I gave in and downloaded the very unofficial release of IE7 Beta 2 today and it’s somewhat impressive. Of course, impressive in terms of what I needed two years ago before the arrival of Firefox 1.0. It’s got everything you’ve come to expect from the popular open source alternative including a new tabbed interface (don’t worry, there are tab preferences for you to set in the internet options window), an integrated feed reader (think Live Bookmarks), as well as a few additional features one of which being “Quick Tabs.” One of the biggest changes of all comes from the removal of the “Classic Menu” (i.e., File, Edit, Tools, etc.) which is what we’ll be seeing more of (or less of, I guess) in Windows Vista. The menu is still accessible but only as a “double arrow” on the right side of the browser.
Overall, it’s a drastic improvement over IE 6.0, of that there is no doubt. My main grief is just how long it has taken for Internet Explorer to get to this state. Honestly, if I hadn’t been using Mozilla’s star product for so long I would be speechless right now. To be positive, however, the interface is actually beautiful and, as always, the speed of IE is nothing to be shameful of…it’s always been a very fast browser.
There are a few bugs, as you would expect, but I presume these will more than likely be worked out for the official release of the 2.0 beta. For instance, I had to switch over to Flock to submit this blog entry because while I was typing in the composition area of WordPress in IE7, the text wasn’t visible as I was typing…unless I arrowed backwards. An obvious bug. Oh, and one more thing I thought was kind of funny, the new Hotmail beta just doesn’t work in the new IE.
Regardless, I’ll be more likely to use IE7 for those stubborn pages that require IE and just won’t work with the second most popular browser on the face of the earth. Still, even in those cases I have other options such as IE Tab for Firefox and the ever-popular IE-based Maxthon browser which is feature rich…I’m talkin’ 007 feature rich.
For more detailed information (and I mean much more – not to mention decent writing), check out this article at PC Magazine. Be sure and leave some comments letting me know what you think of the beta – if you had the guts to test it out.