Internet Explorer 9 commits to HTML5

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HTML5 comes alive in IE9

The latest version of Internet Explorer will provide far greater support for HTML5, it has been announced.

Microsoft has unveiled the Internet Explorer 9 Platform Preview at the MIX10 conference, a regular gathering of web design experts and web developers in Las Vegas. The most striking change is that the new browser will move beyond the HTML4 hypertext standard and support a number of HTML5 specifications.

For example, Internet Explorer 9 will incorporate next-generation CSS3 style sheets. XHTML parsing, Scalable Vector Graphics, video tags using H.264/MPEG4 codecs and audio tags using MP3/AAC codecs will also be included.

Test drive IE9

Interested parties will be able to provide feedback on the new browser's development by checking out code refreshes every eight weeks at the official Internet Explorer test site. But although no firm release date has been set, it is thought that version nine will not launch until 2011 at the earliest.

Stephen Dixon, web designer at Manchester SEO agency theEword, has seen plenty of promise in Microsoft's new browser. He said: "I think Internet Explorer 9 is a step in the right direction that gives web developers some much-needed support. Upgrades to HTML5 and CSS3 are great because they open up exciting new web design possibilities, allowing us to build better sites than ever before."

Internet Explorer is the world's most popular browser with an estimated market share of more than 60 per cent. But for the last few weeks, it has been inviting European users to switch to rivals such as Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, Apple Safari and Opera. The browser choice screen was introduced following a legal agreement with the European Commission.