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Goodies for PHPers in Internet Explorer 9

Posted by on April 12, 2010

With the recent flurry of information and buzz coming from Redmond about Internet Explorer 9, you may wondering what the new browser means for you as a PHP Developer.Why should you be excited? Isn’t the majority of the things that they did were things that other web browsers have been doing for a while?

Well, yes and no. Microsoft has some catching up to do in terms of standards compatibility, but they are also doing some good things with this browser. They are bringing some much needed web-standards compatibility, in addition to some JavaScript performance enhancements. According to their press release, IE will feature:

  • Expanded HTML5 support
  • jQuery enhancements
  • OData Protocol support
  • CSS3 spec support
  • SVG Support
  • XHTML parsing
  • H.264/MPEG4 and MP3/AAC codecs
  • GPU-enhanced HTML5
  • Javascript compilation for faster performance.

Now, as you look at this list you may be wondering, “what’s so special about it?”

For one thing, better adherence to web standards will (hopefully) mean spending less time trying to make things work on multiple browsers. If you look closer, however, there is something up there called OData that is pretty interesting. OData is an open Microsoft specification that allows you to share information between web applications using a standardized interface based largely on well-established standards.

The OData specification is being released under Microsoft’s “Open Specification Promise,” which is essentially a guarantee that the company will not build proprietary extensions to the protocol in an attempt to lock in users and customers. Interestingly, Microsoft is also releasing an OData SDK that can be used directly from PHP—which could finally open the door to better communication among PHP systems.

I run Medina Labs where I provide freelancing services in web development as well as mobile development. You can find info about my company Medina Labs here.
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Responses and Pingbacks


That’s is great news, specially if it turns out to be true, which unfortunately is not always the case when comes down to the delivered software product.

I think that the optimization will benefit all javascript code not only jQuery specific one as the post suggests.


Why should we care? You forgot one thing: IE9 will NOT support Windows XP. So most of our customers won’t have it, even if they wanted to.

So there will be NO HTML5 support by Microsoft on Windows XP platforms. And even Windows 7 will not have full HTML5 support via IE9. That’s what matters most to me, as it means we will have to wait another 3 to 5 years before we can start using it.

Personally: I don’t care about so-called Open Standards by Microsoft. I do remember the struggle we went through with this lousy Office XML so-called “Standard”. Thanks, but: NO THANKS Microsoft.

Belive it when I see it

I share the skepticism of the previous posters, mostly due to Microsoft’s past performance (or lack thereof) in the browser realm. Additionally, the fable about the scorpion and the frog comes to mind: Microsoft is a business, and it is in their nature to compete and address threats (real or perceived) to their market space. Their goal with IE9 is to make it the only Web browser worth using.

I almost wrote “you’ll want to use” instead of “worth using”, but I doubt that’s their primary motivation. By this I mean in some corporate intranets, IE6 is still the only browser worth using due to some of the IE-specific apps that reside there…even though Firefox, Opera and the Webkit-derived browsers are superior.

Microsoft develops a product based upon market research and how their business teams believe said product can leverage other Microsoft products to the benefit of both lines, NOT primarily based upon Joe Developer’s needs. For example, compare PHP to ASP.NET (For what it’s worth, I’ve developed using the former for 2.5 years, the latter for 5).

PHP’s evolution over the years has been driven by developer contributions: if a much-needed or highly useful function or feature didn’t exist, somebody eventually wrote it and added it to the core. One can argue that this has come at the price of consistency in some areas, but the end result is a piece of software that performs as intended on a wide variety of platforms.

ASP.NET’s evolution has been driven largely by architects and business development folks. It sits atop .NET (Microsoft’s response to Sun’s Java), requires Microsoft’s IIS (and thus a Microsoft OS), and is modified as Microsoft sees fit. Yes, I’m aware of Mono but AFAIK it does not fully support ASP.NET 2.0 (and ASP.NET 4.0RC came out in February, making it well behind the curve in my opinion). Official, production-ready support for AJAX didn’t arrive until 2007 and a Microsoft MVC alternative to Web forms didn’t hit a final release until 2009.

My point is not to bash ASP.NET — like any tool it has its uses and can be a capable alternative to PHP. My point is that Microsoft works as Microsoft wishes, and it is optimistic to think that IE9 will be a “rainbows and unicorns” kind of product that will transform Web development. It will (at best) provide an incentive for the other browser teams to improve — and IMO at least one other browser will surpass IE9 if for no other reason than the glacial pace of post-IE6 releases and adoption. At worst, I believe IE9 will require developers to enter into a Faustian bargain with Microsoft, the ultimate result of which is another repeat of the “progress” Microsoft displayed with IE6 once Netscape folded: in other words, eventual stagnation.

Better enhancements? Where?

Do we actually need another format or protocol such as OData when we already have standards such as established web services? So -beep- what if it communicates directly with PHP – it is still Microsoft under another guise.

Nothing new here folks… except more questionable bugs that are going to have designers pulling their hair out but that ain’t our [PHP developers] problem.

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i guess new version of internet explorer means new problems 🙂

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