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Microsoft Internet Explorer The Internet

IE 7.0 Beta 2 Available to the Public 422

spyrochaete writes "Microsoft has just made available their latest beta preview build of their Internet Explorer 7.0 web browser. New features such as tabbed browsing and RSS subscription are summarized in an animated tour. MS welcomes feedback at the Internet Explorer 7 newsgroup." There's also a Channel 9 interview available, as well as commentary on the IEBlog. Update: 01/31 19:58 GMT by Z : prostoalex wrote in with a link to a review of the release at PC Magazine.
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IE 7.0 Beta 2 Available to the Public

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  • by Kesch ( 943326 )
    I will repeat my earlier sentiment. Windows update with tabs and RSS, yipee!

    Once again I will return to browsing the internet with Firefox.
    • Re:Once again... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by CastrTroy ( 595695 ) on Tuesday January 31, 2006 @03:22PM (#14609417) Homepage
      Microsoft cannot survive developing new features at its current pace. 5 years between releases for SQL server and and 3 years for most other applications is too much. We haven't had a new IE since 2001. Meanwhile, new versions of the competing open source solutions are being released every year, sometimes more often, with tons of new features. At this rate, in 10 years, MS software will have a quarter of the features of the competing open source products.
      • Re:Once again... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by bersl2 ( 689221 ) on Tuesday January 31, 2006 @03:31PM (#14609545) Journal
        It's not the number of features that's important; it's whether you implement the important ones well.
      • Re:Once again... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by robgamble ( 925419 ) on Tuesday January 31, 2006 @03:47PM (#14609746)
        They didn't need a new IE until Firefox started creating bona fide competition.
      • Re:Once again... (Score:2, Insightful)

        by cristij ( 910332 )
        I don't mean to defend MS, but I don't think the differentiators are the frequency of the releases, or the additional features.

        If a product is well designed and build you don't need frequent releases. In regards to features, most people don't want to do many things with a browser except view web pages, and it a browser does that good and creates a pleasant experience users don't care about features they wouldn't use anyway.

        Take the example of the iPod: there are plenty of players out there with a ton more f
      • Yeah, but they seem to implement the important features quickly - just think about complete Wireless support on the OS level, for example.
        • They still at IE 6 don't have proper CSS support or PNG support. They don't implement all the important features quickly enough. I can get a Javascript debugger for FireFox. I want the same for IE. For any developer doing a lot of javascript in their web pages, the javascript debugger is a must have.
    • From the Channel 9 comments section:
      i threw firefox right out ! didn't even watch the video before

      edit: i 'd love to be in that office..... i mean... the view is really beautiful. that's my idea of a dream office (if there's such a thing)

      He threw firefox right out? I guess one man's trash is another man's treasure.
  • Way to lead the pack MS!!!! []
  • ACID2 test? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Spy der Mann ( 805235 ) <spydermann.slashdot@ g m> on Tuesday January 31, 2006 @03:20PM (#14609384) Homepage Journal
    How do they fare in the ACID2 test, compared to their old bloody (everything's red, it must be blood!) result? Can anyone post a screenshot?
  • by Tumbleweed ( 3706 ) * on Tuesday January 31, 2006 @03:20PM (#14609387)
    Okay, first start it up, and you get a web site with a broken image and 'errors on page'. Nice.

    Somewhat goofy interface, reminiscent of Opera. Oy. How do I turn off these cartoony buttons?

    Built-in phishing protection = good

    Okay, load the company's homepage:

            Layout seems perfect.

            Uhoh - dig the heavy main font; THAT ain't right. Something as basic as font weight is fucked up? Very bad. It looks like everything is bolded now. :( The fonts _look_ nice, though, unless they're italic, then they're hard to read. Definitely some font issues going on here.

            It's also slower with the menu changing background colours. Probably because of debugging code in the beta. I hope.

            Okay, quick check to see if IE6 is still on here...aaaannddd...of course not. Fuckers. Okay, let's check in Firefox, yep, what I thought. IE7 is messing up some of the menu's CSS effects - sometimes putting an underline under some of the items when it shouldn't. Still beta, so no biggie.

            Okay, load company site 2:

            More sophisticated layout, layout still fine. Good.

            Okay, load company site 3:

            Much more sophisticated layout, and front page layout looks fine, but visited link colour is wrong.

    Built-in close-tab X on each tab, but only when focused on that tab. Better than default FF behaviour, but they should take a look at Tab Mix Plus extension features.

    Okay, let's check the Options!

    Popup blocker defaults to off? Bleh.

