We're probably still a year away from the final release of the product, but Microsoft this week highlighted some momentum around the recently released "platform preview" version of Internet Explorer 9, the company's next browser. Essentially a developer-only version, the IE 9 platform preview is the first external release of the browser, and Microsoft says it's off to a fast start.
The company won't say how fast of a start. But according to sources cited by ZD blogger Mary Jo Foley, about 700,000 people have downloaded the IE 9 platform preview, suggesting that interest in the browser is quite high. Microsoft is commenting, however, on what developers are doing with the browser: Peppering a test website with hits in order to measure IE 9's hardware-accelerated graphics and HTML 5 performance, which is quite impressive.
Developers are also providing feedback to Microsoft, including bug reports related to graphics, compatibility, and the Trident/CSS rendering engine. Microsoft, in turn, has submitted 100 tests to the W3C standards body related to IE 9 as well. It has expressed dissatisfaction with the state of HTML 5 compliance testing and is seeking to develop a set of tests that are fair and representative of actual compliance.
You may recall that when the IE 9 platform preview was first released in March, Microsoft promised to ship an updated version of the browser every eight weeks until the first beta was available. The company reports that it's on track for the first such update, which it plans to deliver in mid-May, and will label as the platform preview 2. As with the first preview, PP2 will be developer-focused and will not include a peek at the new IE 9 user interface—which will be overhauled—or other end-user features.