Thursday, 15 September 2011

Internet Explorer 9 - Will your web apps work?

Internet Explorer 9 offers a wealth of benefits to organisations. From security to speed, it has been argued that “The arrival of Windows Internet Explorer 9 is arguably the most dramatic upgrade in the browser's illustrious 16-year history." In addition, as Greg Lambert, Chief Technology Architect, ChangeBASE suggests, "IE9 is the latest browser edition and forms a core element of the migration path to Windows 7."

However, the adoption of this latest version of the Microsoft browser and its associated benefits may pose significant compatibility issues with regard to both presentation and functionality. Left unchecked, this may hinder the user experience and in turn lead to lost revenue and damage to an organisation's reputation.

Here's the ChangeBASE website as it is intended to be displayed: 

One of the major changes in Internet Explorer 9 is the enforcement of strict rules that mandate that certain content such as cascading style sheets and external JavaScript files be sent with the correct MIME type.

The below image illustrates what happens in Internet Explorer Standards Mode when Cascading Style Sheets are delivered with an incorrect MIME type; they are completely ignored and much of the formatting is lost. This image demonstrates how the same ChangeBASE website would look if these serious rendering deficiencies were encountered.

This next image shows the result of creating an HTML element on-the-fly using a piece of JavaScript that used to be acceptable in Internet Explorer 8 and earlier, but now is illegal in Internet Explorer 9 Standards mode.

If we insert some further JavaScript code that was perfectly acceptable in Internet Explorer 8, further errors are encountered. Depending on the level of debugging and error reporting set in the options of Internet Explorer 9, this issue could fail silently with highly unpredictable results.

As you can see, organisations who move to Internet Explorer 9 without addressing the application compatibility challenge may encounter serious problems both internally and externally. From 5th October 2011, AOK Browse-It by ChangeBASE will offer new Internet Explorer 9 plug-ins to identify these problems, enabling organisations to adopt the new browser more quickly and with less risk.

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