Wednesday, June 23rd, 2010

IE9 supports Canvas…. hardware accelerated!

Category: Browsers, Canvas, IE

Huge news. My canvas crusade is done. IE9 is supporting canvas, and it is hardware accelerated, in the third preview release:

With the third platform preview, we introduce support for the HTML5 Canvas element. As you know our approach for standards support is informed both by developer feedback and real word usage patterns today, along with where we see the web heading. Many web developers have asked us to support this part of HTML5 and we definitely took this feedback into account as we prioritized our work.

Like all of the graphics in IE9, canvas is hardware accelerated through Windows and the GPU. Hardware accelerated canvas support in IE9 illustrates the power of native HTML5 in a browser. We’ve rebuilt the browser to use the power of your whole PC to browse the web. These extensive changes to IE9 mean websites can now take advantage of all the hardware innovation in the PC industry.

Preview 3 completes the media landscape for modern websites with hardware accelerated video, audio, and canvas. Developers now have a comprehensive platform to build hardware accelerated HTML5 applications. This is the first browser that uses hardware acceleration for everything on the web page, on by default, available today for developers to start using for their modern site development.

The third platform preview continues to support more of DOM and CSS3 standards that developers want. Examples here include DOM Traversal, full DOM L2 and L3 events, getComputedStyle from DOM Style, CSS3 Values and Units, and CSS3 multiple backgrounds.

Also included in the third platform preview is support for using the Web Open Font Format (WOFF) through CSS3 font face.

Oh, and Acid3 is coming along too….. as well as a lot of performance improvements.

Congrats to the IE team.

Posted by Dion Almaer at 4:54 pm

3.3 rating from 3 votes


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OMG, Yes! Best thing since sliced bread!

Comment by Jadet — June 23, 2010

Amen! Joy to the world!

Comment by elazutkin — June 23, 2010

Canvas to the people!

Comment by joriso — June 23, 2010

Also slipped in there is calc() support… might finally be interesting enough to download and try out.

Comment by doublerebel — June 23, 2010

Holy standards support Batman! That is good news indeed.

Comment by iliad — June 23, 2010

M$ is back!

Comment by emailandthings — June 23, 2010

Even with a VM running Win7 on Sun (Oracle) VirtualBox with hardware acceleration features enabled, I was getting ~25 FPS with the Asteroids demo on my 2007-era Mac Mini. Not bad!
I’m not clear on the details, but I’ll be interested to hear the Audio() implementation when it’s out. Apparently they just have <audio> right now. Sounds like they’re doing the extensible plugin-style architecture also (as one would hope) for format support, a good thing.

Comment by Schill — June 23, 2010

The IE team is doing a great job. They seem to be implementing everything people are asking them for. So, let’s all start asking for web workers and webgl ;)

Comment by Joeri — June 24, 2010

Sure, Web Workers and WebGL would be nice, but the next big thing needs to be CSS Animations & Transforms. That’s where the power gets mind-boggling.

Comment by zzen — June 24, 2010

Great job. There might actually be a future where we can write once, run anywhere….

Comment by xmlblog — June 24, 2010

I owe my boss a new chair after reading that.

Comment by abickford — June 24, 2010

Lets not fool ourselves. The IE team has a tradition of shipping each new version with 20+ bugs that take away 30% of of developers time to try to hack these ugly bugs…

Until IE9 is shipped lets wait and see what new bugs will be introduced here.

I am sure that if lets say a will float:left or be positioned it will somehow stop to play after 14.3 seconds and we will have to figure out for hours how to work around it.

So we are all excited but more nervous….

Comment by adardesign — June 24, 2010

Wow — I never thought I’d see the day.

@zzen I’d _much_ rather have web workers than CSS Animations & Transforms — keep CSS simple!

Comment by mdmadph — June 24, 2010

@adardesign: A good thing is that the community can finally post bug reports. When they made IE8 you had to beg them to get access to their bug tracker so I would guess a lot of the bugs where never reported. Also their bug tracker and other community tools is somewhat horrible. Remember using their chat system and that only worked on IE7 and it was still buggy. I hope their tools improve since the users out there test and help them for free so it’s in their best interest.