    Prompt to save passwords on forms defaults to off? Bleh.

    AHA - font problem solved - installing IE7 turns on ClearType: MONDO STUPID. Turn of ClearType, restart, fonts are back to normal. Whew.

    Okay, so, it seems to load Slashdot well enough.

    It remembers many IE6 settings, but others (like preferred fonts) it does not. Not a biggie for a beta.

    So, all in all, not bad for the first public beta.

    Same ctrl-T to open new tab as in FF. Bueno.
    • not bad for the first public beta.
      Isn't this just a preview of Beta 2? I head the final Beta 2 will be out in April.
    • Heh, thanks for the 'running commentary'...

      AHA - font problem solved - installing IE7 turns on ClearType: MONDO STUPID. Turn of ClearType, restart, fonts are back to normal. Whew.

      Quick question for you: does IE7 antialias text normally? Or is it a ClearType-only thing? I understand ClearType to be only for LCD panels. (Also, what do you hate about it? I've never used it myself.)

      There's only two things I want from IE7 as a designer: antialiased fonts and PNG alpha channel support. I doubt I'll get eit

      • Quick question for you: does IE7 antialias text normally? Or is it a ClearType-only thing? I understand ClearType to be only for LCD panels. (Also, what do you hate about it? I've never used it myself.)

        It IS only for LCD panels, though some people will tell you it also works on CRTs: not true. There are no subpixels on a CRT. If you have a discerning eye, you'll hate it on a CRT. What I don't like about what it does to text on a CRT: it makes everything look bold. It mostly looks better, even on a CRT, but
    • Prompt to save passwords on forms defaults to off? Bleh.

      I very strongly feel that saving passwords on forms should be off by default, given the number of shared computers out there (why not handle that option during the "advanced user" install?). I recently sat down at a computer in a school lab and the Gmail login page loaded up with someone elses username and password already filled in, no doubt because they'd gone to login, and the dialog had popped up asking them if they wanted it to remember their pas

    • enabling Cleartype is actually a very good idea. (but it doesnt make much sense for a browser to do this, it should be enabled by default)

      there is a quite interesting video ( 749 [] ) about it. (it basicly says that people can read ClearType text faster and more accurate than standard text
      • enabling Cleartype is actually a very good idea.

        Only if it's on an LCD; if it's a CRT, then it's a matter of opinion as to whether it's a good thing. For me, it is not, but I have a very discerning eye. Regular text is more readable (thought it's also bigger, which I consider a major design flaw in ClearType), but italicized text is unbearable, based on my own experience.

        I'd love to see ClearType on an LCD, but I'll likely be running a Mac long before I have the money for a decent LCD anyway, so it won't ma
    • Okay, quick check to see if IE6 is still on here...aaaannddd...of course not. Fuckers.

      That ain't good. Does IE7beta actually wipe out IE6, or does it simply make IE7 the default?

      Though we are allowed to install multple browsers, my employer mandates that all intranet web apps work in IE6 at minimum. It would be nice to install IE7 and prepare our apps for any upcoming changes, but if I can't ensure that any changes won't break our IE6 functionality then it's a show-stopper. I imagine this is the case f

    • Everyone's eyes have different sesitivities to different light wavelengths. Since cleartype uses different colors with the layout of the colored pixels of your monitor, it should be configured for each monitor and user to provide the best results.

      Link to online cleartype calibration site: r/Step1.aspx []

    • Built-in phishing protection = good

      Actually, it's horrible. It submits every URL you try to access to MS for verification. Same with the Google toolbar in fact, except the latter is even worse because it submits it over an unencrypted connection. These anti-phishing efforts break the current semantics of the web. These efforts are seriously misguided and truly disheartening, particularly when there are perfectly good anti-phishing tools that do things right [].
    • Popup blocker defaults to off? Bleh.

      Actually, it defaults to on. You may have been confused by the "Always open popups in new window" option in which controls the behavior of a a popup that's already been allowed. Check the Privacy tab for the popup blocker settings.
  • Ad blocker? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by dada21 ( 163177 ) * <> on Tuesday January 31, 2006 @03:20PM (#14609393) Homepage Journal
    Some AdSense advertisers are complaining that IE7 has a built in adblocker specifically targetting Google's ads. Can anyone confirm this?
  • Looks nice but.... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by jerryodom ( 904532 )
    Doesn't bode well when I'm getting Javascript errors at the IE7 tour page and in the tour pages. I do like the quick tabs. They seem like they'll be pretty useful. Lets hope the the security measures really help secure our PCs and not open us up to new attacks.
  • Seamonkey (Score:2, Informative)

    by stecoop ( 759508 )
    I still like seamonkey better l []
    • Well done! Looks like you just predicted the /. future:

