Thursday, September 15, 2011

New features of IE10

With the release of the Windows 8 Developer preview on Wednesday at the BUILD conference, the third preview of IE10 was released. I had never expected that this would bring that many new features. Some of the features were already available at the html5labs, but needed sever installations to get it work. But from now all these features are released in the new preview of IE10. Even features who weren't available at html5labs are added.

From now it will be possible to build web applications that will work online as well offline. The API for this is the HTML Application Cache. In a manifest file you describe all the resources (HTML files, JS files, CSS files, Images, …) you need to let your application work offline. For storing your data offline, we now have 2 possibilities. We have the Local storage we can use to save key/value pairs. This is handy if we save small amounts of data and do not need a structured way to be saved or need to query on data in the value. The second possibility is the use of IndexedDB. This is an offline database that runs in the client. You can’t use SQL to query on it, but it has a set of interfaces that provide methods to create, read, update and delete your data and structure.

Another feature that was available at html5labs was web sockets. Web sockets enable you to use TCP to communicate between your browser and the webserver. On this way we can save a lot of traffic when build applications who need frequent polling to get there data. When using HTTP we are always sending an HTTP header. In a web socket message we send only add 0x00 at the begin of the message and 0xFF at the end.

With the history API we will be able to manipulate the URL without having a page refresh or navigation. This way we can use AJAX to give the user a fluent way to work with your application (without page refresh) and adjust the URL at the same time. This enables the user to move back and forward in your web application who uses AJAX.

To improve the performance of your web applications, IE added the possibility to run scripts Asynchronously and the use of Web workers to make your web application multithreaded in your browser.

The File API provides the web developers a secure way to access files on the local machine. This way the user can manipulate local files without having to upload it to the server.

Other improvements are:

  • Rich Visual Effects: CSS Text Shadow, CSS 3D Transforms, CSS3 Transitions and Animations, CSS3 Gradient, SVG Filter Effects
  • Sophisticated Page Layouts: CSS3 for publication quality page layouts and application UI (CSS3 grid, flexbox, multi-column, positioned floats, regions, and hyphenation), HTML5 Forms, input controls, and validation
  • Enhanced Web Programming Model: Better offline applications through local storage with IndexedDB and the HTML5 Application Cache; Web Sockets, HTML5 History, Async scripts, HTML5 File APIs, HTML5 Drag-drop, HTML5 Sandboxing, Web workers, ES5 Strict mode support.

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