New IE 10 Developer Preview (with Windows 8 Consumer Preview)
As recently noted, the big news in computing and Internet last week was GA on Windows 8 Consumer Preview, a mostly functional, mostly sanded-smooth pre-release of Windows 8, largely meant for developer and serious early-adopter delectation. With that release comes the newest developer rev (#5, following the #4 rev of last November) of Internet Explorer 10, which uses the same HTML rendering engine as the OS. For the time being, the two are bound together: you have to install Windows 8 CP to get the newest IE 10, and (for the normally cautious) that requires a spare PC, or at least a partition on a non-mission-critical lab box. Ultimately, of course, IE10 will be available for all current versions of desktop and server Windows, e.g. Windows 7, Windows Server 2008 R2, etc.
The biggest overt change in IE10 from last year's developer pre-release is that the browser can now work both in a conventional, plug-in-enabled desktop mode, and under the much-acclaimed Metro user interface convention set, which is primarily for touch-enabled mobiles. Initial response to IE in Metro is coming from a small group of well-placed devs and other interested parties who – on the face of it – can dedicate a touchscreen PC (or partition on same) to the Windows 8 CP install. The tone of initial comments from objective sources like Gizmodo has been uniformly positive, praising the fluency of navigation, zooming and panning via swipes, double-taps and pinches, and the emergence of new parking and minimization modes, such as the so-called ‘snap mode,' where the browser snaps side-by-side with another Metro application.
As IE10 nears completion, the list of ‘arguably core' HTML5 and CSS3 new-feature additions is growing shorter, but some significant improvements to core features are still being made. There are so many of these improvements that it's worth visiting Microsoft's IEblog (see http://blogs.msdn.com/b/ie/archive/2012/03/02/web-platform-features-in-windows-consumer-preview.aspx ) for the complete list.
John Jainschigg is a contributing editor for Slashdot and SourceForge.