With Windows 8 hitting its RTM milestone on August 1st, we’re now starting to field questions about when Ion will support IE10. To support a new version of Internet Explorer and a new version of Windows, we first need the final code to deal with any changes that have been made since the previous public release. With MSDN availability of Windows 8 slated for this week, we will use that build to begin our final integration work with a planned release of Ion for Windows 8 and IE10 some time after the Windows 8 GA launch in late October.
Another related question we often get is whether enterprise will deploy Windows 8 in large volume or whether they’re likely to stick with Windows 7 – assuming they’ve even made it that far. While we aren’t in the business of predicting the adoption of any new operating system, we can say Windows 8 appears to currently be below radar for most of our customers. The IT managers we talk with have yet to craft even a basic Windows 8 strategy, much less begin thinking about Windows 8’s impact on their business-critical web applications.
But when Windows 8 does land in these organizations – whether through a structured IT deployment or via end users who bring their own Windows 8 laptop or tablet to work – we know some web applications will have issues. It’s likely IT will first learn about these issues when some poor Windows 8 early adopters call their helpdesk because they can’t process an invoice or submit an expense report. While the number and magnitude of the changes between IE9 and IE10 pale in comparison with the changes from IE6 to any newer version, there are still many significant breaking changes. That’s why delivering Ion for IE10 is a critical milestone on our product roadmap.
Given that neither “Modern IE10” (formerly known as “Metro IE10”) nor the desktop version of IE10 on Windows RT (the ARM version of Windows 8) support browser plug-ins, the approach we currently use for Ion will not work on these platforms. Of course neither can the ActiveX controls found in many enterprise line-of-business applications, so the compatibility problems in these environments run very deep. We are looking into solutions to fit the limited extensibility model of Modern and ARM IE10 but it’s too soon to commit to a specific product plan or release timeline.
Lastly, we’re all wondering when we’ll see IE10 on Windows 7. Microsoft has not made any public announcements about IE10 on Windows 7 since the platform preview release in June of 2011 (14 months ago). Once Microsoft delivers their final release (or even another developer release), we’ll have a better idea of when Ion can support it. A safe bet is that we’ll provide support for IE10 on Windows 7 within a few months of Microsoft’s release of the final version.