Microsoft showed Internet Explorer 9 for the first time yesterday at its Professional Developer Conference, but a technical preview won't be available before next year (perhaps at CES 2010 in January). Instead, Windows Senior Vice President Steven Sinofsky demonstrated the latest test version, with the Trident rendering engine running on DirectX instead of GDI - to show that IE development is still going on, and making progress on performance and support for standards. read the restWe've been talking to the IE team a few times this week, and keeping an eye on the comments and thinking about the reception IE gets. I'm not sure why I feel the need to apologise for using IE 8 because I like it and it works well for me; perhaps because it marks me as 'not cool' to use and like IE. It's not my favourite browser - that's Skyfire on Windows Mobile, which is gecko underneath, but running on a server in the cloud, which should preserve my geek credentials... So much of the discussion about browsers generates more heat than light. So much of the reaction against IE seems to be Mac/Windows mud-slinging, general 'Microsoft the Evil Empire mud-slinging' or a conflation of every version of Internet Explorer that's ever sucked with the current version. What do we need apart from a civil debate based on the actual merits? A better test and better ways of deciding what should be in the tests.