Early Thoughts on IE7

Album Cover: First Impressions of Earth

"Don't be a coconut. God is trying to talk to you."
The Strokes / Ask Me Anything

Posted on October 19, 2006 6:38 AM in Browsers
Warning: This blog entry was written two or more years ago. Therefore, it may contain broken links, out-dated or misleading content, or information that is just plain wrong. Please read on with caution.

I downloaded Internet Explorer 7 last night after learning that it is now available.

First off, I have to say that I'm really happy about them fixing the dotted border problem. Just in case you weren't around back then, I actually made fun of that bug in my very first blog entry. Another little piece of history: I predicted a "cool" IE7 way back in '03.

In other areas, they seem to have done a decent job in reaching parity with Firefox. I'll of course have more to say when I design my next site and do testing in this new browser, but my first impression is that sites look a lot more like they do in Firefox in IE7 than they did in IE6. I guess you can just chalk that up to better support of web standards.

I was impressed by the fact that they kept my settings from IE6, and unlike previous iterations, didn't hijack everything and assume I want IE7 to be my default browser and what not. I also give them props for making changing my default search engine an easy process right out of the box. It was very easy to switch to Google from their default setting, Windows Live.

I have to mention just a couple things I've noticed that I'm not as fond of, though. I obviously don't like how I can't just start typing to find something on the page. Going back to CTRL-F just doesn't sit well with me. I was also a bit surprised that hitting CTRL-+ or CTRL-- zoomed the whole page and not just the text. I'm sure there's a key combo for that, but not knowing it I had to resort to the "Page" dropdown in the toolbar. I've gotten really used to CTRL-L and CTRL-K in Firefox, so that's an issue as well. Oh, and one more thing: you can't middle click on the back button!

I definitely have to concur with Jonathan Snook and countless others who have praised the Internet Explorer team for finally catching up with advancements in web standards and, most importantly, the web standards they ignored or misinterpreted when developing the previous version of the browser. That will go a long way for us web developer types who have banged our heads time and time again trying to do the right thing in Internet Explorer when it was so much easier in browsers like Opera and Firefox. And speaking of Firefox, I have to give that team mad props for finally lighting a fire under the sleeping giant and getting a new standalone release out of a team that once said it would never happen.

Ahh...there's nothing like web browsers early in the morning!

Comments

Ian Clifton on October 23, 2006 at 11:09 AM:

I updated the browser from IE7B3 to the released version on one of the work computers I remote into in order to check out the recent changes. When IE7 first loaded, it tried to go to the http://runonce.msn.com/runonce2.aspx page, which could not be displayed. I also noticed that it changed the default browser to IE7 without even displaying a prompt, so I had to change it back to Firefox. I'm not sure why it hijacked that computer and not yours (maybe because I was remote, so it knew I couldn't throw the computer out the window?). Then I tried to change the default search engine and, rather than opening the page for changing the search engine in another tab, it opened in FF! I had to copy the URL into a new tab in IE and then copy the Google results... Needless to say, I haven't been too impressed. I just did a blog entry about how IE7 STILL has problems with the option tag. According to HTML 4 specs, if an option tag does not have a value attribute set, then the value of that option is the text between the tags. For IE, if there is no value attribute, there is no value. See http://blog.gordaen.com/2006/10/23/ie7-still-has-problems-with-option-tag-values/ for excessive detail.

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Bernie Zimmermann on October 23, 2006 at 8:39 PM:

That's interesting, Ian. I've installed it on a couple computers without a hitch, but never remotely. As far as the <option> tag goes, I've left a reply directly at your blog.

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Ian Clifton on October 25, 2006 at 9:00 AM:

I don't think that installing it remotely should cause any problems (besides the extra pain that restarting causes), but it is a multi-user machine, so that could have had something to do with it. I will probably install IE7 on one of my computers at home, but, until IE6 users only make up a small portion of my hits, I'll have to keep dealing with the idiosyncrasies of IE6 on at least one computer. In other news, FF2.0 is available and I'm very pleased with the way they handled extension incompatibilities.

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