Microsoft launched on Thursday the developer preview of Internet Explorer 11 for Windows 7. It follows the release of Microsoft's latest browser in Windows 8.1 Preview, which requires Windows 8 customers to install the OS update before they can test-drive the latest Internet Explorer build. The company confirmed late last month that the browser would eventually be brought to Windows 7 customers although a time frame was not provided.
"In IE11, developers can build next generation experiences with professional-quality Web video, and hyper-fast 2D and 3D Web technologies that make the most of the underlying hardware," the company said. "IE11 supports real world standards and compatibility, and new developer tools enable developers to build high-performance Web experiences."
Microsoft said that Windows 7 customers will receive all of the performance, security, and under-the-hood changes that went into the Windows 8.1 version. These include natively decoding JPG images and text in real-time on the GPU – both of which are the heart and soul of the Internet. It also implements the W3C Resource Priorities standard enabling developers to specify which parts of the page are important and need to be loaded first.
"IE11 also supports HTML5 link prefetching and pre-rendering, so developers can help the browser anticipate where you’ll go next and get those pages ready," the company said. "On Windows 8.1, IE11 also supports the SPDY network protocol, the precursor to the HTTP 2.0 specification, enabling some sites to be downloaded faster."
The company points out that Internet Explorer 11 supports WebGL for GPU-powered 2D and 3D graphics, and plugin-free HTML5-based video. All the latest standards for closed captioning is supported as well as is the HTML Full Screen API and WebCrypto. The version on Windows 8.1 also supports the latest media streaming standards, Media Source Extensions (MSE) and Encrypted Media Extensions (EME).
"IE11 includes a completely re-designed and enhanced suite of in-browser F12 developer tools," the company said. "These tools help Web developers diagnose and optimize their apps quickly and efficiently. Having fast and reliable Web apps is more critical than ever. The new F12 supports the fast, iterative workflow used by modern Web developers. F12 helps developers get from problem to solution quickly with actionable data, enabling fast and fluid Web experiences."
The full disclosure about Internet Explorer 11 for Windows 7 can be read here along with a link to the download.