Word is that Microsoft will be holding a limited attendance launch of the first beta release of Internet Explorer 9 on September 15th. It was an announcement that came with some good and bad information – depending of course on your user interface preferences.
One thing that we won’t be seeing in this beta, or final release, which I am sure a lot of people will be glad to hear, is the use of the Ribbon UI. This is according to a post by Tom Warren at Neowin which is where he also let us know that we also won’t be seeing any of the new MetroUI elements that has been getting a lot of good press.
Now personally I would have loved to see the use of the MetroUI in IE9 but I understand why there wasn’t much of a chance of it happening. As cool and well received the MetroUI has been by the tech crowd I believe that Microsoft wants to see the response of the consumer after Windows Phone 7 hits t he retail stream before deciding on whether to expand the use of the UI or not in other Windows related products.
Don’t be too disappointed though because the one piece of really good news is that IE9 could be sporting a whole new simplified user interface ala Google Chrome. From Tom’s post:
The software giant is not planning to use Metro or Ribbon UI elements in IE9 but instead it will stick to a simplistic UI similar to that of Google’s Chrome. However, still expect some very unique UI features in Internet Explorer 9.
Microsoft is also planning broader support for HTML5 in Internet Explorer 9 through its new script engine.
Now this makes me happy as I personally really like the Chrome UI and really you don’t need a lot of glitz and eye-candy to browse the web. As good as all these changes might be with Internet Explorer 9 there is still one thing that could slow down adoption of it – especially within the more knowledgeable tech sector – lack of extensions.
This is something that I wrote about back at the beginning of August where I said this
You see if there is one thing, and one thing only, that could stall any large adoption of Internet Explorer 9 is if it doesn’t supports extensions from day one. I’m not talking about the same old ActiveX plugin architecture we are use to with past versions of Internet Explorer; but rather the same simple to build, distribute and install extensions we see with Chrome and Firefox.
This could be Internet Explorer’s big weakness because those simple plugin extensions have become an integral part of any browser experience. Even Google Chrome faced an uphill battle getting people to switch until they finally added extension support. Once they did that Chrome usage has consistently climb. Hell, even Apple has seen how these little snippets of code are as of Safari 5.
I still believe that, but it doesn’t change the fact that I am really looking forward to this next version of Internet Explorer.