Comment by Spocke — June 24, 2010

I’m not sure in what version of IE9 they fixed it, but I noticed today that opacity with transparent-PNG’s also works, which was the last PNG-issue AFAIK which still exist in IE8.

The sad part is, they will not create a IE9 for Windows XP, which is still 75% of all windows users, although slipping.

Comment by SilentLennie — June 24, 2010


Now if Microsoft is really listening they will get IE9 to work on XP.

Comment by McDaid — June 24, 2010

Let’s slow down a little bit here. I’m sure we can find some things to complain about ;)

Comment by sfaok — June 24, 2010

As much as I am excited for this, I’d like the IE team to stop using misleading demos. Comparing your GPU speed of your *future* browser against *current* browsers that only use CPU is more of a marketing strategy than a sound technical comparison. Please compare your demos against other GPU implementations… or just stick to the numbers or the acid3 test improvements and developers will love your efforts without thinking there’s something smelly behind it.

Comment by ernestdelgado — June 24, 2010

@ernestdelgado: it’s not the method that matters, it’s the result. If it runs faster, who cares how they did it?

Comment by Joeri — June 24, 2010


While skepticism is always healthy, there’s a drastic difference in the current IE team’s efforts and attitude compared to their efforts and attitude with previous versions, and that goes a long way toward engendering some trust and goodwill.

Before the first IE 9 preview, I was convinced Trident was walking dead and should be buried and replaced. I was convinced of this because previous versions not only failed to live up to reasonable expectations set by browsers from much smaller and less capable (simply in terms of being able to throw more resources at problems) vendors, but seemed to believe they shouldn’t be held to those expectations and that a less capable and less interoperable IE was somehow desirable. Their approach to IE 9 is nothing short of a complete reversal of that, and they are holding themselves to pretty strict expectations of what standards compliance means.

I don’t think IE 9 will be perfect or even necessarily on even footing with WebKit and Gecko, but I think it’ll be close and it’ll be a much more solid foundation for catching up in future releases. Whatever happened at Microsoft to change their direction, it’s being noticed by web developers. If you haven’t noticed, perhaps you don’t remember quite how great their disdain for us used to be.

Comment by eyelidlessness — June 24, 2010

@Joeri – You are missing the point. All other browsers are working on the GPU features to make them available to the user probably much earlier than IE9 will. Then is when it will make sense to compare. And yes, the method matters a lot. Regardless of this issue, I must say I am extremely happy to see all the efforts from the IE team towards the right direction! Hats off to them!

Comment by ernestdelgado — June 24, 2010

@eyelidlessness Thanks good points!
Lets wait and see how it will ship.

one final question, Will there be a compatible mode with IE8, IE7 or maybe IE6 :)

Comment by adardesign — June 25, 2010

I am very excited to see Canvas in IE !! Even more if it is hardware accelerated.

@adardesign – There are IE8, 7 and 5 document modes in the DP. I don’t know why there isn’t a IE6 Document Mode, maybe because it is the same as IE5 or, that it was too hard to integrate such a bad mode in a decent browser ;)

Comment by fabienmenager — June 25, 2010

I hope that there will be no IE6 mode.

Comment by Aimos — June 26, 2010


There’s no IE 5 mode, there’s Quirks Mode (which is essentially the same as IE 5.5 rendering, but differs from IE 5). As for the absence of IE 6 mode, I’ve heard that developers (like, say, Aimos) fought against it at the time IE 7 was being developed, and Microsoft conceded. I’m not sure if that’s true (and when I’ve asked for evidence I haven’t received any), but the supposed rationale was that adding specific browser version rendering modes would encourage developers to target specific browsers rather than standards and interoperability.
That argument obviously doesn’t stand up to scrutiny though, as the absence of an IE 6 mode provides no clear upgrade path for the most IE 6-dependent users/organizations and forces those of us who need to support them to target IE 6 rather than improved IE engines that have been released since.

Why? Do you prefer to keep people on IE 6? An IE 6 mode in subsequent releases would have been the fastest way to kill IE 6, and while that’s somewhat minimized with IE 9 (being that it won’t be released for XP), it would still be a huge blow to the largest proportion of IE 6 market share. So unless you just want people to stay on IE 6 in perpetuity, could you explain why you’d oppose an IE 6 mode?

Comment by eyelidlessness — June 26, 2010

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