IE7 Beta Check

March 22, 2006 on 9:59 pm | In IdBlog, Tools | Add a Comment

The latest version of Internet Explorer is a big improvement over its predecessors, but it may be too little too late.

Microsoft issued an IE7 Beta 2 “Preview” release March 20, which I downloaded from the MS Site. It installs the IE7 core components easily, after conducting a sweep for malicious software, in a relatively compact 6.8MB. However, it only runs on XP SP2, so don’t bother if you have a different version of the Windows op system.

IE7 sports a clean design, tabbed browsing, an integrated search box (defaulted to MSN search), a RSS reader, better bookmark/favorites handling, a phishing filter, and improved standards support.

Users of Firefox will recognize most of these features. In fact, if it were not for the efforts of mozilla.com, I doubt we would be seeing this pre-beta release now. Without the pressure from the open-source Firefox crew, Microsoft might have waited to roll out the browser until their new Vista operating system was ready in early 2007.

By most measures IE6 is still the dominant browser on the web with upwards of 80 percent of the market. By 2008 IE7 will enjoy a similar position, so developers are taking a good look at this new tool.

Unfortunately, this version of IE7 still has some unique interpretations of CSS. Key differences seem to be in the rendering of the box model, list items and pseudo classes like hover.

Ajax coders will be pleased to note that IE7 supports XMLHTTPRequest AND ActiveX. Although, there are still questions about how the browser will handle XHTML.

Standards watchdogs will be want to try The Web Standards Project’s Acid2 with Firefox and IE7. Both browsers fail the acid test, but the ways in which they fail is instructive.

In its shuffle toward standards, Microsoft will eliminate some of the common hacks, or filters, that have been used to handle Internet Explorer’s interpretation of CSS. For example: the * HTML filter will no longer be necessary for IE7

/* The following rules used to apply only to
IE but now get ignored by IE7 and higher */
* html{ blah: blahblah; }
* html body{ blah: blahblah; }
* html .foo{ blah: blahblah; }

Overall, IE7 is a big improvement over previous versions of Internet Explorer and it is commendable that Microsoft is using this lengthy beta phase to revise the browser. However, this user is going to stick with Firefox until something demonstrably better comes along.

Copyright © Greenpoint Design 2005-2011. CMS by WordPress.
Entries and comments feeds. ^Top^