Linked by Kroc Camen on Sat 26th Jun 2010 10:48 UTC
Internet Explorer Microsoft have released IE9 Platform Preview 3, an application that gives developers access to the IE9 rendering engine (it's not a full browser). In this update they have added hardware accelerated HTML5 Video, Canvas, Fonts (using WOFF) and big improvements in JavaScript with ES5, DOM Traversal, L2 and L3 events and 83/100 Acid3 score. It sits between Firefox and Chrome 6 on JavaScript speed, but outperforms every browser in real tests.
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RE[6]: Real tests
by lemur2 on Sat 26th Jun 2010 14:51 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Real tests"
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The hyped hardware acceleration in IE9 is nothing more than IE changing from using the GDI scanline renderer to the Direct2D renderer they added in Windows 7. This is a public API and so any competitor can also use this for their rendering if they so desire.

Direct2D is Windows-only. If one writes an application to use Direct2D, then it is forever doomed to be a Windows-only application.

All of IE9's competition (that is, other competitive browsers, to whit: Opera, Firefox, Chrome and Safari) are all cross-platform applications. They all use APIs that are not going to doom them into being Windows-only applications.

OpenGL on Windows is crippleware. OpenGL or Xrender would be the APIs that other browsers would use, and not Direct2D. Firefox uses Cairo, for example, and hardware acceleration for Cairo is being done via OpenGL. This will work well everywhere except Windows.

The current plan to hardware accelerate Gecko and Firefox is to use OpenGL. This seems like a good starting point because it's supported (to varying degrees) on all the platforms we care about (including mobile platforms, in the form of OpenGL ES). (Note that it will be necessary to support both software and hardware render paths, because not all computers will be capable of GPU acceleration.)

Follow-on work for this might include making a Direct3D/Direct2D backend, especially if it's found that OpenGL stability/availability on Windows isn't sufficient.

So applications like Firefox for Windows have to write functionality like hardware acceleration twice. They have to write it once for most platforms using Xrender or OpenGL, and then they have to write it again for Direct2D, just for Windows:

It will happen, but it will take a bit longer. This is just another way for Microsoft to make other teams look slower, for Microsoft to write its applications to be Windows-only, and in general to create a software corpus which is harder to make cross-platform than it needs to be if Microsoft had stuck with standard APIs.

Edited 2010-06-26 15:09 UTC

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