Microsoft Plans To Bring HTTP/2, Web Audio And JavaScript Promises To The Next Version Of IE

Next Story

Ben Davenport, One Of Facebook Messenger’s Creators, Joins Bitcoin Startup BitGo As CPO

At its Build developer conference earlier this year, Microsoft promised that it would become more transparent about which new features the Internet Explorer team is considering for upcoming versions. To do this, Microsoft launched an early version of status.modern.ie (the equivalent to Google Chromium Dashboard) at the event and today, it is taking the beta label off this site. That, by itself, wouldn’t be a big deal, but as part of this announcement, Microsoft also updated its feature list for what’s coming next for IE.

Among the new features currently in development is support for HTTP/2 – the next version of the protocol that powers the World Wide Web. IE11 already features support for Google’s SPDY protocol, which forms the basis of HTTP/2. Microsoft is also working on adding HTTP Strict Transport Security to IE, a security feature that helps prevent man-in-the-middle attacks on secure connections and which Chrome and Firefox have long supported.

Other new additions are support for the Web Audio and Media Capture APIs for accessing video and audio streams from webcams and microphones on a local device.

Even more interesting for developers, however, is likely the upcoming addition of JavaScript Promises to IE. By default, JavaScript is single-threaded, so you can only run one script at a time. With Promises, developers get a standardized way to make asynchronous calls in their code. For more details about how this works, take a look at this tutorial.

There are, however, also a few features listed under the “not currently planned” section on status.modern.ie, which will be a bit of a disappointment to some. It’s no surprise that Microsoft isn’t going to implement WebRTC v1.0 anytime soon, but it also isn’t likely to add support for Google’s WebP image format, for example, or MathML and Web SQL.

For Microsoft, this kind of transparency around web standards is definitely new and refreshing. In the ideal world, we wouldn’t have to worry about any of this because all browsers would support the same features all the time. With Chrome, Firefox and Internet Explorer all taking slightly different paths and supporting different features at different times, however, it’s unlikely we’ll ever get to that point.