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BUILD: Windows 8’s Metro Style and Plug-in Free HTML5 Browsing Using Same Engine As Deskop IE

IE and touch first browsing uses the same powerful engine as IE on the desktop. “Because great HTML5 support on both desktop IE and the Metro style IE is so important, we adapted the IE10 engine’s architecture to power both experiences,” stated Steven Sinofsky.

The two experiences share browsing history, typed addresses, settings, and more. The common engine delivers a consistently fast, safe, and powerful experience for today’s sites as well as Metro style applications:

  • Performance. Metro style IE has the same industry-leading performance as IE on the desktop. This includes full hardware acceleration of graphics, video, and audio, compiled JavaScript, and new layout and formatting engine optimizations for touch responsiveness.
  • Safety. Metro style IE also has the same industry-leading security, privacy, and reliability features as IE on the desktop. This includes SmartScreen, XSS filtering, and InPrivate browsing.
  • HTML5. Metro style IE delivers the same commitment to a richer HTML5 web programming model as IE on the desktop. At BUILD, we introduce new support for CSS Text Shadow, CSS 3D Transforms, IndexedDB, Web Sockets, HTML5 File APIs, HTML5 History, hyphenation, CSS Transitions and Animations, and HTML5 Application Cache, in addition to the other new features previously shown in IE10 Platform Previews.

He said, “When we re-imagined the browser as a Metro style app, we saw a totally new way to move the web forward. For example, the Metro style is immersive. For a web page in Metro style IE, there are no visual distractions at all. You can use standard gestures to get to functionality that otherwise distracts you from the web. You can search and share from Metro style IE using “charms,” just as you do in other Metro style apps. You can use the Devices charm, for example, to play and project videos from web pages to external devices. You can “snap” IE side-by-side with another Metro style application. Using websites and Metro style apps together is easy because we built them to work together.”

The new Metro style is much more than a visual design. “For example, it enables you to get to your important sites with less typing. You see a touch-friendly, visual list of your frequent and pinned websites when you open a new tab or bring up the address bar,” explains Sinofsky.

“Typing in the address bar filters this list. When you bring up your open tabs, the address bar is immediately available so you can get to the site you want if it’s not already open. Spell-checking and auto-complete also reduce how much typing you need to do as you use sites. Notice that you can even browse with InPrivate and Tracking Protection.”

“To make the websites you care about easy to get to and work with, you can pin them to the new Windows 8 Start screen, the same way you pin Metro style apps there.”

He said “IE10 draws controls (like check boxes and radio buttons) with more space around them to be more touch-friendly. Developers can make their web pages much more touch-friendly using standard web patterns like CSS to style controls. For example, below you see an HTML5 range input type control with a custom background image.”

“Metro style IE supports touch panning and pinching to zoom. Pages are fast and fluid like the rest of the system because the HTML5 engine takes advantage of full hardware acceleration. You can see this in the scrolling and panning performance,” Sinofsky said.

Here’s a demo that shows the performance as well as other parts of the browsing experience:

In another blog post Dean Hachamovitch, who leads the IE team talks about the Metro style and plug-in free HTML5 browsing in Windows 8.

Dean writes, “For the web to move forward and for consumers to get the most out of touch-first browsing, the Metro style browser in Windows 8 is as HTML5-only as possible, and plug-in free. The experience that plug-ins provide today is not a good match with Metro style browsing and the modern HTML5 web.”

He said “Running Metro style IE plug-in free improves battery life as well as security, reliability, and privacy for consumers. Plug-ins were important early on in the web’s history. But the web has come a long way since then with HTML5. Providing compatibility with legacy plug-in technologies would detract from, rather than improve, the consumer experience of browsing in the Metro style UI.”

“On Windows 8, consumer sites and “line of business” applications that require legacy ActiveX controls will continue to run in the desktop browser, and people can tap “Use Desktop View” in Metro style IE for these sites. For what these sites do, the power of HTML5 makes more sense, especially in Windows 8 apps,” said Dean.

“Plug-in free browsers today already deliver great experiences with well-authored HTML5 content. These experiences get even better with touch in Metro style IE.”

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