      SeaMonkey 1.0 Released
      Posted by Zonk in The Mysterious Future!
  • pre-install note: (Score:5, Informative)

    by Tumbleweed ( 3706 ) * on Tuesday January 31, 2006 @03:22PM (#14609415)
    You must do the 'Windows Genuine Advantage' thingy before it'll install.
  • Had A Chance... (Score:2, Informative)

    by u16084 ( 832406 )
    I had the chance to preview... PNG support is there... Still lots of page rendering errors, (slashdot) is one example... page scrolls for ever... tabbed browsing is sweet... some security tweaks.. Once completed...
  • Beta? Microsoft? (Score:3, Informative)

    by rsborg ( 111459 ) on Tuesday January 31, 2006 @03:23PM (#14609430) Homepage
    Hasn't Google trademarked that term? >

    Seriously, IE *is* playing catchup. Some will say that this is the end of an IE only net.

    Others say that all Microsoft has to do is to just be "good enough" and they can keep their near-monopoly market share of the browsing environment.

    One thing that's for sure is that Microsoft is no longer the "apparent" force for innovation that they were in the 90's.
    And that tabbed browsing (eg: MDI done properly) is here to stay :-)

    • I'll probably be modded to hell for saying this, but I'm of the croud that wants IE to get "good enough".

      Firefox was neat but it has never been fast or even adequate at rendering things other than text and has recently come prone to a good deal of bloat. Get me a version that doesn't slow to a crawl with pages heavy with images (seriously- what is it doing, decompressing JPEGs on the fly?) and that doesn't take up hundreds of megs of ram after heavy usage on relatively simple websites, and I'll reconsider
    • Others say that all Microsoft has to do is to just be "good enough" and they can keep their near-monopoly market share of the browsing environment.

      Why sure.. as a sys admin managing a Windows network, I'm looking for ways to minimize the amount of software I need to maintain. If IE7 is *good enough* (for me this means standards compliance on-par with other modern browsers and minimal security issues) what is the point of keeping, updating and maintaining Firefox on those desktops? Firefox doesn't integrate
  • FC4 (Score:5, Funny)

    by czarangelus ( 805501 ) <{iapetus} {at} {}> on Tuesday January 31, 2006 @03:23PM (#14609437)
    I'm going to beta test it right now... in Fedora Core 4. And I'm gonna send an error report if it doesn't work, too.
  • I saw the first beta through my company (has an MSDN subscription) and this version LOOKS alot better, but still hogs a ton of memory. At present time, its using 104MB of ram, 79MB of pagefile space. The only thing I have loaded is this wonderful site: Firefox is using just 24.8MB of memory. Looks like I'm uninstalling already. The UI is pretty, though.
    • WE have it as well, but the recent mandate to switch all desktops to using FireFox for a browser and disable using IE for security reasons means that we will never deploy it.

      Our internet proxy looks at your browser string and disallows anything IE to access the proxy cutting off all internet to IE in the company. This in effect has started huge adoption of users to Firefox for their home pc's as well. I get a request on howto get firefox from a user at least 4 times a day.

      Many other corperations are doing
    • by Mr. Underbridge ( 666784 ) on Tuesday January 31, 2006 @04:30PM (#14610229)
      Firefox is using just 24.8MB of memory.

      Did you know that the abbreviation for gigabytes is GB, not MB?

    • I loaded IE7 and FF and IE7 used about 21meg empty, with FF using about 24meg empty. That's the only memory test I've yet done. It's not like FF is slim on the memory. I wouldn't mind that so much about FF if they would make the UI multithreaded; it's absolutely ridiculous to have such a program have a single threaded UI in this day. Bleh. Does anyone know if FF 2 will have a multithreaded UI? I keep hearing about it for new versions, but it never seems to show up.
  • Preview tab is sweet (Score:5, Interesting)

    by twbecker ( 315312 ) on Tuesday January 31, 2006 @03:31PM (#14609547)
    I like that you can preview all the tabs you have open in one spot, and either switch to them or close them from there. Honestly, I expect that IE7's tabbed browsing will be better than vanilla Firefox. Firefox gets several things wrong out of the box (which are being fixed for FF2.0, and are available in trunk builds now).
  • Just FYI (Score:5, Interesting)

    by GillBates0 ( 664202 ) on Tuesday January 31, 2006 @03:33PM (#14609568) Homepage Journal
    Just because I know a number of you n3rds here will try to see what the IP address that is reported as a "Phishing website" on the penultimate page of the tour is, I already checked. It belongs to MSFT itself. []
    Search ARIN WHOIS for:
    OrgName: Microsoft Corp
    OrgID: MSFT
    Address: One Microsoft Way
    City: Redmond
    StateProv: WA
    PostalCode: 98052
    Country: US
    NetRange: -
    NetHandle: NET-207-68-128-0-1
    Parent: NET-207-0-0-0-0

    I always wanted to see Microsoft blacklist itself in one of it's intricate series of patch releases, security alerts, and spam filters. Now my life is complete.

