IE9; Why I Do Think GPU Rendering is a Good Idea

So it probably is by now well known that Microsoft has introduced the development version of the rendering engine of Internet Explorer 9, and that the results, especially for a browser a long distance away from its release date, are quite impressive. And on many sites there are even more responses to this happening, because any time that mostly FireFox and Microsoft release a new browser it is big news…

…and for many developers an event that can turn for the good or bad. I like new versions of programs that really involve the user experience, and I do not mean only the interface; once there is a good interface, in my opinion it does not have to be updated all the time. But one posting on ZD-net actually had me raise an eyebrow; http://blogs.zdnet.com/Google/?p=1837&tag=content;wrapper

“If you ask me, GPU rendering simply doesn’t seem like anything that will change the game — sites that require GPU acceleration should just be redesigned.”

I reply on this sentence mostly because I was a bit surprised by this line. Personally, I think that this will change the game. A browser has been too long an application that was hardly utilizing any of the computers’ resources except the memory. Even if you might have a Quad-core, 8Gb machine with double DirectX 10 cards, it could still deliver you a crappy web experience. So why not have a browser make use of the power that is in the computer? It is right there! Every application has practically access to it, except the browser.

Not only that, but this line also provides in my opinion a quite conservative look at the internet. Should the internet always be a mostly text-based system? And even so, the GPU will also render text a lot faster. There will be one time that there is no difference between a web experience and a local application. They will migrate altogether. That also means that both platforms need to merge bit by bit, and this is one more step in that direction.

I think Garrett, the author of this post on ZDnet, does not completely grasp that it is not about sites requiring the GPU, but the GPU helping to speed up the web experience. Especially with the additions of possibilities of HTML5 it might be a very good idea to have this in there. It would be especially good if plug-ins or embedded objects could utilize this power than too. I am all for opening up the whole Direct-X range of possibilities.

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