Internet Explorer 7 - Beta Build 3 Review

Internet Explorer 7 - Beta Build 3 has recently been made public.

Internet Explorer 7 (IE7) has introduced a few new features that might lead to a better surfing, and safer searching.  Something once thought impossible with anything with the Microsoft stamp on it.  I will quickly overview some of these features, and as hard as it may be, I will do my best to be unbiased.
New look and feel - At first run, the design is not well thought out and can be very confusing.  The back and forward buttons are now on the left of the address bar, and stop/refresh on the right.  Something I personally do not care for, and they are not customizable.

Like Firefox, it now comes standard with a search bar.  However, it uses Microsoft Live and adding another search engine isn't as quick as selecting one, you have to go to Microsoft's website and download script to add it.  One good thing about Firefox is that you could type in something like "PixelJoint" into the address bar, it would get the best result and show you that page.  In IE7, it now takes you to Microsoft's Live search site.

Finally, IE is following some standards, and I mean some. To web developers, don't hold your breathe, about 30% of CSS/CSS2 not recognized by previous versions have been added.

IE7 also now uses tabs, something that has been disired since Firefox made them mainstream, and so far, I have no complaints to their functionality.  There is even a feature to view a preview of all the tabs in a "website" like environment.

Phishing Filter - the new phishing filter sends info about the site you are at to Microsoft and checks it against a database of know phishing sites and looks for matches or simularaties.  I have a feeling this is going to lead to a lot of security concious and paranoid people uninstalling, especially those warez people (you know who you are).  Microsoft says it doesn't use it to identify you, but I am sure they have a filter that catches people searching for Vista Activation Cracks, but I am one of those paranoid people, so...

Customer Experience Improvement Program - Now you can submit suggestions, comments, and complaints directly to some customer service represenative and possibly help with IE updates and improvements.  Something that has been needed for awhile now.

IE7 also is now providing "extensions", I have yet to explore what they have so far, but this seems to be a great step forward as well.  A developer could create an extension that forces IE7 to obey standards better.

Security has always been an issue with anything with the Microsoft stamp on it, and I have yet to find any gaping holes in the security of this latest release.  Every program has them in the beta stage, but IE is notorious for them.  But so far it has gotten better.

In conclusion, IE7 hasn't made any improvements that make me want to ditch Firefox and use IE exclusively.  The new design looks pretty, but the fact that it is not customizable instantly annoyed me.  It is defiantely a huge step forward from previous versions, but it will take much more work before I will be replacing Firefox with it.

Posted by Ensellitis @ 7/6/2006 08:04  |    19


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kaltsu (Level 2 Flatfoot) @ 7/8/2006 17:04
I feel like an Opera spokesman now, which I'm definitely not. Just have to inform you the new version doesn't cost anything and doesn't have ads at all. For the standards, it's saying it "supports all major web standards, including CSS 2.1, XHTML 1.1, HTML 4.01, WML 2.0, ECMAScript, DOM 2 and SVG 1.1 basic", and it has an inbuilt validator also. At least check the link I posted below.

Ensellitis (Level 11 Sensei) @ 7/8/2006 03:53
opera is definately better than IE...  HOWEVER.  there is still the problem of lack of web standards compliance.  FF is so far the only browser to be built around the standards.  THat is why 9/10 web designer uses mozilla based browsers before anything else.  And since opera has all the ads and cost money, i never used it except to test a layout.

Since I got IE tab extension, I dont even have IE now.  I have been beta testing IE7 since the first build they had.  Ever since then i have been sending messages via connect telling them there needs to be better web support, but they are interested in making it prettier, not more complioant

E-Magination (Level 3 Sniper) @ 7/8/2006 03:12
BTW faster than Opera? There is no such thing as "faster than Opera" . Anyway, FF and Opera users should not bitch to eachother.  We all want to kill IE.

E-Magination (Level 3 Sniper) @ 7/8/2006 01:06
Yay. Microasoft is going to realeease that Monopoly based opera ripp-off.

pixelblink (Level 9 Federal Agent) @ 7/8/2006 00:32
Shark: I gave him some kudos dude

jalonso (Level 11 Godfather) @ 7/7/2006 20:08
I use them all to view image differences (mine), before finalizing my palettes for the Pj gallery. I then know its the best possible regardless of browser. IE is always the worst. Nothing beats Firefox, even Safari.

halfDemon (Level 6 Hitman) @ 7/7/2006 20:02
I'll never leave my Firefox. Never!

