Microsoft releases Windows 7 IE11 preview geared towards developers

Microsoft has released a developer preview of Internet Explorer 11 for Windows 7.

The updated browser is now available for download, but it's mainly geared toward the tech-savvy developer; average web users will probably want to wait until the full release.

As a result, most of the updates are under the hood, with Microsoft promising things like faster, more responsive browsing, hardware-accelerated 3D graphics, professional-quality video experiences, and developer tools that are easier to use.

IE11 will officially debut with Windows 8.1, the first major upgrade to Windows 8, but this announcement means that it's also on track to come to Redmond's older OS, Windows 7.

In our hands on with the Windows 8.1 preview, which included a peek at IE11, we found that "surprisingly, the browser now supports WebGL, something Microsoft had previously resisted! It's kind of mind-blowing to see Chrome WebGL Experiments such as Yi-Wen Lin's Blossom running in IE."

As a result, those who upgrade to IE11 should expect web pages that load faster than older browser because IE11 is "smarter about fetching site content," Sandeep Singhal and Rob Mauceri, group programme managers for IE, wrote in a Thursday blog post.

"IE11 is the first browser to implement the W3C Resource Priorities standard enabling developers to specify which parts of the page are important and need to be loaded first," they wrote.

In the video above, Microsoft shows off the speed of IE11 with a demo that renders the IE logo on a Lite Brite screen, and, not surprisingly, IE11 wins the prize. (On my own Windows 7 PC, IE10 won at 11.32 seconds compared to 40.04 seconds on Chrome 28.)