Performance, Rendering Improvements Coming in IE9
With IE’s market share continuing its decline, Microsoft is working overtime to catch up to the current generation of browsers. If everything Microsoft showed with IE9 at their Professional Developers Conference comes to pass, they may be able to stem the bleeding.
One of the most innovate features they’re working on is GPU acceleration. Right now browsers render the drawing canvas via the CPU, which is generally the slowest and most expensive (power, execution time, etc.) way to paint on the screen. IE9 will leverage the Direct2D Windows API to render graphics, which should speed page drawing and decrease the hit to the CPU.
Although it’s vaporware at this point, IE9 looks like it’s going to add some innovative features. It’s hard to say how compelling these features will be by the time IE9 comes out - at the rate Chrome is going they will have had 4 new major releases by then. Still, anything to improve the default browser on Windows helps web developers everywhere.