Yesterday on Wednesday 18th at around 5pm PST Dean Hachamovitch, the General Manager for the IE development team, announced the immediate availability of Windows Internet Explorer 7 for Windows XP and Server 2003. Vista versions need not apply, as IE7 comes bundled with the operating system.
For posterity he noted his initial announcement back in 2005, after Bill Gates delivered a keynote speech in which he announced IE7, at that time there was speculation and drama developing as to the future of IE at all on XP which seemed uncertain at the time.
Clearly Microsoft needed to respond to its customers and come up with a better way to browse the internet and in my opinion it did. Will it be enough to sway users that strayed over to Firefox? Only time will tell and I'm keeping my options open, I regularly use both browsers and ultimately one will prevail. Its too early to say.
So whats new in Windows Internet Explorer 7 aside from the name?
I'll let Dean answer that: "The Phishing Filter and the architectural work in IE7 around networking and ActiveX opt-in will help keep users more secure. IE7 also delivers a much easier browsing experience with features like tabbed browsing (especially with QuickTabs), shrink-to-fit printing, an easily customizable search box, and a new design that leaves more screen real estate for the web site you're viewing. IE7's CSS improvements are incredibly important for developers as many of you have made quite clear. I also think IE7's RSS experience and platform are important, powerful, and innovative."
Thats a lot of improvement over IE6. Microsoft really has put a lot of focus into security.
So is there any bad? Well for me I find it strange that IE7 still uses the old style script prompts, blogging has become a part of our daily life for a lot of us, you'd think that controls for inputing data (like I'm doing now) would also be as important to look at, seeing an old script prompt top left of the browser is something familiar as far back as IE4.
Selecting text, I still cant select any portion of text I want without it also either going 2 chars further than what I want to select! I found a workaround, select the text backwards.. That seems to work for all those partial stories we lift from other sites to relay here.
Spell checker, this is just such a handy thing to have! Why isn't it included? Granted IeSpell works, but not nearly as nicely as Firefox 2.0 inline spell checking. I hope IeSpell comes with an update.
Anyway, if you haven't tried IE7 yet, I recommend it to anyone who switched to Firefox after being disappointed with IE6 lack of tabbed browsing and the above that Dean mentioned.