Microsoft lays out the future of Internet Explorer

Microsoft Internet Explorer logoAs part of its continued quest to be more open and accessible, Microsoft has confirmed some of what it's working on for the next version of Internet Explorer.

Among the features in development are the Media Capture API, that lets Web content manipulate audio and video streams from microphones and webcams, the HTTP/2 protocol, currently being developed by IETF, and Web Audio, an API that lets JavaScript process and synthesize audio. The company also plans to implement a JavaScript feature called Promises that should streamline development of asynchronous scripts.

These features and others are listed on the newly updated site, on which Microsoft lists a whole bunch of up-and-coming Web standards and its attitude towards them. Many have already been implemented; a handful, such as WebP image support and the WebRTC communications API, are "not currently planned." Still more are vaguely "under consideration."

It's the final category—"in development"—that's most interesting, as this is the one that gives insight into the next version of Microsoft's browser. HTTP/2, Media Capture, and Web Audio join other features currently in development such as HTTP Strict Transport Security, which lets domains force the use of SSL connections, and the GamePad API, that'll let browser-based games use gamepads.

In addition to these new features, the company outlined the way it will develop the browser going forward. The first priority is getting users current, ensuring that, especially in the enterprise, users can upgrade to the latest version of Internet Explorer without risk of breaking legacy apps. This has traditionally been one of Internet Explorer's weakest points, with only Internet Explorer 11 being quickly picked up and installed. Features must be secure to ensure there's confidence in the browser.

The final priority is that new development must be both interoperable with other browsers and compatible with the existing legacy of Web content.

Not everyone is likely to be happy at the Internet Explorer team's choices—different groups will no doubt wish that Microsoft prioritized differently to be more aligned with its goals—but the openness and direction reinforces the way that Microsoft has changed since just a few years ago.

Source: Ars Technica

Tags: browsers, Internet Explorer, Microsoft

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