An Accounting Website Designer Examines Internet Explorer 9

Microsoft recently released its next generation version of Internet Explorer, Internet Explorer 9. It’s been years since Microsoft has put out a real version upgrade of it’s browser. One would actually assume that in quite a while they would have accomplished a whole lot more. This “improvement” is overdue and comes up short. With the dawn of CSS3 and HTML5 something certainly needed to be done. In this article, we’ll take a look at IE9 and try to understand how it will change the way accounting websites are designed.

Faster Graphics The biggest improvement to IE9 is also the most useless to me as an accounting website designer. Still, in the interest of fairness and balance let’s take a look at hardware acceleration. This feature is actually well executed… if you have a machine that will run it. This means that while Hardware Acceleration is a significant technical achievement one, it’s also pretty useless unless you play browser games like “Farmville” or “Battlestar Galactica”. If you do play these types of games you’re probably familiar with the dreaded phenomena of “lag”. IE9’s hardware acceleration will pretty much eliminate this nuisance.

What’s in an OS? This really ticks me off. We could use IE9 to it’s full (if limited) potential and you may very well not be able to see the changes. IE9 doesn’t support the XP operating system. As of February of 2011, Windows XP was still the most widely used OS on the market with a market share of ~41%. Next in line was Windows 7 at ~26% and then Windows Vista at roughly 14% market share. It makes no sense that IE9 won’t work with XP. There are more XP users than Vista and Win 7 combined!

There’s no technical reason XP couldn’t run it. Microsoft is trying to force computer owners to upgrade using a tried and true manufacturing technique called “Built in Obsolescence”. Microsoft wants to phase out Windows XP, but we both know that a lot of your clients and prospects won’t be bullied into buying a new OS or computer just so they can use a new browser. Besides, Google Chrome 10 and Firefox 4 are available for Windows XP users and they both have hardware acceleration built into them.

Inadequate CSS3 Support My biggest disappointment is IE9’s treatment of CSS3. CSS is a “style sheet language” that allows document standards like fonts, colors etc to be defined with defaults and standards specific to that document. Unlike Hardware Acceleration CSS3 offers a lot of new opportunities in improving the look and feel of your accounting websites. CSS3 supports a whole host of new style elements that IE9 does not. I got pretty excited when I heard that IE9 was bragging about HTML5 and CSS3 support. I honestly believed that Microsoft was going to stop treating it’s browser users like a bunch of inept technophobes. Nope.

I’m sure new functionalities will trickle in as the browser is patched. Truth is I haven’t been paying that much attention and by now I should hope some of them already have. We’re just using the new standards (which other browsers DO support) and hoping that IE catches up at some point. However, I see no excuse to why Microsoft couldn’t integrate the properties of border image, text shadow, and gradients into IE9. These three properties alone would virtually eliminate the need to produce images for certain styles of text that a designer might want to use in a web design.

Leave a Reply