  • It looks like Microsoft is trying hard to tell they make the web work for me...

    Their struggle is to get a heading on an otherwise mostly empty web page show correctly.

    They fail it. []

    Seriously, if they can't even make a title graphic look right, just fire your webmasters.

    My brother knew how to do it cross-platform, when he was 13, a multi-billion dollar company don't?
  • The installer runs the Malicious Software Removal Tool before installing IE7 - clever. Too bad they didn't think of that for SP2 for XP; I heard a lot of problems with SP2 were due to that kind of stuff infecting a machine. Let's hope this is a feature that stays around, and spreads to other MS software installs.
  • Wow... all of Windows is only 11 MB! I guess the old defense against the monopolistic "binding" issues have gone away.

    - My best SIG is this one
    • Try using help in any number of applications (MSFT or third-party) with IE uninstalled. Numerous other applications embed the MSHTML browser control or use IE's features in some way. They'll all break without IE. This is one area where Microsoft excel: backwards compatibility. This IE7 upgrade will function in applications from the 1990's.
      • To be fair, Apple does much the same thing with their web browser. Although they make some effort to separate the browser front end from the libraries that render the HTML. That is, you don't need Safari, per se. But you do need to have WebKit installed for a lot of things to work. This is how it should be, IMO.

  • by Pedrito ( 94783 ) on Tuesday January 31, 2006 @03:40PM (#14609657)
    I'm not fond of upgrading software. Being a software developer, I often don't have a choice. I often have to make sure I'm using the latest of anything that might be work-related and that includes things like Office and other supporting software.

    But with something like a web browser, I get a choice. I held off on switching to Firefox. I tried some earlier version and while they had nice features, there were too many issues, I wouldn't switch. Shortly before the 1.0 release, I finally made the switch. The two most compelling features for me were the tabbed browsing and the keyworded bookmarks (which I use ALL the time).

    I don't know if IE 7 has the keyworded bookmarks and without it (or something similar), I wouldn't even consider it. But the fact remains that without some compelling new features, I doubt I will switch and from what I've seen so far, there's just nothing like that.

    I suspect a lot of regular users are like that. Without a really compelling reason, they won't switch. I suspect IE 7.0 will fail to turn the tide of people switching to Firefox.
  • You can download the Mac version here! []

    Seriously, though, Mac OS and other platorms gaining ground on Windows. And Windows users are tiring of spyware and are switching to other browsers.

    Are the developers out there starting to realize that not all users are IE/Windows users? Are developers starting to make their apps and sites browser-agnostic? If so, I'm not seeing much of it.

    My browser-agnostic apps are not going IE/Windows only, but my IE/Windows apps aren't going browser-agnostic either.

  • by finkployd ( 12902 ) on Tuesday January 31, 2006 @03:43PM (#14609700) Homepage
    I'm using it now to post this comment, and then I'm switching right back. The toolbar is ugly (granted it is beta), and I'm amused that Yahoo is the default search tool over MSN (google of course is not even an option, after all who searches with that?).

    Rendering is still sub par, tabs are nice though. All in all, it has a strong "welcome to the cutting edge of web browsing, circa 2003" feel to it. Given that Firefox actually has some momentum now even in corporate America, not to mention joe average who is beginning to draw a connection between spyware and IE, I think MS is going to have to do better than a poor Firefox clone to reverse that trend.

  • Personally, I am not to excited about this (haven forgotten about MS a while ago). The real question is, who is going to be using this new browser, since reasonable alternatives with better features have been around for over a year. Seriously, who still uses IE (other than 80% of the internet surfing public). Are RSS and tabbed browsing really going to entice people to switch, or is MS going to Masquerade a product release as a "security update"?

  • Is there a stand alone version? How are people ment to test their site in IE6 and IE7 if there's no stand alone version of IE7?
    • Is there a stand alone version? How are people ment to test their site in IE6 and IE7 if there's no stand alone version of IE7?

