IE11 supports WebGL, gains better debug tools

Microsoft unveils its new touchscreen browser preview

As part of its Windows 8.1 Preview, Microsoft has confirmed details relating to Internet Explorer 11 (IE11).

In an article on IEBlog, Dean Hachamovitch, corporate vice president, Internet Explorer, said IE11 was “fast, fluid and perfect for touch", and was designed to be “an experience where sites and apps work flawlessly together”.

For web developers, the big news is 'hardware-accelerated 3D web graphics', namely WebGL support.

“Interoperable WebGL experiences run on all devices, taking advantage of GPU acceleration. IE11 scans for unsafe WebGL content and implements a software-based renderer to complement the GPU,” explained Hachamovitch. “With Windows, graphics subsystem failures are not fatal, and WebGL continues to run. With IE11, your 3D experiences can access device orientation to create new interaction opportunities for immersive web content.”

On this particular update, digital artist Seb Lee-Delisle told .net: “I think you could sum up my response as: WebGL? HELL YEAH! It’s about time desktop Safari switched it on by default, too, and hopefully the fact IE11 runs on tablets will finally push iOS Safari to enable it too.”

IE11 also includes a new set of developer tools, to which designer Dave Shea remarked on Twitter: “Credit where it's due, the IE11 dev tools make me want to actually use them.”

Elsewhere, IE11 offers side-by-side, two-up browsing, a number of touch and battery life optimisations, “up to 100 tabs per window” and tab suspension, along with a number of improvements regarding web standards support, as outlined by W3C CSS WG Member David Storey.