IE7 Beta 1 Released

It looks like Microsoft has released the first beta of Internet Explorer 7…but only to MSDN subscribers. Oh, and it only runs on Windows XP Service Pack 2. As usual, seems like some people have found a way around the MSDN subscription issue.

Here’s some general comments I’ve seen throughout the blogosphere:

  • Tabs – the tabs work fairly well and are pretty fast. There is a blank tab to the right that you can click to add a new tab.
  • PNG supportPNG transparency works natively, but may not work properly if you’re applying a PNG transparency fix for older browser versions.
  • Syndication – there’s a built-in syndication reader that can read CDF and RSS. In general, the browser autodetects the presence of site syndication and displays an icon in the toolbar that brings you to the feed.
  • User Interface – Microsoft took an interesting approach to the IE 7 interface. The very top bar has back and forward buttons, the address bar, a button that toggles between refresh, stop, and go, and a search area. Inside each tab is a menu and the home, favorites, history, and print buttons. The window itself looks fairly clean, but I bet the button locations take a little getting used to. There are also reports that this isn’t the standard browser setup and it can be changed.
  • CSS – the overwhelming opinion is that there aren’t enough improvements as of yet. Stuff still breaks, developers aren’t happy.

The announcement heard round the world describes the process, and as usual, there are a bunch of unhappy commenters about the whole experience. As best I can tell, no one has really mentioned any JavaScript changes so far.

Comments

  1. Julian Turner

    I think that the unhappy commenters tend to reflect the general feeling that people want a selection of competing browsers, each of which is powerful, stable, secure and up-to-date, and are disappointed when a browser that they have worked closely with and come to know intimately, does not appear to be treated with the same respect by its controllers.

    As well as standards based web pages, the other aspect of browsers is that they offer now a complete mini-application development environment for the hobby programmer and even for serious business use. I have several applications I use at work which I have developed within IE, including a knowledge base application using purely DHTML, running to 1MB of Javascript.

    I have always found Internet Explorer&#039s underlying engine to be more powerful for this purpose in general than others I have tried, and as a basis for developing mini browser-based applications, it comes first for me, with gecko second, given the range of non-standard functionality it has. But equally it is letting itself down to the extent that it fails to keep up on web standards, particularly on more advanced CSS features.

    By the same token, I still find occassional irritations/slowness/bugs in say the gecko engine, particulary if you want to develop something more complicated. But Firefox has a wealth of great features which it would be nice if Internet Explorer shared.




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