Microsoft is now offering features for Internet Explorer 9 for developers wishing to work with parts of HTML5 that have particularly unstable specifications. This allows Microsoft to keep Internet Explorer 9 consumer friendly by keeping only the parts of HTML5 that are “site ready” while giving developers the tools they need to learn about new technologies and give feedback. The features can be downloaded from a new site called HTML5 Labs.
HTML5 Labs is offering two prototype specifications: IndexDB and WebSockets. WebSockets support was recently pulled from Firefox and Opera due to security concerns. This is exactly why Microsoft is choosing to make features like this opt-in and for developers only.
Jean Paoli, the general manager for interoperability strategy, explains the reason for the creation of HTML5 Labs in a MSDN blog post:
In the IE9 product, developers can expect site-ready HTML5 so they can take advantage of the best of HTML5 that is ready and can still experiment with emerging HTML5 with HTML5 Labs. By keeping these separate, developers get what they need without the negative consequences of co-mingling very different things in the same browser.
IE9 offers support for the most relevant, real-world web patterns that developers are using today as well as the HTML5 patterns we expect to become more mainstream. By relevant and real-world, we mean the technologies with the broadest impact for browser users (e.g. CSS ahead of MathML). By support, we mean providing developers a consistent programming model that enables the same mark-up. The goal is supporting great new capabilities, ideally in a way that interoperates or will interoperate soon across browsers.
Installation and configuration of these specs is a manual process and requires Internet Explorer 9 Beta.
Image by Justin Watt