SEO Opinion of IE9 RC – Day 1

Well it’s day one with Internet Explorer 9 for this SEO nerd and I have a few things to say already.

Why ‘day one’ you might ask? Well the thing is, I’m a complex fellow, I have the 64bit version of Microsoft’s latest OS, Windows 7, installed on my work machine. This über ‘bleeding edge’ configuration was giving previous installs of IE9 too much to cope with and so I have been limited to testing Chrome, FF, and Opera browsers almost exclusively.

Yesterday the first reports of IE9 RC hit my in-box, and I chuckled at the thought of testing to see if it was stable enough to run on my ‘bleeding edge’ work machine. Surprisingly, all that was required was a restart of the whole computer and I was finally able to see the beta of IE9 firsthand! Eat your heart out, Windows 95!

Want to know what it looks like? Load up Chrome or Opera and open a couple tabs. Now picture the tabs on the same bar as the address box, just to the right of it, instead of at the very top. That’s what IE9’s layout looks like to me. The big difference is that instead of seeing a long address in the address bar, I see it in the title bar of the whole window, just like Opera except that Opera doesn’t even try to mask the sad fact that 3 bars are in use (title on the top, tabs in the middle, and then address and buttons on the bottom bar).

Speaking of Opera and wasted space, IE9 has taken the same approach as Chrome with regard to the status bar at the bottom of the screen. There is now a ‘status area’ where messages will pop-up as needed, and only Opera is wasting pixels at the bottom of the screen (by default, you can tweak it).

IE9 is supposed to be a great HTML5 browser and this was something I really had to test on day one. Things got off to a rough start with IE9 RC failing to run one of the first HTML5 test drive functions on Microsoft’s IE9 test pages. Admittedly it was an error with some MS geo-locational service, but that doesn’t explain why all the other browsers succeeded. IE9 also does not render HTML5 pages precisely the same way as Chrome, FF, Opera, and Dreamweaver. In fact it’s only IE9 that mangles my personal HTML5 markup, and trust me, I wouldn’t complain if it somehow improved my work. The speed of IE9 did impress me, and even Opera clobbered my Chrome install in a few benchmarks which was shocking. IE9 overall was the fastest to render the HTML5 tests on Microsoft’s pages, and quite fast in other benchmarks, but Chrome still does best in my favorite test, the CC Real-World HTML5/Javascript browser benchmark putting out a score of 14,443 vs. IE9’s 3,942 (Opera 11 = 11,943 and FF 4 = 6,454) out of 50,000 possible points.

Paste and Go gets a whole paragraph because it’s so badly overlooked. Come on IE, everyone else stole this, why can’t you? This is a no-brainer, so stop avoiding it and get it into the right-click menu. I could show you how to code this in less time than it took me to curse at it’s absence today.

Finally we get to how it feels. Fonts are tiny, 9-10 point looks like a 7-8 point font in IE9, and single spaced lines look double spaced.

IE9 Font

IE9 Font

Normal Font


I wrote a number of emails in IE9 with GMail and each time I was in a panic to make sure I was typing the body of the message without any unwanted font settings. This part of IE9 is likely to take too long for me to become accustomed to and combined with giving me bad renderings of my own HTML5 pages, I clearly can’t see this trial lasting that long on my machine.

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