Aleiav (Level 2 Quiet One) @ 7/7/2006 14:17
I still love my firefox. And I won't go for IE7 if you can't customize it. It want black skins, I tell you! :P

Opacus (Level 7 Ichikyu) @ 7/7/2006 11:19
Copy cats finaly got Firefox's tabs in it.

Shark (Level 1 Jukyu) @ 7/7/2006 08:10
Being a mac user i dont have IE, but seeing as this is more of a browser debate i feel somone should step in for us mac users. IMO i think firefox is the best browser created due to its availability on all OS's and its price. There are some pretty neat tools in firefox aswell. However I occasionally use Firefox, as i use safari. Firefox may be a better browser, however safari works better with Apple's operating system, its just seems more natural. Safari is a pretty damn good browser also... much faster than IE and opera. I think If apple made safari for windows they might give Firefox a good run for their money. I may try out the new IE on a Pc, but i doubt its anything compared to Firefox.

Shark (Level 1 Jukyu) @ 7/7/2006 08:10
Oh, and props to Ensell for posting this damn good review of IE, i think an award is due.

kaltsu (Level 2 Flatfoot) @ 7/7/2006 00:30
Opera 9 sounds pretty good to me. Nice list of features and I've heard it's pretty light also. I'm kinda used to Firefox but it wouldn't probably hurt if you try it out? Meh. Maybe tomorrow.

sedgemonkey (Level 11 Master Assassin) @ 7/6/2006 21:05
Opera without ads really is a clean treat, but the terrific extensions in Firefox have me locked in.

JJ_Maxx (Level 2 Peon) @ 7/6/2006 15:57
I'll just stick with my Opera. Thanks. ;)

Ensellitis (Level 11 Sensei) @ 7/6/2006 15:12
sedge, the reson for that is the way graphic rendering was done in IE, they screwed it up so IE would not recognize PNG transparency.  I good example is my site,

All my icons there are PNG with alpha transparency.  It looks great in FF and crappy in IE.

IE5 was only good due to the lack of options.  IE has never truley been that good.  It is like living in the ghetto (internet), and leaving your house (IE), and leaving the door wide open (security holes).  Best way i could think of describing it.

Microsoft had a bad habit of releasing software with little beta testing and waiting for the complaints and security holes to be exploited, then release fixes.  And they still do it that way from time to time.  Microsoft was the first software company to release security patches hours after it's initial release.

Mozilla has a very extensive following of beta tester, myself included, and don't release until they are certain the biggest bugs have been smashed (sorry jal).

I would love for M$ to come up with some innovative ideas as well as learn from other browsers and step up to the plate.  As it is now, the only reason IE is still so big, in all honesty, is because it is bundled with windows and people get used to it, then refuse to switch.

sedgemonkey (Level 11 Master Assassin) @ 7/6/2006 14:30

I check out some PNG files on Pixel Joint in Firefox and they're fine. I check them out in IE and they're broken. Not supporting transparency is one thing, but what the hell is that?

IE needs to innovate a little rather than just playing catchup with Firefox.  When IE 5 came along Microsoft honestly had the best browser in the biz... they can do it again if they put some effort into it.

pixelblink (Level 9 Federal Agent) @ 7/6/2006 13:22
PNG support? Yes! Finally... these guys are slow
More features from IE7

JJ_Maxx (Level 2 Peon) @ 7/6/2006 13:20
Does IE7 have PNG support?

pixelblink (Level 9 Federal Agent) @ 7/6/2006 13:17
I've recently switched over to Firefox and I've never been happier. I don't know why I put it off for so long. I highly doubt that any new browser brought forth by Microsoft will ever be genuinely trouble-free. Personally, I wish there were more options to MS products out there, especially OS. I don't really feel like there's much competition for Windows and Linux seems to be the only one that stands a chance. Why doesn't Mozilla try for one?

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