Well I have been using the IE9 Beta for a few days now and thought I would share some opinions about my initial perceptions on it and ask you for yours as well.
The first thing you will notice about the new IE9 is the minimal user interface.
The address bar is now on the same line as your browser tabs instead of taking up two lines between them. This same line has your Forward and Back buttons and three icons that give you access to your Homepage, Favorites (including Feeds and History), and your Tools menu. You can search from within the address bar in IE9 instead of having two separate bars like in IE8 (one for search and one for addresses).
The remainder of the screen is all browser window.
You can gain access to the previous pages you have visited by Right Clicking on the Back Button:
If you Right Click on the open space between the tabs and the three icons on the far right you will get the IE9 Context Menu:
From here you can turn on/off other graphical elements in the browser – these will look very similar to interface elements in IE8.
Move Stop and Refresh (relocates those two buttons from the right side of the Address Bar to the left)
The notification bar now appears at the bottom of the main browser screen and is colored based on the severity of the issue that it is trying to get your attention about - it really does stay out of the way. In fact, it is so good at staying out of the way that I have missed it a couple of times!
There is also a Download Manager in IE9 and it will keep track of the downloads you have done while browsing.
For this reason I have had to abandon the IE9 Beta for now on my production machine because use of the drag and drop functionality is important to maintaining my website in WordPress. I could choose to use an alternate browser for those functions but that is not an option I choose because I am dedicated IE user.
Also, Internet Explorer 9 will only run on Windows Vista systems and higher – no Windows XP support at all. There is still a pretty big chunk of PC’s out there running Windows XP so this is a huge choice on Microsoft’s part. I agree with it. Eventually you have to stop developing for an unsecure operating system and Windows XP is just that. Between the end of its life cycle support and slowly being phased out of programs, etc. maybe this will result in Windows XP really starting to get replaced on PC desktops.
So what do you think of the lack of support for Windows XP? How about anything you have seen that is working well or not so well in IE9 itself? Would love to hear from you about your experience and highlights using IE9.