Crawling across the internets as I have a tendency to do has as usual brought plenty of ignorant comments to my attention. Today about Internet Explorer 9. It always amazes me how willing people are to spout off about something they know nothing or little about. So let's tackle some of them.

I am guessing this is on a PC that has been specially optimised by Microsoft to run its browser content as fast as possible by breaking from web standards?
Another situation where things can already be done on all other browsers perfectly well, but now web developers will be forced to tailor their sites specifically to cater for more Internet Explorer specific quirks.

And you're guessing wrong. Completely wrong. Internet Explorer 9 is just faster. Orders of magnitude faster on graphically intensive websites. How? Because it uses DirectX and the GPU to help out.

Haven't had a chance to look if this uses open web standards but, if it doesn't, it's a return to the good old days of IE6, which mucked around with what everyone else was trying to do on the web and ended with having to hack sites to work in MS browsers.

This is the sort of line trotted out by the Firefox crowd. Web standards as if there is only one gold plated standard that can never change, and to which a browser is either completely compliant or not. Internet Explorer 6 did support web standards that were finished when it was released. Such as HTML4 and CSS1. Internet Explorer was the first browser to fully support CSS1.

The standards that most of the Firefox guys refer to is CSS2.1. Between the releases of IE6 and 7. CSS2 was essentially canned because IE, Netscape, Mozilla and Opera rendered everything so inconsistently with each other.

CSS2.1 was developed to try and sort these problems out but didn't reach candidate recommendation status until 2004, and was quickly moved back to draft to work out a slew of problems with it. It only re-emerged as recommended back in 2007.

So it wasn't that Internet Explorer 6 didn't support standards - it did. It just didn't support CSS2.1, well that's no surprise since CSS2.1 was finalised 6 years after it was released. But by around 2005 the web developer crowd decided they all wanted to use CSS, even for things its really bad at such as controlling layout.

Internet Explorer 7 hit all the main CSS2.1 features that were commonly being used, and Internet Explorer 8 pretty much finished up CSS2.1 support. But even to this day, no browser on the planet supports every feature of CSS2.1, heck they don't even support all the features of HTML4.

Does that mean there aren't any standards compliant browsers? So as you see standards compliance is a sort of funny phrase in the browser world. The proper question to ask would be does it support standard X, and does it support feature Y from standard X, and is standard X even finished yet, or could it change?

Internet Explorer 9's standard support include almost complete support for HTML4, and CSS2.1. And partial support for HTML5 and CSS3. And a bunch of other stuff I don't use like SVG, DOM and all this other stuff. Which is pretty much the same as every other browser out there at the moment.

Neither HTML5 or CSS3 are finished yet, so naturally browsers have to be conservative with implementing features from them, if the standard changed before being released, you'd have one body of developers and browsers rendering things in the old draft way, essentially breaking the web again like back with CSS2. We've seen this trend happening far too much in the technology world lately, what with all the Draft N wireless devices about, all of which could have been rendered obsolete if the final N standard changed. To be completely honest implementing standards which are still under development is just asking for trouble.

Open platforms which allow you to customise and build your own methods of working are the future, and until Microsoft see that this is the way the tide is turning, rather than developing closed systems that require, say, a shiny expensive Office suite to work correctly, they will continue to be shunned by the cool kids.

Office 2010 reads and writes to Office Open XML also known as ISO/IEC 29500 Transitional. This is an international standard that anybody can implement. it also reads and writes OpenDocument also known as ISO/IEC 26300. Another open standard. Office hasn't been using closed, hard to read binary formats in years. Try and keep up.

It's a Windows only browser. Nobody developing websites is going to only include Windows users. There are so many mobile Internet users now. The future of the web is in the palm, so that's smartphones and tablets.

Err, if developers write to the standards they don't need to target IE9. That's the point of standards, remember? It's just the people using it have a better experience.

To make the IE9/Windows 7 features really shine only takes a couple of lines of code. Amazon do it, Twitter are doing it, Facebook and doing it, and I'm doing it too.

Oh and by the way Windows = >90% of my visitors across my websites. Mobile = <5%.

very surprised that your article completely missed the fact that 6 out of 10 windows users are running XP which microsoft in their wisdom have decided cannot use IE9 - if i made the decision to roll out one of my key new products to only 40 percent of my existing customer base, not sure i would make it out of the office alive....!

Correct. IE9 won't work on Windows XP, not out of simply choice. But because Windows XP doesn't support the technologies to do this well. Namely DirectX10 and Direct2D both of which were introduced with Windows Vista.

Anyway can you imagine how bad IE9 would look with the bright fisher-price style UI of Windows XP going around it? Yuck.

""Instead of using 10% of the power on your PC, we're now using 100%," says Leila Martine, who runs the Windows consumer business in the UK."

and what will happen to those of us who run other applications at the same time? will everything else slow down to a crawl?

Don't be daft. She's not talking about using 100% of your CPU, she's talking about making use of the hardware in your machine. It uses less CPU than other browsers because it dumps more of the work onto the GPU, which normally is sat there idling away.

What's IE9's Acid3 score? :) IE7 manages a piddling 12%, IE8 20% (according to the screenshot on Wikipedia), FF 3.6.10 manages 94% and most WebKit browsers 100%...

It's 95, you know it really isn't hard to find out. It won't support the remaining features that Acid3 uses because they're not going to be part of a standard.