IE 9 RC arrives, with WebM and geolocation

The time standards-loving web developers have been anticipating for months is nearly upon us: Microsoft has made available the Release Candidate (RC) of their new Internet Explorer 9 web browser, the final release before the production release is made.

There’s no one major feature headlining this release, unlike the Platform Previews and Beta that went before it. Instead Microsoft is claiming gains across the board, most notably (according to them) “faster with real world sites”, a thinly-veiled jab at other browser vendor’s fanfare over the speed of their browsers (i.e. Google Chrome). Cat-fighting aside, Microsoft’s Corporate Vice President for Internet Explorer (yes that title exists) Deam Hachamovitch claims a practice called “scenario tuning” should enable faster responses from sites heavy on client-side processing, as well as some compiler opitimisations and memory use redutions.

Once you cut through the fluffy features, there are some interesting developments from a web builder’s perspective. The caching on the networking has been overhauled to provide better performance; the JavaScript geolocation API has been enabled; and, most interestingly, there is support for enabling WebM video through the installation of a separate codec.

Try it out with a download from the IE 9 site. There’s no word yet on whether it cheats at browser benchmarks, though.

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