Canada is Building a More Beautiful Web

With its support for modern web standards like HTML5, CSS3 and SVG, super-fast JavaScript performance, a rich developer experience, full hardware accelerationInternet Explorer 9 (IE9) has a tremendous amount to offer for web developers. (For an overview of developer-specific features and improvements in IE9, make sure to check out the Internet Explorer 9 Beta Guide for Developers.)

Over the past number of months, our team has been working incredibly hard to support your skills around web development and IE9. We’ve talked a great deal about these topics at events like Microsoft TechDays Canada 2010 and the Internet Explorer 9 Webcast Series with Imaginet; we’ve published numerous articles in the MSDN Flash; and, of course, we’ve written extensively about these topics on this blog. Make sure to stay tuned to this blog or the MSDN Flash for news and event information for Canadian web developers!

In September of last year, Internet Explorer 9 Beta was unveiled to the world. Since then, IE9 Beta has been downloaded 20 million times and now accounts for 0.46% of internet users worldwide. Here in Canada, many sites are building a more beautiful web by supporting the integration capabilities of IE9 such as Pinned Sites, that help them to shine through Windows 7. Here are just a few you should check out:

cbc.ca (Homepage for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation)
cbc.ca (Homepage for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation)

ctv.ca (Homepage for a television network in Canada)
ctv.ca (Homepage for a television network in Canada)

theweathernetwork.com (24-hour weather specialty channel)
theweathernetwork.com (24-hour weather specialty channel)

tou.tv (Quebecois video-on-demand website from the Société Radio-Canada)
tou.tv (Quebecois video-on-demand website from the Société Radio-Canada)

radio-canada.ca (Homepage for the Société Radio-Canada)
radio-canada.ca (Homepage for the Société Radio-Canada)

sonystyle.ca (Product homepage for Sony)
sonystyle.ca (Product homepage for Sony)

redflagdeals.com (“Canada’s bargain hunting community”)
redflagdeals.com (“Canada’s bargain hunting community”)

Light Up Your Website on Internet Explorer 9

If you’re a web developer then I would strongly urge you to check out IE9 and enable your sites to take advantage of its capabilities. Here are the three (3) simple steps to get you started:

1. Test and validate your website in IE9. This means not only testing for compatibility but also taking advantage of HTML5 and CSS3. One way to do this is by downloading and installing the IE9 Beta (or, the IE9 Platform Preview) and testing your site. You can take this a step further by testing your site in SuperPreview, which is a must-have tool if you’re a web developer. In September, we added support for IE9 and Safari 5 to SuperPreview.

Microsoft Expression Web 4 SuperPreview showing IE9 and Safari 5
Microsoft Expression Web 4 SuperPreview showing IE9 and Safari 5

As a side note, if you’re looking to get your feet wet on HTML5 and CSS3, you’ll find a mountain of information and resources online (i.e. here, here or here). However, I’d recommend that you start with Dive into HTML5 by Mark Pilgrim. You can pick up a book (i.e. CSS3 For Web Designers) or follow some of the awesome web developers in Canada; I’ve listed a number of these folks on my post entitled Developers in Canada You Should Follow on Twitter. Also, there are a lot of great websites and blogs providing great information on these topics as well. (Too many to list here. Note to self: I should write a link list in the near future.)

2. Create and associate a site icon with your website. This is incredibly easy to do. Earlier this week, I wrote a step-by-step blog post on the X-Icon Editor that demonstrates how to do this. Site icons (AKA, favicons) are used to help establish the identity of your website and should be considered a priority.

Site icon from beautyoftheweb.ca integration in Internet Explorer 9
Site icon from beautyoftheweb.ca integration in Internet Explorer 9

3. Support Pinned Sites in IE9 to have your website shine through on Windows 7. This step takes very little time and provides a great experience for your visitors running Windows 7. I recommend reading Tim Sneath’s blog post entitled, Real-World Implementations of Pinned Sites with IE9 to see how this is done.

cbc.ca IE9 jump list integration on Windows 7
cbc.ca IE9 jump list integration on Windows 7

I love Internet Explorer 9 and it’s awesome to see the work being done in Canada to help build a more beautiful web. I would encourage you to check out the IE9 Beta and the IE9 Platform Preview for yourself. (Downloads are here.) If you’re looking to integrate the capabilities of IE9 and need some guidance, drop me a line (john.bristowe@microsoft.com). Or, let me know about your work with IE9! I’m always looking for more amazing examples from Canadian web developers.