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Internet Explorer Graphics Microsoft Upgrades Technology

IE9 Flaunts Hardware-Accelerated Canvas 265

Posted by timothy
from the flaunting-not-flouting dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Over on the IE blog they have a rundown of IE9's hardware accelerated support for the canvas element. They write, 'With the recent release of the latest IE9 platform preview, we talked about how we're rebuilding the browser to use the power of your whole PC to browse the web, and to unlock a new class of HTML5 applications. One area that developers are especially excited about is the potential of HTML5 canvas. Like all of the graphics in IE9, canvas is hardware accelerated through Windows and the GPU. In this blog post we discuss some of the details behind canvas and the kinds of things developers can build.'"
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IE9 Flaunts Hardware-Accelerated Canvas

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  • by Narcocide (102829) on Saturday July 03, 2010 @02:13AM (#32783618) Homepage

    will ie9 support that?

  • by stavrica (701765) on Saturday July 03, 2010 @02:16AM (#32783638) Homepage Journal

    We developed a web based game BattleCell [battlecell.com] that uses Ajax/CSS instead of Flash for all the heavy lifting. We discover at least one new bug in the IE rendering engine every month. Our pile of IE bugs in the back room that we have to track every time we develop a new feature is testament to the dread with which we view this new hardware-based rendering engine. We know what we're doing.

    Just last week, we learned that once you have a stack of enough semi-transparent layers (combination of PNGs with alpha channels coupled with DIVs with various opacity CSS settings), IE fails to render the top-most layers. This doesn't happen after 20-30 layers. This happens after 5-7 layers. At first we thought our code was faulty, until we realized that scrolling down such a page with multiple layers will cause text that was previously "invisible" to suddenly be rendered in its specified color... as we kept scrolling, the text would then disappear again. You get the idea.

    Obviously, this all works flawlessly in Safari, Chrome, Opera. For IE, we get to re-architect all sorts of work-arounds --a house built on sand.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 03, 2010 @02:26AM (#32783674)

    Adobe should just opensource and not open spec their flash player. The money is in the tools and not the playback software. Chock it up in to HTML 5 spec integration and be done with it. That way people are starting from a point that has everything html5 offer.

  • by fat_mike (71855) on Saturday July 03, 2010 @02:59AM (#32783802)

    You mean standards like Flash and other rich content pages that don't make IE choke and take three minutes to load like Firefox?

    You mean standards like full screen non-jerky/tearing video?

    You mean standards like actually asking you if you want to upgrade instead of starting Firefox and five minutes later finally realizing that its taking so long because its upgrading and didn't tell you then every time you start it it brings up a restore session page along with its two minute loading :Choose your persona page" which takes so long to load because it chokes on "web standards"?

    Or do you mean your standards like the fact that I have exactly four tabs open and Firefox is currently using 218,380 K and the plugin-container is using 209,572 K?

    Cause my standards call for things to work. Kind of like IE 8 is doing right now with the same four tabs open and only using 91,912 K or RAM while Firefox is now at 216,652 and 213,905

    Yes, lets dump ActiveX! Hell, why not just go back to Gopher!

  • by BeforeCoffee (519489) on Saturday July 03, 2010 @04:37AM (#32784118)

    Microsoft finally caved and built the canvas tag! ActiveX: Bonk with radioactive danger signs. Silverlight: Bonk. SVG? Meh, retained mode scenes with tags all over again. Souped up VML. I'm going to give that a Bonk too (even though it was hardware accelerated).

    But canvas, now that's a pixel buffer: simple and beautiful! Now we are *talking*. DING DING DING!

    Microsoft's building in canvas is a huge concession that they are losing mindshare to HTML5. And what they're doing is half right by building theirs faster and all micro-optimized and kernel-hooked as they love to do.

    But this won't save them, they won't recapture the mojo. Well... that is, not until they backport these new HTML5 features to XP. Here's my take: adding features to an IE that is locked to Windows 7 does not make consumers want to buy Windows 7. Not when it is far simpler for the consumer to install a competing browser that runs on XP (and earlier.) I will go as far as to say that adding canvas to Windows 7's IE is really just advertising new features in the competition's browsers.

