As with any new browser release, there’s a lot of hype around Internet Explorer 9. And there’s particular hype around IE9’s ability to deliver a faster web experience. Here’s what Microsoft has to say about it:
I’ve been wondering about the impact of IE9 on our business, so I decided to undertake a research project and try to quantify how much better it is than previous IE versions in terms of performance.
- Take the landing pages of the top 200 Alexa-ranked retail sites
- Run tests in IE6, IE7, IE8 and IE9 (including video) on Webpagetest from Dulles, VA
- Record and compare the results
As you can see on these graphs, IE9 has very little impact – and possibly even a negative impact – compared to IE8, in terms of load time and time to start render.
When I shopped my findings around Strangeloop, I got this response from our CTO, Kent Alstad:
IE 9 is not the problem. It’s actually a good browser. I like it. But it won’t make websites faster by default — and to its credit, it doesn’t claim to do this. This is merely a conclusion that the general public has leapt to.
It’s crucial to bear in mind that a browser is just an application that renders a site to visitors. To take advantage of IE9’s potential to deliver faster performance, it’s up to site owners to optimize their sites so that IE9 can render it as quickly as possible.
IE9 will offer a dramatic improvement when more sites move to HTML5 and Ajax, but right now, when fewer sites are using these techniques, the gains are not present.