IE 7 Beta 1

It’s been a few days, so I thought I’d just post a random thought…

I had a chance to check out the Developer’s Beta 1 of Internet Explorer 7 through my MSDN subscription, and after downloading & installing the bits this morning, here I am 4 hours later uninstalling the damn thing…  I’ll explain why, but unless you’re a ner-eerrrrr-tech enthusiast like me, you might not find it very interesting.

First off, after installing it, I found one of the most obvious changes – a new IE icon!  After all, nothing says "New Version" of an application more than a space-age, gradient-embossed icon!  It just cracks me up because since IE 4 they really haven’t done anything new to the icon, but every release they basically "inject beautox" into it and make it look like some kind of shrink-wrapped version of what it once was.  Just kinda funny…

Alright, so I go ahead and double-click on my new space-aged icon only to find something that I’ve been all-too familiar with:

Hahahaha, same old M$!  It took a bit of trouble-shooting to figure out what was exactly going on, but one of the new features seemed to help.  You can now start Internet Explorer "without any Add-In’s" or as Firefox has deemed it "Safe-Mode".  lol…  But you can go in there and bring up this "Manage Add-In’s" interface that can help you pinpoint and disable anything that’s causing problems (or in this case anything that’s NOT causing problems)..  IE7 didn’t seem to take too well to having a few toolbars, and I ended up uninstalling Googlebar (grrr), disabling the Acrobat Bar, and then removing the SnagIt bar…  Then finally IE7 became happy.

So let’s get to the interface, but before I say anything, M$ put out this little disclaimer that the Developer Beta 1 is a pretty stripped-down version of IE.  It’s not intended for consumer testing, simply to help Developers determine whether or not their web applications will blow up with the new version of IE (I’ll get into my little rant about this later), and they said "Not all new features are available with this edition".  But without further ado, here’s what we have…

On first glance, here are a few things that I liked:

  • Nice "New -Tab" feature It’s kinda cool that you can simply just click in to that grey area next to your tabs to create a new one.  It’s espcially pretty cool for a mouse person, but I don’t mind pressing CTRL-T in Firefox at this point.
  • "Phishing" Protection – Supposedly IE7 is going to be able to protect you from those hoax web sites (those emails that you get from banks & eBay saying that your account is locked out and now needs to be "verified").  That looks to be pretty cool, didn’t have a chance to check it out yet.
  • No more obnoxious Windows logo on the right-hand corner

A few things that bugged me:

  • It looks like a cheap rip-off of Mozilla Firefox I know this is stripped-down IE, but it really just looks like a no-frills version of Firefox.  Imitation is the greatest form of flattery, but when you’re M$ – who essentially won the browser wars three years ago, haven’t done anything to improve your browser (outside of covering security loopholes) and now all of the sudden are getting you butt kicked by an open-source community – I expect more of a response than "let’s just copy it and put the M$ logo back on top of it".  Lame!
  • Separation of Browser Buttons  – The only buttons that IE7 put on top are the "forward and back" buttons, moving the "Home" & "Print" buttons down to the common interface
  • The Forced Spacing with "Favorite Links" bar – If you can see in the "Favorites Bar" you can see that regardless of the spacing each link took, they’re defaulting to the size of the largest link on the "Links" bar (if that makes any sense).  This means that instead of fitting 8 or 9 links on the toolbar like I have, I’m forced to fit 5.

So outside of aesthetics (which need to be taken with a grain of salt at this point), let’s talk about functionality.

Right now there is none!  This gets back to the purpose of this Developer’s Beta – with people needing to verify that their application works with the new version.  It bothers me to see the classic M$ arrogance in providing us with an application that says "Here’s how it’s going to be – it’s now you’re problem, fix it!".  All of the sudden capabilities that web developers have enjoyed for years are now all of the sudden obsolete with the new version.  I understand that technological innovation sometimes requires changes and improvements, but at the same time my biggest pet peeve is when you lose existing functionality when you move to a new version.

Let me give you an example:

Using IE6/Firefox, here is what my Xanga "Text Editor Box" looks like:

But you fire up IE7, and here’s what you see:

Now granted, this probably isn’t M$’s fault, as it looks like Xanga run a browser detection and probably gets confused when they see a 7.x version of IE, but at the same time M$ needs to think about that kind of stuff, especially since many web apps haven’t seen a need to upgrade some of their components since the browser wars have ended.

So I ended up uninstalling and as I’m writing this I’m back on IE6… I guess I’ll take another try when the consumer-class beta comes out, but right now my initial experience wasn’t very encouraging.


p align=”left”>Stick with Firefox…