Friday, October 28, 2011

Internet Explorer 9

Our District Technology Director has informed me that the latest version of our District’s preferred web browser, Internet Explorer 9, will be deployed in the undetermined future. Teachers won’t have to do anything special – it will install in a scheduled update – but that means that one morning you’ll come to school and POOF! It will appear.

Okay… more likely, pooooooooooooooooooooooooooffffffff. <It will likely take a while for your computer to boot up that morning.>

He encouraged me to install it myself and have a look around. Teachers can also upgrade their browser on their own at any time, and many have already done so. (Kudos to you early-adopters!)

To give you a bit of a preview, here’s a quick promo video you may have seen on TV recently… I love the old dial-up modem sound at the beginning… ah, memories…

So what’s REALLY different about IE9 to the casual user? Have a look at this screen shot of the toolbar at the top of an IE9 window:
  • First of all, I think it really does provide “A MORE BEAUTIFUL WEB” experience! Colors seem brighter, images seem more crisp, there's more space to view the sites, and it seems to run a bit quicker than before. Maybe that’s just the “honeymoon-effect.” We’ll see…
  • The Menu, Commands, Favorites, and Search bars have disappeared, leaving more screen real estate for viewing Web sites
    • To bring them back, simply right-click in the space above the tabs and click to check-mark the ones you want
    • But seriously, do you really NEED a half-dozen extra annoying toolbars? Turn them off by right-clicking as described above and unchecking them. PLEASE!
  • There’s a bigger Back button on the left, which is nice.
    • To go back multiple pages, click-and-hold until a menu appears (or just right-click if you are pressed for time)
    • Same thing works for going forward, too.
  • The Favorites and Settings icons have been shmooshed over to the far-right:
    • This might take a little getting-used-to for users who do not embrace change easily.
    • If you bring back the Favorites, menu, and Command bar (see above), it looks like IE8 again, and you can avoid change. But REALLY… where’s the fun in that…?
  • The Search bar and the Address bar are now one and the same:
    • To go directly to a Web site, just type in the URL and press Enter on your keyboard. (For us old-schoolers that’s the Return key.)
    • To search for something, type in the term (-s) you want to search for and click the little magnifying glass icon.
    • When you upgrade, your default search provider should carry over. But, if you feel the need to change the default search engine to something different, just start typing in the search/address bar. At the bottom of the drop-down menu that appears, you’ll see a button marked “Add.” Click it and you can select a new search engine, like Bing or Google, etc. Follow the prompts and eventually you’ll see the words “Make this my default search provider.” Check the box next to that phrase and click “Add.”
    • And PLEASE… Stop Googling Google… That rips a hole in the space-time continuum, disrupts the Force, damages the Internet’s flux capacitors, and is a general waste of everyone’s time.
Of course, there are lots more new features, but this should give you a heads-up on some of the basic changes on the surface. Below are some links from Microsoft if you’d like to dive deeper:
Click here to watch the Microsoft video “What’s changed in Internet Explorer 9.”
View other videos about IE9 features.
Discover the features of Internet Explorer 9

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