Signals Blog

ChemWriter on IE9 Release Candidate

Internet Explorer 9 is the latest iteration of Microsoft's long browser line. Among its remarkable attributes, IE9 marks a clear break from the past for the software giant in that it now supports a host of Web standards that were either incompletely or unreliably supported before and boasts impressive performance gains.

Recently, Microsoft announced the availability of the first IE9 release candidate.

ChemWriter, our pure JavaScript chemical structure editor, has worked on IE9 developer releases for some time now. Recently, our release of ChemWriter 2.6 required significant re-organization of the user interface. Whenever we do this, we test again on all supported browsers and all supported platforms.

I'm happy to report that our entire suite of browser tests passed, including IE9 RC. We only found one minor inconsistency: hovering over a lassoed atom doesn't change the cursor icon. We're looking into this one, as it may represent an IE9 bug.

For those interested in the underlying technology, ChemWriter uses feature detection, not browser sniffing, to determine if SVG or VML graphics should be used. As a result, our tests on IE9 used SVG. Tests on IE6, IE7, and IE8 used VML. This selection is made automatically by ChemWriter, so there's nothing for you to configure.

The arrival of IE9 could lead to a wave of adoption in large organizations, given its significant advantages, continued widespread use of IE6 and IE7, and pent-up demand for Windows 7 due to the marketplace failure of Vista. But this will take time, especially since the price of admission will be an upgrade to Windows 7.

Until IE9 displaces its forebears, ChemWriter works - unmodified - on both IE9 and its more dated relatives.