IE7 marches toward completion

IE7 marches toward completion

Summary: The most interesting part of today's announcement that an IE7 release candidate is now available is the almost complete lack of news. If you're using a previous beta version, the upgrade is a must; for everyone else, it's a yawn.

TOPICS: Browser

The most interesting part of today's announcement that an IE7 release candidate is now available is the almost complete lack of news. No new features, a few bug fixes since the last beta release. And now the march is on to fix remaining bugs and compatibility problems. General Manager Dean Hachamovitch explains what this milestone is all about:

A release candidate is fundamentally different from a beta. With the exception of a very short list of issues we’re aware of and working on, we think the product is done. We’re looking to enthusiasts, developers, and IT Pros to tell us if this build has any critical, must-fix before we ship issues. The real world is much richer than our test environment and I appreciate the feedback that has helped us make the product better.

Ironically, installing IE7 makes the most sense if you're already using an alternative such as Firefox or Opera for some or all of your web browsing. You can continue using your preferred browser and get a generally better, safer experience for sites where Internet Explorer makes sense. If you prefer IE, you're better off sticking with IE6 for now, because of the number of sites that don't yet support IE7. Of course, if you already are using a previous IE7 beta, you'll want to install this one right away, and the good news is that it will take care of the previously messy work of uninstalling the old one for you.

Last August, when IE7 Beta 1 was released in a developer-only preview, Paul Thurrott called Internet Explorer "a cancer on the Web that must be stopped" and said: "My advice is simple: Boycott IE." Apparently Paul switched to decaf sometime in the past year. Today, he gives IE7 RC1 a rating of 4 smiling Paul-heads out of 5 and writes: "As for IE 6 users, I think it's both safe and prudent to migrate to IE 7 now... I don't think there's enough there to sway Firefox users quite yet--maybe IE 8?--but IE 7, even in RC1 garb, is looking good. Recommended."

Joe Wilcox, on the other hand, disagrees. His personal website "looks like crap" in this beta, even though it looks "beautiful" in Firefox, Opera, and Safari. The problem is IE7's still imperfect CSS support, Joe concludes:

Absolutely, way, way many more Websites properly load in IE 7 than do not, and Microsoft at least deserves some of the credit for that. The company has done a terrific job communicating what it's doing with the browser, and Microsoft put IE 7 into protracted beta, which facilitated broad testing by many Web developers. So, Microsoft has made great strides, just not enough to reach the goal.

My view falls somewhere in the middle. Given the size and general diversity of the web, I think it's pointless to be fanatical about any browser (unless you're actually writing code for it, of course). For most mainstream Windows users, the combination of IE7 and Firefox 1.5 should be a nearly ideal combination, in whatever mix suits your personal preference.

Topic: Browser

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  • IE7? An abomination.

    It is an abomination. 'nuff said.
  • +2 weeks beta testing IE7 and.... :(

    You suggest using a 'mix' of IE and Firefox or Opera to satisfy our taste....Er, did you mean our "success" in displaying web pages perhaps?.

    My 'tastes' are rather cheap. I simply want to see the page as designed by the developer...If he failed to employ CSS standards, then I got a gripe with him. If Microsoft failed to meet those same CSS standards, then shame on MS.

    I'm a mechanical engineer and a commissioned inspector of certain life-critical, business-critical mechanical devices.

    Those devices must be built to strict industry 'standards', so I have great respect for industry standards and the manufacturers who attempt to meet them when they fabricate those devices.

    There is huge base of third party developers who produce hardware and software support for those devices I inspect....It all works rather well when the manufacturer and third parties all adhere to the same standard....People don't die and the industry doesn't suffer unplanned shutdowns or loss of revenue....They owe it all to a well designed and universally enforced 'standard'.

    MS has yet to offer a browser to meet CSS standards....They seem to have an ego problem or perhaps they believe the world must change to their standard(whatever that is).

    My beta test of IE7 revealed their browser's anti-phishing filter alerted whenever I surfed to any official Microsoft site....Oh yeah I laffed, but I stopped laffing when I had to admit their lack of standards prevented their newest browser from acurately accessing their very own web sites....

