It's not just Windows Vista and Office 2007 that are closing in on their release-to-manufaturing (RTM) dates. Internet Explorer 7 is nearing the finish line, as well.
In fact, according to a posting on the IE Blog, IE 7 is "coming later this month."
Microsoft officials have said for a while now to expect IE 7 for WIndows XP and WIndows Server 2003 to ship around the time that Vista -- which embeds a slightly souped-up version of IE 7 -- goes live. So it looks like the team is planning to make good on its promise.
Earlier this summer, Microsoft also said that it planned to push IE 7 to users via its Automatic Update patching mechanism. Microsoft officials said they believed that move was warranted because IE 7 will include so many important security updates. Users who do not want IE 7 automatically delivered to their systems have the option of installing a Microsoft-developed blocking tool.
On the IE Blog posting on October 6, IE Program Manager Scott Graff reconfirmed that IE 7 will"be delivered to customers via Automatic Updates a few weeks after it’s available for download."
Graff made one more plea for customers, partners and developers to test their applications and sites with the latest IE 7 test builds and to avail themselves of Microsoft-supplied compatibility tools and documentation so as to avoid unpleasant incompatibility surprises once IE 7 is released.
IE 7 isn't the only version of Microsoft's browser upon which the IE team has been laboring. Earlier this year, the Softies revealed they were working on the next two versions of IE that they are planning to roll out over the next couple of years.
So far, details on either of those releases have been few and far between. But I wouldn't mind seeing some kind of automatic page-recovery feature for those cases when your browser crashes and you "lose your place" in cyberspace.