Jason Weber, Partner Group Program Manager of Internet Explorer, announced on Monday the launch of the Internet Explorer Developer Channel, a fully functional release of Microsoft's browser that provides Web developers and early adopters an early taste of the features Microsoft is currently working on.
Customers running Internet Explorer 11 can download the Developer Channel version for Windows 8.1 and Windows 7 SP1 now. The beta browser will run alongside and independently of Internet Explorer 11 so that new features don't interfere with the stable channel's performance. Users of the Dev Channel are asked to provide feedback through @IEDevChat or Connect.
The Developer Channel version also comes with the emerging WebDriver standard. Weber says that developers can "write tests to automate Web browsers to test their sites," and that it's a "programmable remote control for developing complex user scenarios and running them in an automated fashion in your Web site and browser."
IE Developer Channel even includes improvements to the F12 developer tools including an enhanced debugging experience with event breakpoints, richer analysis capabilities throughout the Memory and UI Responsiveness profilers, and an improved navigator experience that includes more keyboard shortcuts.
"As we work on new features and standards, we will continue to share early code through the IE Developer Channel," he writes. "You can always go to the DevChannel.Modern.IE page to learn more about the latest features in the IE Developer Channel. All of the new features supported in IE Developer Channel are also listed on Status.Modern.IE, our new portal to communicate our roadmap for interoperable Web platform features."
Weber warns that IE Developer Channel uses virtualization and code changes so that it can run alongside the stable version of Internet Explorer 11. The virtualization portion causes a performance hit, so the Developer Channel version should not be used to measure a site's performance and should not be installed in an enterprise environment.