Are you ready for the Microsoft Internet Explorer 9 release?

Are you ready for the Microsoft Internet Explorer 9 releaseAfter many months in beta, Microsoft will be officially releasing Internet Explorer 9 tonight at 9 p.m. PT.

There’s been plenty of talk around the pros and cons of the features and functionality. Some highlights: It has a brand new scripting engine under the covers that’s expected to render many websites and web-based products faster (possibly 10 times faster!). It’s definitely an improvement and a continual step forward by Microsoft. Chances are very good that you’re going to want to get it rolled out throughout the company.

But are you ready for it?

Here’s the problem. The new scripting engine from Microsoft is significantly different from all prior versions, and although Microsoft has made attempts to make web-based products run the same as they did in IE8, there’s no guarantee. This means that if you are running any web-based products that you’ve built or bought, those products may not work properly, or at all, on IE9. Clearly, this could result in a disruption of your business processes.

Part of the reason for this could be the age of the application. Applications that have existed for many years may be built to effectively support older versions of Internet Explorer, such as IE6, which offered some valuable proprietary concepts to developers that are unique to Internet Explorer.

The last several versions of Internet Explorer, including IE9, are built to be more compliant-based, and to leave the proprietary nature of the past behind.  Compatibility modes available in IE9 attempt to make sure that older concepts are still supported, but it’s possible that compatibility mode doesn’t work exactly as it did with an older browser and an application running on IE9 won’t operate successfully.

Therefore, talking to your vendors and testing your applications in preparation for IE9 should be at the top of the priority list.

Since many of our customers use OnBase through Internet Explorer, we have some insight into how the launch will affect applications. We are expecting that IE9 will provide desired value, but that can’t come at the expense of unexpected downtime. Therefore, our recommendation has been to make sure that your organization makes a conscious, coordinated decision for when you’re ready to upgrade to IE9.

The good news is that you can decide when your users are able to install IE9 on their workstations. At a minimum, Microsoft offers a toolkit to block the delivery of IE9 through Windows Update. If you host your own Windows Server Update Services (WSUS) or System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM), your administrator can block the release of IE9 to users, as well. This way, when you’re done with successfully testing all key systems that are dependent on Internet Explorer to be compatible with IE9, you can deliver it to your users without risking downtime.

As an additional resource, Microsoft has published the Internet Explorer 9 Compatibility Cookbook to provide insight into aspects of IE9 that changed and could result in products no longer functioning.  For instance, this guide can help you find ways to rework HTML e-forms that are using JavaScript which may not work properly with the new IE9 script engine.

If you’re not able to stop one of your supported users from updating their workstation to IE9, and a needed system isn’t working, there’s always the option to have them uninstall IE9 and return to the previously installed version of Internet Explorer.  This might be a worst-case scenario, but it’s still an option.

While IE9 will likely add great value for organizations, it’s not helping anyone if it’s taking down the day-to-day applications employees use every day. To make sure this doesn’t happen, it’s all about pre-planning and testing before any widespread installation happens.

Comments or questions on how IE9 could affect your applications? Use the comments feature here.

Bill Filion is the vice president of software development for Hyland. Bill manages all development of OnBase and sets the strategic vision for continuing the education, advancement and maturation of Hyland's development teams.

When he joined Hyland in 1997 as a Senior Developer, Bill focused his development around the OnBase file I/O infrastructure, the database software layer, export/publishing and all facets of CD/DVD Authoring. In 2001, Bill was promoted to manager of the OnBase Thick Client Development team. Bill was promoted to Vice President of Development in 2006.

Prior to joining Hyland, Bill worked as a software consultant in the Cleveland area for both CAP Gemini Sogeti and Compuware. He received his B.A. in Computer Science from Hiram College in Hiram, Ohio.
Bill Filion

Bill Filion

Bill Filion is the vice president of software development for Hyland. Bill manages all development of OnBase and sets the strategic vision for continuing the education, advancement and maturation of... read more about: Bill Filion