Some brave developers have downloaded the IE7 Beta 2 Preview and are beginning to report back their findings. The main new features in IE7 are tabs, RSS integration and improved security. Plus there are various smaller added features such as a zoom control and address bars in pop-up windows.
CNET's Robert Vamosi details the features in full and IE7 will be a very hard blow to Mozilla it's interesting to note that CNET readers seem to be unimpressed so far, 91 users having rated it an average of 5.1 out of 10. However that may be due more to anti-Microsoft bias than actual trial of the product. CNET member paulfromgreyhats, a self-described "security researcher", gave the product a 9 out of 10. He comments:
"About IE7, I'm actually using it right now to write this review. I can honestly say than from what I've seen, IE7 is going to be be a very hard blow to Mozilla. IE7 has great new features like RSS feeds and tabbed browsing. Also, backed by popular demand, IE7 is separate from the shell. That meens a more secure browsing experience."
The official IEBlog has more details online now. Al Billings, a project manager on the Internet Explorer team, outlines a list of FAQs. He notes among other things that this is a very limited developer preview of IE7: "this release is only for Windows XP Service Pack 2 for x86 processors as detailed on the Beta 2 Direct Page." Jason Watters, a Program Manager on the Internet Explorer Team, also has a post explaining how to give feedback to Microsoft. Nathan Weinberg from the blog InsideMicrosoft notes a list of warnings - confirming that this is indeed not for the faint-hearted.
Among independent reviews in so far, Google Blogoscoped blog seems impressed - even noting that he's "test switching to IE" until Firefox gets some bugs fixed. Adam Green thinks IE7 will kill a lot of independent RSS Aggregator products
, due to IE7's impressive RSS integration features. Slashdot commenters you'd expect to trash the product, but there are hints of praise in the comments - "all in all, not bad for the first public beta" says one. A comment by astrosmash was the best review by a Slashdot commenter that I found, noting both good and bad aspects to the product. The summary:
"Bottom line: There isn't enough here to get me to switch from Firefox (or Safari :p), and if they don't reign in the memory usage I doubt I'll even install it, but when I have to use IE on a friend or co-worker's machine, I'll be very glad if they have IE7 installed."
So although I'm not technical or brave enough to try the developer preview, it does seem to be getting reasonable reviews so far. I'm interested in what ZDNet readers think of it (if you've actually tried the product).
UPDATES: Thanks for the excellent comments so far, keep them coming! Some updates to report: Adam Green says he thinks IE7's aggregator isn't impressive, "but it is good enough". I've updated my reference to Adam to reflect that. Also TDavid has a good review, CNET's Robert Vamosi has a video look and CNET's Joris Evers reviews the current bug list.