      You're not too familiar with this "Microsoft," are you? :)
  • Why should MS care? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by mmalove ( 919245 )
    The internet browser is free. MS makes no money on it. What is their motivation to put out a new version of IE as opposed to something like say, MS Office, where they make 100-300 bucks a pop on it?

    Or a new OS?

    • What is their motivation to put out a new version of IE as opposed to something like say, MS Office, where they make 100-300 bucks a pop on it?

      Not much, which is why they've not released a new version in so long. But the current version of IE is obsolete, has an appalling reputation for security, and is causing significant numbers of people to switch to Firefox and Opera, which are, at present, vastly superior. If people get into the habit of trying out alternatives to MS software, discover how much bette

  • Fixed attribute (Score:4, Interesting)

    by mla_anderson ( 578539 ) on Tuesday January 31, 2006 @04:11PM (#14610038) Homepage
    Still no concept of position: fixed in IE7. Ugh.
  • Did Microsoft go out if its way to make sure we all knew that the browser was an integral and non-seperable part of the operating system just so it couldn't be "extra" sued by the U.S. government? Does this mean this is a beta of Vista for free download?!


  • Does IE7 support transparent PNGs yet? I still have a webpage up out there that has to you a _very_ nasty CSS img tag hack to rerender transparent PNGs using the Windows alpha channel if the visitor is using IE.

    While IE7 doesn't mean I'd get to remove the hack anytime soon, at least it'd be a light at the end of the tunnel.
  • Are these controls always at the far right of the screen?
    So the menus will always open backwards?,1205,l=&s= 1712&a=170269&po=6,00.asp []

    Tell me it ain't so! (Can't install the beta, can't check it out myself)
  • Wake me up when... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Dracos ( 107777 ) on Tuesday January 31, 2006 @05:02PM (#14610511)

    These things are fixed:

    • Box Model
    • Float Model
    • PNG transparency
    • position: fixed
    • Well, CSS in general
    • Event Model
    • DOM support
    • Mime type: application/xml+html
    • Mixed namespace documents

    Which basically begs the question, "Will IE ever 100% support any standard?" Sadly, the answer is probably not. IE doesn't even fully support HTML 3.2.

  • by sootman ( 158191 ) on Tuesday January 31, 2006 @05:35PM (#14610807) Homepage Journal
    The tour shows a feature called "QuickTabs" that looks good. If I'm correct, it looks like Expose for your tabs--shows thumbnails of all open tabs. Shiira [] for OS X has this and it's great--something every browser should have.
  • My take (Score:4, Interesting)

    by astrosmash ( 3561 ) on Wednesday February 01, 2006 @12:01AM (#14613387) Journal
    The Good:
    1. They haven't tried to reinvent the wheel with respect to tabbed browsing and search. They got it mostly right. As a Firefox and Safari user I generally feel at home using IE 7, which is a pleasent surprise.
    2. I like the placement of the new-tab button and close-tab buttons. (Better than Firefox)
    3. Clicking on a web page's orange XML icon brings up an RSS reader instead of dumping raw XML. (Better than Firefox, again)
    4. Real zoom. Try this: view this [] web page in IE7 and hit Ctrl-+ a few times, then do the same in Firefox. Huge difference; beats Firefox again.
    5. Although the old menu bar is gone, the old menu accelerators still work; e.g. Alt-F shows the old menu bar and displays the file menu as expected.

    The Bad:

    1. They *still* don't have smooth scrolling working correctly. In fact, mouse wheel scrolling in general is very slow and choppy. (Actually, it appears to be OK on some sites, crappy on others)
    2. It's a surprising rough release. It's quite slow at loading, scrolling, and resizing, and has crashed a couple of times for no apparent reason. I'm surprised they released it like this, beta or not.
    3. Lots of rendering errors, too. I don't know if that's because of actual bugs, or because IE is *now* rendering correctly and the IE5/6 specific web sites are wrong.
    4. IE *still* doesn't render large tables until the entire table has loaded.
    5. Unacceptably large memory usage (over 70 MB of VM after a few minutes of use)
    6. Draging links or text onto the tab bar or doesn't work as expected; Can't drag text at all onto the tab bar, which is one of may favorite features of both Safari and Firefox.
    7. I don't like the lack of menu bar. I'm dreading the thought of having to explain over the phone to my parents how to open the options dialog.

    Bottom line: There isn't enough here to get me to switch from Firefox (or Safari :p), and if they don't reign in the memory usage I doubt I'll even install it, but when I have to use IE on a friend or co-worker's machine, I'll be very glad if they have IE7 installed.

The absent ones are always at fault.