    I love this canvas tag move by Microsoft, and its far overdue! But they're not back in the game until they stop all this nonsense and backport IE9 to XP (and, heck, Win2K while you're at it!) If your retort is "oh it costs too much to support, oh the API's have changed, oh you should upgrade your 9 year old turd of an OS!". C'mon. Cost? API's? We're talking about moneybags Microsoft here! They can do whatever they want; I have no pity for them when or if they fail due to another botched marketing plan and neither should you. And I will not upgrade my XP/Server 2003 until the reboots get faster on Windows 7. It takes my friend 5 minutes on cherry hardware to get a usable desktop after reboot, and his harddrive is always doing something in the background when nothing is going on! On my XP, the harddrive is quiet unless I am doing something with it, the CPU is idle unless I do something.

    Upon further reflection over canvas ... Here's a thought Microsoft, maybe I can meet you half way. How's about backporting canvas to IE7/8 but with no hardware acceleration? This way you can sell the merits of a Windows 7+IE9 upgrade. See, I can be reasonable. :)

  • by am 2k (217885) on Saturday July 03, 2010 @04:41AM (#32784130) Homepage

    Just last week, we learned that once you have a stack of enough semi-transparent layers (combination of PNGs with alpha channels coupled with DIVs with various opacity CSS settings), IE fails to render the top-most layers. This doesn't happen after 20-30 layers. This happens after 5-7 layers.

    You're right that this is a bug. However, please also consider that your workaround has an additional bonus: Even when it works, drawing so many layers on top of each other ("overdraw" in computer graphics lingo) is a great performance strain. You might not notice it on your superfast gaming PC, but please also consider slower devices like netbooks, mobile phones and tablets. The iPad would probably render it correctly, but I guess at a single frame per second, maybe even less.

  • by jsebrech (525647) on Saturday July 03, 2010 @06:49AM (#32784552)

    ActiveX is a plugin API, the other guys all had one (netscape had NPAPI). What people blame microsoft for is ActiveX actually being successful, not the concept of browser plugins. ActiveX was used in apps to do stuff you couldn't do in HTML (and still can't do). Why not hold microsoft accountable for the stuff they did that was actually out of the ordinary? The main thing microsoft did wrong was not the development of proprietary features, but rather the complete lack of development between 2001 and 2006.

  • by matlhDam (149229) on Saturday July 03, 2010 @08:12AM (#32784860) Homepage

    The video tag will work basically like any MS video setup does: If Windows knows how to play something, meaning the DirectShow codec is installed, then it'll do so.

    That's actually not the case in IE 9: for security reasons (well, OK, a bunch of reasons, but reading between the lines, security's the big one), arbitrary codecs aren't supported within the browser [msdn.com]. It'll ship only with H.264 support, and they've announced that WebM will be supported as an add-on [msdn.com], but that's it at the moment.

    I don't really blame them. It sounds like sandboxing DirectShow codecs might not be as easy as it could be, and IE cops enough security flack as it is (mostly deserved, of course).

  • Re:No kidding (Score:3, Interesting)

    by WankersRevenge (452399) on Saturday July 03, 2010 @10:55AM (#32785788)
    Don't let your panic run away with you. Yes ... HTML5 will offer a lot crazy crap that doesn't rely on a plugin to make it work. That doesn't you won't be able to prevent such things from rendering and using your system resources. Just as people made a plugin to strip flash from the dom, people can easily make another plugin to strip the canvas tag from the dom.
  • by JackieBrown (987087) <dbroome@gmail.com> on Sunday July 04, 2010 @03:57AM (#32790664)

    The fact that all the HTML 5 stuff that I have tried that were not provided by MS makes me wonder if these are legit.

    That said, the asteroids one they linked to ran as fast as a native app in my chrome nightly build (I use the nightly build because they come in a self contained zip file which allows me to get around the no-install restrictions from my work which still uses ie6)
    http://www.kevs3d.co.uk/dev/asteroids/ [kevs3d.co.uk]

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