    It was apparent that not only do they not meet CSS standards with their browser, they must use totally different standards than their own browser when they develop their web pages.

    It's one thing for MS to thumb their nose at an industry standard, but it's self destructive to have internally differing standards.
    • Reminds me of a joke

      [i]MS has yet to offer a browser to meet CSS standards....They seem to have an ego problem or perhaps they believe the world must change to their standard(whatever that is).[/i]

      Reminds me of a joke that was in Dilbert a few years ago ...

      Q: How many Microsoft employees does it take to change a light bulb?

      A: None. They just use their market power to redefine darkness as the new standard.
  • Update for Windows

    In their paranoid fear of pirates, they waste valuable time of their paying customers. From product reactivation for every minor change in hardware to the Genuine Advantage programs every
    time you download any Microsoft files they are the greatest waster of productivity in the World.
    Windows was originally presented as a giant improvement to productivity over DOS.
    And for a time, it did save huge amounts of time to do tasks that were difficult to do quickly in DOS.
    But somehow through their paranoia about pirates, they have added major costs for legitimate customers and they have an army in Bangladesh maning phone calls from their customers trying to use the software they purchased from Microsoft.
    No one who knows they are using pirated software ever calls Microsoft to activate their software.
    And there is software on the net that brings your Windows up to date without bothering to download it from Microsoft. I use it to update my legal copies of Windows XP Pro. It ensures that I get all the latest updates and it is free.
    Surely Microsoft can come up with a simple identifier when I purchase their software that validates the license I own without any of these stupidities. The Automobile licensing system in all countries only asks you to validate your license every 2 years, not every day we drive our cars.
    • You have valid comments, but...this thread addresses IE7

      I ain't playing forum gatekeeper here, only wishing your statement reach your intended audience.

      Ed Bott has several recent Zdnet Blog articles associated with WGA/WPA....I bet if you cut n paste your comments there they will be read by those who share your thoughts....And appear when maybe MS decides to rethink WGA....I hear that MS reads Ed Botts blogs.

      In the mean time, please test IE7 and tell us your experiences with it here in this thread.

      ....That is, 'if' you can get past WGA and download it.
  • Opera and IE7

    Opera 9.01 (and maybe other versions) users might not want to install this release if they use Opera's "Start bar," that toolbar that drops down under the URL field and allows you to choose among your "Top 10" bookmarks, among others. Those become unclickable once RC1 is installed. Other areas of Opera may or may not be affected.
  • New features?

    Dean Hachamovitch is absolutely correct. New features should not be expected from a release candidate. Complying with a proper development cycle, the product should be feature-complete by the last beta at the latest.
    • Wouldn't it be nice...

      ...if the Windows team had the same philosophy to release candidates? ;)
      Ed Bott
  • IE7 - XP Only

    Cool. First Microsoft tells all its Windows ME customers to stick it. Now it's latest release of Internet Explorer 7 kisses off all the Windows 2000 customers.

    Their "free browser" will cost $89 - to pay for the XP upgrade.

    At least my Windows ME desktop won't burst into flames like those SONY-batteried Dell and Apple laptops.
  • All MS Products are Threats to the National Security

    Al Qaeda just loves MS. Any computer using their insecure software is wide open to exploitation. Osama knows this and this is why all his guys run TRS-80s and custom encrypted modems. No one remembers how to hack RS boxes any more.
    • LOL

      I'm assuming your comment is a joke in which case I'm laughing with you.

      Otherwise same title but at you.
  • Internet Explorer 7 Release Candidate 1

    I used to have Tabs in IE 6 AFTER I had installed the Yahoo Toolbar, dont know if that was responsible but I had Tabs. Then I installed Internet Explorer 7 beta 2, then beta 3 and now Internet Explorer 7 Release Candidate 1 and NO TABS. The options say that tabs are enabled and configuered but on IE the New Tab Ctrl + T is grayed out, and has been since I installed beta 2.
    What gives maybe its my PC I dont know, can anyone help?
    • Internet Explorer 7 Release Candidate 1