Hello Microsoft, can you count? In the image above you can see the Windows 7 taskbar showing THREE (merged) icons/instances of Internet Explorer, although I only have ONE windows open (they seem to use multiple processes internally when you have many tabs, but why should the user care?). More importantly, in the popup shown when left-clicking the pinned Internet Explorer button, you can count 18 entries for open tabs, however in the Internet Explorer window there are many-many more open tabs.
This occurs both in Classic Windows theme and in Aero theme (using Windows 7 Ultimate – a courtesy of Microsoft to active testers of Windows 7 beta) and shows both when you see a list of titles (for many tabs) and when you’d see previews (shown when that bug makes it “THINK” you have few tabs – you might have lots more of course as shown above)
This brings to the surface the bad practice of some Microsoft teams on Microsoft Connect (former Product Feedback Center). They tend to close bug submissions very easily without checking who I the submitter (e.g. a current or former Microsoft MVP like me) and what is their past record of bug submission resolutions in all Microsoft products over the years.
Especially the many open tabs scenario that really makes IE9 crawl to its knees both in performance and usability, which is really sad given the effort Microsoft has spent on it. Not to speak of the many-many favorites (gathered over several years or from many synced machines – e.g via Windows Live Mesh) scenario and the very poorly designed, folder-based Favorites dialog which takes a long-long time to open up and has a miserable scrolling UI with no embedded Search filter.
Speaking of multiple tabs, in Mozilla Firefox you can set an option to remember tabs that were open at last application run so that you can shut down your PC and continue later. With IE9 only if it crashes it suggests to reopen previous tabs at next run, so unless you use the Add Current Tabs to Favorites (Folder) option of the very-very slow (if you have many favs like me) IE9 Favorites tab, you are forced to keep IE9 and your PC running if you want to checkout those multiple tabs you’ve opened, but don’t have the time to do it all in one go.
Since IE9 final version is being released today (http://www.beautyoftheweb.com), here are some HTML5 showcases from different browser makers to test it out against:
- Microsoft: http://ie.microsoft.com/testdrive
- Mozilla: https://demos.mozilla.org/en-US
- Google: http://www.html5rocks.com / http://studio.html5rocks.com
- Apple: http://www.apple.com/html5
Could even try some of Google’s Chrome specific demos in case they work with IE9 too: http://www.chromeexperiments.com/
IE9 RC (Release Candidate) wasn’t fully HTML5 compliant last time tested mind you, but neither the other browsers were as you can see at W3C tests:
IE9 is way better though than IE8: http://samples.msdn.microsoft.com/ietestcenter/
Can also see lots of HTML5 tests for browsers at: http://html5demos.com/
Here’s a relevant post with nice video of Mozilla’s showcase: http://techtimely.wordpress.com/2011/03/08/html5-showcase-demos/
So should we start drooling on future WebGL support in the browsers’ world too now?
(see video at that post and find more WebGL apps at http://learningwebgl.com/blog/)
Internet Explorer 9 (IE9) has at last introduced a nice download manager, as shown below.
This was long needed, since in IE8 there were cases were downloads with the same filename, when launched from different windows, could get corrupted. The download manager will also show resume download button when needed. IE8 could also resume downloads, but you had to use the exact download URL again for an interrupted download, which was not always easy to find, since some sites generate unique download URLs – especially those that are ad-funded and want you to visit their download page to see the ads, instead of clicking a direct download URL to get the file.
Note that the small icon with the shield that you see above on the left for “Insert Code for Windows Live Writer.msi” means IE’s SmartScreen filter has checked that file and doesn’t find some threat it knows. It is shown upon hovering over an entry’s row with the mouse.
The GUI looks simple and pretty in my opinion (much cleaner than the one in Mozilla I think), but still has some glitches, for example you can resize the columns, they get only resized automatically when you resize the window (sad to break UI behaviour that users have grown to expect thanks to Windows – do vote on this item to get fixed at https://connect.microsoft.com/IE/feedback/details/644796/download-manager-collumns-are-not-resizeable).
