I subscribe to the IE Blog RSS feed and this came across the wire today: IE7 Beta 2 Preview Available. I’ve been meaning to check out the new Internet Explorer 7 (IE7), but I just haven’t had the time. Well, the time is now! And I bring to you, dear
readers , my first reactions to IE7.
- As any sensable web user, I use Mozilla Firefox as my de facto web browser. This posed to be a slight problem, really just an irk actually, when I went to install IE7. The IE7 installer requires validation that you are using a valid Microsoft Windows installation. It does this validation by way of the Windows Genuine Advantage (WGA) Program. Basically, WGA is just an ActiveX control that has access to the Windows product key. You must validate your Windows installation before proceeding. To do so, you press the Validate button and it will open up a Microsoft web page that will run the ActiveX control. Only problem, Firefox can’t run ActiveX. At least not natively. The web page it took me to said I could download some file to install that would do the check, but I decided to just change my browser settings to say IE was my default browser (A cold shiver runs down my spine). And the page then opened up in IE. Validated and moved on.
- After the install I had to restart. Damn it.
- The new IE7 icon looks neat, I guess. It replaced all my IE6 icons. Sure would be nice if IE was a stand-alone program and not integrated into the OS. C’est la vie.
- Upon going to my first web site – Yahoo! – I was prompted to turn on a phishing filter. I’m smart enough not to go to any phishing sites, but I can easily see how others could get confused. So, good job there.
- IE7 apparently got rid of the main toolbar present in nearly all GUI programs. You know “File, Edit, View…”. Gone. More space for the viewport I suppose.
- Navigation buttons are rearranged as well. The Back/Forward buttons are to the left of the URL dropdown box. The Refresh and Stop buttons are to the right. To the right of that is original-in-Firefox search box. Functions just like Firefox as far as I can tell. Default search provider is MSN Search.
- IE7 finally got tabs! And they did some stuff right! And by right I mean better than Firefox. First, there is a sort of mini-tab to the right of the tabs that, when clicked, opens a blank tab. I like this. Although I use Ctrl-T to open new tabs in Firefox, this mini-tab could still be very useful. For reference, Ctrl-T also works in IE7. Also, as you add more than one tab, you get a little X (Close Tab) button in the corner of the tab. Why Firefox hasn’t done this yet remains a mystery to the entire universe.
- Along with tabs, IE7 has an Apple OS X Application Switcher-esque Tab Switcher/Viewer. This switcher/viewer is represented by a button that has four small rectangles on it and sits to the left of the first tab. When you click it each tab is shown as a cropped screen shot of each web page. Pretty neat feature.
- Another Firefox feature in IE7 is the text-scaler. This feature is in the bottom right corner of the browser. If clicked, it will zoom the entire page, not just the text. If memory serves me well, I believe this is how Opera does zooming. The button also has a dropdown associated with it and it has zoom from 10% to 1000%, plus a custom zoom. Also, the Ctrl++, Ctrl+-, and Ctrl+0 keyboard shortcuts work, as they do in Firefox.
- There is a built in Feed Subscriber in IE7. I personally don’t like to subscribe to feeds with the default browser subscriber, but people may like it. Also, if you just click the feed button in IE7, it will load the feed and display it for you. You can’t click on the RSS Feed link embedded in the web page, but the button will load it and display it. Nice feature, I suppose.
- It also seems as though the IE team was truthful when they said they had fixed the IE CSS bugs listed at positioniseverything.net. I can’t seem to find any that break in IE7.
- Also PNG alpha channel support seems to be working. W3C PNG Test here.
- :hover support seems to be working. Eric Meyer’s pure CSS menus seemed to work, but they didn’t look like they do in Firefox’s, not exactly sure if this is explicitly related to :hover, though.