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Internet Explorer 10 interview: how Microsoft is bringing touch to the web

We find out how Windows 8 has influenced the browser and how touch interfaces could change the web



With any system it’s important that any website can quickly implement the technology, otherwise it runs the risk that nobody will bother to create touch-enabled sites. This is largely why Microsoft went with open standards, enabling touch through CSS, HTML5 and JavaScript, so that developers could quickly make changes without having to learn a completely new way of doing things.

It’s this attitude and support of open standards that shows how much Microsoft has changed from the days where it was wall about its proprietary ActiveX standard.

“Our commitment to modern standards is very real,” said Gavin.

How much work it takes to build a touch-enabled site, depends on the complexity, but Microsoft believes that it’s not a difficult job, with MSN building a new touch-enabled experience quickly.

“Implementing couldn’t be simpler,” said Gavin. “We did all of the hard work.”


As well as working behind the scenes to bring touch to the browser, Microsoft also wanted to overhaul IE10 completely for Windows 8. In particular the Start screen ‘Modern UI’ version of the browser is designed to run full screen and has ditched a lot of the page furniture that you get on the desktop version.

Internet Explorer 10
The new IE10 has a touch version, which drops all of the interface and icons you’d normally find on the Desktop

It was designed this way, as Microsoft doesn’t think that the browser is the important thing, but that the content should be thing you’re concentrating on. In this regard, IE10 does its best to turn the internet into an app, so you don’t think about which application you’re using, but more about the site that you’re on.

“I don’t think that I’m in a browser,” said Mauceri. “I’m in an experience.”

It’s fair to say that Microsoft has significantly changed its browser interface for the Windows 8 Start Screen, while its rivals, such as Google Chrome, merely present the same interface as the desktop version. Microsoft also wanted to integrate the web with its operating system, so it added some functionality for pinning websites to the Windows 8 Start Screen, letting them display more information.

“Sites can have notifications. For example, shows your unread message count” said Gavin. “Sites can’t do what some apps can do with Live Tiles, though.”

This Microsoft video demonstrates the new features of IE10

The full experience doesn’t extend to IE10 on Windows 7, though, as that OS is fundamentally different and doesn’t have full touchscreen support.

“Windows 7 not a touch OS, so don’t have the same touch abilities,” said Gavin.


Internet browsing on tablets has, so far, been about replicating the desktop experience, but Microsoft is determined to unlock touch-enabled features. With open standards and the co-operation of the other big names in browsers, it has a real chance to change the way we use the internet, regardless of whether you use IE10 or not.

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