Posts Tagged ‘IE9’

Pin sites to your taskbar

Monday, October 18th, 2010 by Force 5


With the recent release of Microsoft Internet Explorer 9 beta you are now able to see the work that has gone into a browser that has not seen much forward development in meeting web standards or rendering speeds compared to its rivals (Opera, Firefox, & Google Chrome). Microsoft has even launched BeautyOfTheWeb.com website showcasing the new features and abilities.

One of the new features that I believe will be really useful for some users is pinning the website to the Windows taskbar. By pinning the website to the taskbar the end-user will have the ability to go to a site quickly without having to open up the web browser and finding the link in favorites/bookmarks area. One of the better examples where this feature can excel at is from USA Today. By pinning this site you are able to get quick links to all the different news sections (news, money, sports, life, & tech).

What do I need to do to add it?

The only basic prerequisite is that your website should have a favicon. That way aesthetically your pinned site will be branded appropriately. Code wise you will need to add at minimum two <meta> elements inside of the <head> section of your web page.

First, add your application-name. For example, we’ll enter “Force 5” into the content attribute.

  • <meta name="application-name" content="Force 5"/>

Second, add an msapplication-task. The content attribute is broken up into a couple sections. The name parameter is the label you want to appear; in this case we will enter “Discover Force 5“. The action-uri parameter is where we want to send the end-user; in this case we will enter “http://www.discoverforce5.com/”. The next step is optional; you can enter your favicon to the icon-uri parameter. Lastly, just repeat these steps to add more “tasks”.

  • <meta name="msapplication-task" content="name=Discover Force 5;
                    action-uri=http://www.discoverforce5.com/;
                    icon-uri=http://www.discoverforce5.com/favicon.ico"/>

Example with multiple tasks:

    <meta name="application-name" content="Force 5"/>
    <meta name="msapplication-task" content="name=Discover Force 5;
                action-uri=http://www.discoverforce5.com/;
                icon-uri=http://www.discoverforce5.com/favicon.ico"/>
    <meta name="msapplication-task" content="name=Media Hub;
                action-uri=http://www.discoverforce5.com/Media-Hub/;
                icon-uri=http://www.discoverforce5.com/favicon.ico"/>
    <meta name="msapplication-task" content="name=Employee Blogs;
                action-uri=http://www.force5blog.com/;
                icon-uri=http://www.force5blog.com/favicon.ico"/>

Next: pin your site

After saving your changes, go to your web page with the new code above.

  1. Grab your favicon by dragging it to the taskbar.
  2. Pin favicon to your taskbar.
  3. Site is successfully pinned!
  4. Click on your new pinned task icon and go some where.

Even though IE9 is still in beta it is good to see Microsoft bringing new features to the table. If you feel like trying out IE9 today, click here.

How fast is Internet Explorer 9 compared to Firefox, Chrome, and Opera

Monday, September 20th, 2010 by Christian Mattix

There has been a lot of activity in the browser market over the past few months. The most recent step forward is Microsoft’s release of Internet Explorer (IE) 9. Microsoft is touting improvements with IEs handling of web standards, graphics, and JavaScript. JavaScript has become the de-facto standard for web designers of dynamic and highly interactive websites. Since so many websites use JavaScript, it is very important for browsers to be able to process it very quickly. In this entry I’m going to compare the JavaScript performance of Microsoft IE8, Microsoft IE9, Mozilla Firefox (v3.6), Google Chrome, and Opera using the SunSpider JavaScript Benchmark available at: http://www2.webkit.org/perf/sunspider-0.9/sunspider.html.

In order to provide the most equal environment for the tests, I ran the benchmarks on the same machine (Windows 7 Ultimate running within a VMWare virtual machine), with no other applications running, right after a fresh reboot. I then directly navigated to the benchmark site. For the purposes of this examination, I’ll only discuss the total results of the benchmark, however, the site gives very fine grain details of the results of the test.

Here are the results of the examination:

Browswer:                     Time To Execute:
===================           =============================
IE 8 (v8.0.7600.16385)        4089.6ms +/-  2.4%
Firefox (v3.6.10)             1186.8ms +/-  7.8%
Opera (v10.62 b3500)          525.4ms +/- 21.9%
Chrome (v6.0.472.62)          370.4ms +/-  4.8%
IE 9 (v9.0.7930.16406)        647.6ms +/-  9.5%

From these results, we can see that Microsoft has greatly improved the performance of its JavaScript engine (they have cut the benchmark time in half). Though not as fast as Opera or Chrome, which are both highly optimized for JavaScript performance, IE9 has made significant inroads. The release of IE9 has raised the bar for the Mozilla community to continue to improve Firefox. Considering IE9 is still in a beta state, one can only imagine that the performance will only improve.

How did Microsoft improve its JavaScript Engine? According to Microsoft, they were able to make the improvements by using the following techniques:

JavaScript Background Compilation: Many script engines today start with an optimized interpreter, and compile individual sections or methods into machine code to run faster. Others always compile JavaScript into machine code before running it, often compiling each method as it is needed. Both these approaches have to trade off quality or quantity of compiled code against execution speed. Generating high-quality code for today’s applications requires time to optimize the compiled code.

IE9 includes a fast interpreter for running pages quickly on startup. For compilation, we have a background code generator that compiles script code, and we push compiled methods back into the application. Because the code generator runs in the background, it can take advantage of today’s advanced multi-core machines and generate higher-quality code, while not blocking initial execution of the application.

Type Optimizations: One of the most important aspects of enabling performance on JavaScript is to create an efficient type system. The IE9 script engine uses many of the techniques common in modern dynamic language implementations, including type representation, polymorphic inline caching (also called type evolution or hidden classes), and efficient implementation of machine types.

Fast Interpreter: For pages where immediate execution in the interpreter is important, IE9 includes a new interpreter which uses a register-based layout, efficient opcode, and use of type optimizations.

Library Optimizations: The performance of JavaScript pages and applications depends heavily on key aspects of the script runtime library: strings, arrays, objects, and regular expressions. We are investing in these areas for IE9. These libraries require careful tuning for the real Web – one example is the execution of regular expressions. Most script engines today use compilation and optimization techniques to run regular expressions faster, and IE9 includes an improved regular expression implementation. In analyzing real world Web sites, we find a set of patterns used frequently, but we also find unique cases – for example, a site that creates hundreds of regular expressions and uses very few of them – we will continue to use this data to tune our regular expression implementation and other library features for IE9.

Considering IE9′s support for modern standards such as HTML5 and CSS3, and GPU support for graphics Microsoft has made a great step forward in the “Browser wars.”

To learn how to take best advantage of the use of modern technology combined with inspired ideas to bring your business to the next level, contact us at Force 5. We’d be happy to help!