Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 15th Sep 2010 19:14 UTC
Internet Explorer After several months and preview releases, Microsoft has finally lifted the curtain for the Windows Explorer 9 beta release. Internet Explorer 9 is Microsoft's attempt at not just catching up to the competition, but at actually surpassing them. Since enough sites will be focusing on just how many nanoseconds faster or slower the beta is compared to the competition, I'll talk a little about the new minimalist interface.
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nt_jerkface
Member since:
2009-08-26

They're using WPF? from what I understand they're using Direct2D/DirectWrite for their rendering which is hardware accelerated thus very much dependent on the quality of the underlying video card drivers.


Technically yes it is Direct2D but it's the same underlying problem. WPF is also hardware accelerated and basically has the same text renderer. I don't want to get into the details but they basically built WPF with the assumption that we would all have super high dpi monitors by now. Anyways it really pissed off a lot of .net developers since in many cases they didn't notice until testing the program later on a laptop with a lower res. Reverting back to GDI isn't something you can do with a couple clicks. Anyways MS improved the situation for WPF but it is still an issue for fonts that are not designed for ClearType. With most WPF .net applications you can control the font list but IE9 of course has a big problem which is web fonts.

Anyways this the problem in detail from MS without of course the part about pissing off .net developers:
http://windowsclient.net/wpf/white-papers/wpftextclarity.aspx

Reply Parent Score: 1

MollyC Member since:
2006-07-04

That article talks about rendering text at "small sizes", but even large sized text isn't rendered correctly.
The IE9 "Welcome" screen itself:
http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/internet-explorer/products/ie-9/...

The big blue "welcome to a more beautiful web" text is jaggy, particularly noticeable on the "e" and "a" characters, but almost all of the characters are bad. Zooming only enhances the jaggies.

Yet if I go to the IE9 Test page (http://ie.microsoft.com/testdrive/ (the one that the IE9 Platform Preview has been using)), the text looks fine, both in general and in the various DirectWrite and WebFont tests (the rendering, animation, scrolling, and zooming is all fine). I assume that DirectWrite has trouble with certain fonts, but it's weird that the IE9 Welcome page would use one of the problematic fonts.

Anyway, the IE blog says that they're aware of the text rendering issues and will address them in an update to the beta.

Reply Parent Score: 2

nt_jerkface Member since:
2009-08-26

They are trying to downplay the situation in that article but it is true that it is more of a problem at smaller sizes.

On my monitor that title just looks a bit thin in IE9 but the letters look fine. The fonts in this thread are what look a little fuzzy.

This is the WPF 4.0 fix:
http://blogs.msdn.com/b/text/archive/2009/08/24/wpf-4-0-text-stack-...

and if you look in the comments you can see that there are still complaints. It's a huge improvement from the original WPF release though. I've seen quite a few comments on places like stackoverflow where .net developers have been avoiding WPF for this reason.

It really breaks down to favoring accuracy over readability with the assumption that monitors would have higher DPIs by now. Firefox uses direct2d for hardware acceleration and is running into the same problem:
http://www.neowin.net/news/mozilla-to-release-firefox-beta-4-on-mon...

Edited 2010-09-16 16:57 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2