Microsoft has released the first public rendition of Internet Explorer 5.0, which the company is billing as a componentised version of the browser that will be easier to develop with, thanks mainly to enhanced Dynamic HTML (DHTML) support.
The "developer preview" of Explorer 5.0 also includes a software development kit.
A key feature of Explorer 5.0 is the emergence of DHTML "behaviors," which will let developers separate the content of a Web page from its format, by building reusable scripts that Web pages can reference.
DHTML behavior components, which can be written in any scripting language, will supply dynamic functionality that can be applied to any element in an HTML document through Cascading Style Sheets (CSS), according to Microsoft.
Other features found in the Internet Explorer 5.0 developer preview include:
-- a tool that automatically upgrades Internet Explorer in applications such as Quicken or America Online to the 5.0 version;
-- multiple CSS support;
-- Extensible Markup Language support that will let developers mix XML tags into HTML documents;
-- full drag-and-drop object support;
-- scripting capabilities that will let developers know what technologies have been enabled or disabled on a client; and a new rendering engine that presents documents built with DHTML and DataBinding technology faster.
The new version of the browser, which Microsoft officials hope to ship by the end of the year, will be more modular than Internet Explorer 4.0 and will let IT managers set up various configurations of Internet Explorer onto local machines.
At its TechEd developer conference last week in New Orleans, Microsoft officials indicated that a full-blown beta of Internet Explorer 5.0 will be available in a few more weeks, possibly when the second beta of Windows NT 5.0 ships.
The preview can be downloaded from Microsoft's Web site at http://www.microsoft.com/sitebuilder/ie/ieonsbn.htm.
Microsoft Corp., in Redmond, Washington, is at http://www.microsoft.com.