features that would get me excited about a new browser from Microsoft…

A user interface for 2010 and beyond. Microsoft didn’t make much in the way of major changes to IE’s interface in IE7 and IE8–and some of the tweaks it did make weren’t improvements. Google’s Chrome has a grand total of two menus; IE8 has thirteen of ’em…and it still doesn’t find space for one that takes you to your downloads. And why does IE have both traditional left-hand menus and right-hand ones, including both text-based ones and ones that hang off teensy icons? If Microsoft decided to blow up the IE interface and start over–as it did with Office 2007–I’d be thrilled.

More speed for next-generation Web apps. Third-party tests of browser speed consistently show IE to be the slowest major browser. By a lot. Microsoft rightly says that browser speed is about more than the JavaScript performance that such tests reveal. Even so, there’s no question that sophisticated Web applications crave JavaScript efficiency. Seems to me that Microsoft has no choice but to give IE’s JavaScript implementation a sweeping, from-the-ground-up overhaul.

Integration with Microsoft Web services. Okay, so a certain courtroom battle from the last century may have left Microsoft permanently timid about tying its browser to other stuff it does. I don’t care–the days of Microsoft being able to monopolize markets at will are over. Why shouldn’t IE offer, say, built-in instant messaging and e-mail that are really slick front ends for Windows Live Messenger and Hotmail, respectively?

A second pass at Web Slices. IE8’s built-in infowidgets are an intriguing idea, but they haven’t come anywhere near living up to their potential–sorry, Dolly. Unless Microsoft wants to just give up on the concept, it should (A) make them more powerful; and (B) convince more developers to build really cool ones.

HTML5 goodness. It’s going to be a while before the next generation of the HTML standard starts to make the Web a better place. But it has the potential to make Web sites way more rich and interactive without the use of plug-ins. And Microsoft would earn infinite street cred with developers if it released a version of IE9 that took HTML5 as seriously as Firefox 3.5 already does.

WebKit. At one point, rumor sort of had it that Microsoft was considering dumping IE’s rendering engine for WebKit, the widely-used, universally-admired open-source standard originally jumpstarted by Apple. Which sounded both improbable and like a really good idea. Microsoft has a long and ugly history of writing rendering engines that do a miserable job of adhering to Web standards. Why not just get out of the business and use one that works, so Web developers can concentrate on building neat sites rather than trying desperately to get their creations to work properly in IE?

I’m guessing that Microsoft won’t reveal all about the new IE tomorrow. Assuming it says anything at all, it’ll probably give a sneak peek or two of specific features, and then say that it’s shooting to have IE9 out in the second half of 2010. Which gives us plenty of time for additional idle speculation before all the facts are in.

So tell me, Internet Explorer users: What would you like to see in the next version of your browser? And are there any Windows users out there who use another browser but who’d consider coming back to IE9 if it were a knockout?

[NOTE: I slapped together the IE9 logo above myself.]




20 Comments For This Post

  1. maguay Says:

    Accelerators, and taskbar integration and the “pull-down” address bar (click and drag down … like a touch screen but with a mouse1!) in Windows 7 are the reasons I use IE8 on Windows 7. If they add all these features you mentioned (except for the Webkit one … sorry, I just can’t imagine that would happen), especially making it’s speed better than anything else including Chrome, then IE9 could really be a force to contend with. Hey, they ought to make sure that it works better and faster with all of the Chrome experiments than Chrome itself … that would make for great demos!

  2. Michael Warkentin Says:

    Webkit is the only one that matters, and makes so much sense, so it won’t happen.

  3. Benji Says:

    What’s on my IE9 wish list? Ha!! Funny, you should ask… shut it down Microsoft. We’re good with Firefox for now!!

  4. Randy Peterman Says:

    Chris Wilson of the IE team has already publicly stated on Twitter that JavaScript speed is on the list.

    I want canvas elements, native SVG support, client database, and the Mozilla proposal for resource packages, oh & SPDY.

  5. productivebydesign Says:

    So you would like IE9 to be Safari/Chrome OS… Why not already use a modern web browser ?

  6. Evan Kline Says:

    I agree with the UI suggestion. I’d like to be able to combine the toolbars into one, like in Firefox.

  7. Paul Benjamin Says:

    I would like Microsoft to give up. It should take web kit do a very basic browser and tell everyone that if you want more go else ware because after 15 years on the net we know that we suck at it.

  8. Backlin Says:

    I would like IE9 to be HTML 5 complaint above all else.

  9. Matt Says:

    HTML5 of course, but how about something simple like an inline spell checker.

  10. tom b Says:

    IE has been irrelevant for years. Since it’s single platform and has poor standards compliance, it’s not worth even testing on.

    It’s a zombie no amount of fresh brains will be able to satisfy.

  11. tehpeng Says:

    HTML5, Webkit… A search bar, forward and back buttons, stop and refresh. Tabs. Then the option to add anything else normally available in IE.

    I hate services that claim convenience and just clutter things up, when I last booted up IE (before the glorious day I deleted windows for Slackware)it had half the browser window full of toolbars and buttons. If I want an option, I will add it.

    IE is like driving an old cadillac with a bad distributor. Halting, slow, squishy, with a complete lack of balls.

    Hey Microsoft! We use a web browser to see the internet, not your proprietary crap.

  12. tehpeng Says:

    oh and the url bar of course. duh.

  13. IcyFog Says:

    I agree with Benji. I wish IE would just go away.

  14. Mike Says:

    Shouldn’t they fix all the problems with IE8 before moving on to IE9? That gives the impression that Microsoft is satisfied with IE8. Now that is disterbing that MS is ok with putting out a poor product. But I suppose that MS has been doing that for decades now. So what else is new. Maybe if us as the consumer would not move on to the next big thing but demand that MS perfect what they have now before trying to stuff a new peace of junk down our gullitt. There I go again off into fantasy land again.

  15. mrbiggiemac Says:

    anyting besides this ie8 freez machine they put out how about a ie that works the hell with the bells and whistles

  16. refactorme Says:

    I wish IE9 would make much faster browsing experience and low memory consumption than the IE8 and the memory sucking FF.

  17. Steve Says:

    Other than speed and compliance, how about an interface that can be as cluttered or as sparse as the USER wants? You know, customizable. Or better yet, as MS is a publically traded corporation, and IE is free but costs them money in R&D and development, how about they dump IE altogether? They have never gotten it right, and one cannot assume they will start with IE9.

  18. dontlie Says:

    i hope the bookmark and history features ie9 will have more better like the library in firefox. this is one of main reasons i use firefox 3.6 instead of ie8.

  19. Taylor Satula Says:

    Nix Trident and go with Webkit, then I wont have to add HTML 5 Support Script

  20. Over-age-12-user Says:

    Open maximized windows as a default — nobody wants to go through extra clicking when the teensy teaser windows appear. Unbearably annoying. Put all the cutesy baby stuff in a special optional download — for example, the row after row after row of duplicate toolbars that block the viewing screen. All that is necessary can go on one line. And I know what site I'm on — people standing behind me do not need to know, so please remove that blue top line with the huge tatting type on it? Thanks! Stop collecting any browsing history unless specifically requested by user. Flush your "Exhilarators" or whatever the heck that is! Geez!

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