Three Tools that Exercise Your Browser’s Muscles

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Hailing from industrial Emeryville, CA (home of Pixar, Wham-O, and many innovative Web designers), Stimulant has come up with a fascinating site that taps deeply into Internet Explorer 9’s many new capabilities.

WebVizBench is essentially three tools in one, and each is beautifully executed. First, for those with an interest in independent/alternative rock music, WebVizBench provides a graphical front end, with cover art, to the playlist of KEXP, 90.3 FM in Seattle.

For starters, you can look up which track was played at any time on any day between April 2003 and July 2010. Further, WebVizBench provides numerous ways to sort and rank KEXP’s playlist data (so you can discover, for example, that the most-played artist of the last seven years is Arcade Fire). And it does so with a variety of animation effects (shuffling covers, rolling shadows, rippling magnification, varying opacity, zooming tooltips) that combine new technologies such as HTML5, SVG Graphics, and custom fonts.

These effects aren’t just there to look cool. They’re components of the other two WebVizBench tools. One is a live benchmarking tool that measures how well your platform renders such effects. Internet Explorer 9 makes extensive use of your graphics processing unit (GPU)— to provide smooth, sharp, and fast animation effects. How does your rig measure up? To find out, click the “run benchmark” button.

The third tool is a slide-out “display options” menu at the left edge of the screen. This menu lets you turn the new browser technologies on and off dynamically, showing you what each adds to the interface and how each affects rendering performance. So you can see how a custom font enhances the design, how SVG is used to animate tooltips, and how much adding a video background alters your benchmark score. As the site says, “a fast computer with a GPU and Internet Explorer 9 are recommended for best performance.”

This story, "Three Tools that Exercise Your Browser’s Muscles " was originally published by BrandPost.