Speaking of unexpected UI behaviour (breaking the “least user surprise” rule), another annoying UI glitch is that when you press ALT+TAB at the download manager to navigate to other window, or click some other window to give focus to it (including the IE webpage window) and then bring back to front / give focus back to the download manager again, it scrolls its downloads list back to the top! Obviously it shouldn’t, however when showing the manager from the Tools/View downloads menu etc. it should still scroll to top maybe and also when invoking it from the download started/completed prompt it should scroll to show the specific download item in the list. Reported it too via Help/Send feedback menu, please vote on that too: https://connect.microsoft.com/ie/feedback/details/645072/download-manager-window-scrolls-view-to-top-when-focused-brought-to-front
There are other IE9 RC GUI glitches related to the download manager too, checkout and vote my related feedback at: https://connect.microsoft.com/IE/feedback/details/645058/view-downloads-has-no-icon-in-command-bars-tools-menu-and-is-missing-from-customize-toolbar-dialog. The issues mentioned there are:
- The tools menu shown with the GEARS button at the right side of the screen on the same row as the address bar looks pretty bare with no icons at all. Is this a design style? Why have the icons’ area at the left of that menu then if it is left empty?
- Can’t add View downloads to commands toolbar. First of all, it has no icon in command bar’s Tools menu and moreover, it’s not available at the Customize commands toolbar dialog (Right click Tools menu and select “Customize>Add-Remove commands” to show that dialog)
P.S. Notice the SEO (Search Engine Optimization) trick used at those Microsoft Connect URLs above? They have a unique ID, while at the end they also have text from the title of the entry (of course this practice can lead into ugly and long encoded URLs if the title is not in English). That allows the URL to be more obvious to humans and for search engines to better index those URLs when mentioned on other webpages. It even allows for the original article to be renamed without a problem, since you can type anything after the slash that follows the unique ID number and it still goes to the same article fine.
Strange IE9 RC bug: visited http://www.vodafone.gr/portal/client/cms/viewCmsPage.action?pageId=0515 (via http://bit.ly/vodafone1kai1_xatzigiannis) and then clicked back several times seeing the above strange back/forward buttons (red color) and a Vodafone icon prefixed before them! Closing the window fixed the issue.
Are they using some hidden feature of IE9? Didn’t manage to reproduce the behavior though. If you have more info on this issue, do add comment below.
UPDATE: I think I found the culpit, drag-dropping the page icon from the address bar onto the desktop with IE9 RC doesn’t create a URL shortcut (.url file) as it used to be at IE8, but creates a pinned site shortcut (.website file) and immediately closes the tab/page and reopens it in a new window with the UI appearance shown above (back/forward button colors depend on the page icon dominant color I think). Totally non-intuitive (esp. breaks the rule of “least user surprise”), plus much more slower. Read more on this at http://zoomicon.wordpress.com/2011/02/16/more-ie9-rc-issues-tale-of-two-internet-shortcuts/ (also reported as an issue to Microsoft Connect at https://connect.microsoft.com/IE/feedback/details/644557/drag-dropping-page-icon-from-address-bar-to-the-desktop-issues)
Just installed Internet Explorer 9 (IE9) Release Candidate (RC), found the link at:
Was amazed by it’s performance and clean GUI (especially the choice to move the yellow warning bar to the bottom and make it of smaller width than the browser window in order to be more noticeable). Do visit http://www.beautyoftheweb.com to explore IE9’s potential (and try the billiard game at http://agent8ball.com to see the graphics hardware acceleration).
However, when typing at the address bar (now combined with the search bar since new users were mixing them up and typed URLs at the search bar with unexpected outcome) the suggestions dropdown was showing two Google icons and one Bing.
Then I also noticed that one of the Google icons (the one that was already selected), didn’t allow me to turn on suggestions (send keystrokes to search engine as you type for dynamic search/suggestions).
The suggestions dropdown window just had an “Add” button that takes you to a page with more search providers to add, but no button to allow you to edit those search providers. So I right clicked the empty area at the right side of the address bar and selected to show the “Command bar” (means menu bar).
Then at menu “Tools”, I selected “Manage Add-ons”
There as you can see at the screenshot above (grabbed with ALT+PRINTSCREEN button combination and pasted into Windows Live Writer), the item selected says “Top Result Search” and has “Not Available” and also the “Top Result search address” field says the same. Also noticed in was using “google.gr” whereas the other google icon was using “google.com” and had all search address fields filled-in.
So I reckoned I should remove that problematic entry.
A thing I don’t get is those UIs that don’t allow you to press Remove button at a Default choice and force you to first set another one as default, then they enable the remove button. Totally non-intuitive for new users of computers. They should instead prompt you to select other default after you press Remove on the current Default one. If you must always have one entry there they should just disable remove when list item count is just one.
To keep it short, I clicked Bing as the Default search engine by selecting it and pressing “Set as Default”, then clicked the problematic Google search entry and selected “Remove” (the remove button was now available since it wasn’t the default search anymore).
The clicked “Close” and all was fine with search suggestions for both Bing and Google, plus got rid of that 2nd Google icon at the search suggestions drop-down window.