IE7 Final Released
October 19, 2006 1 Comment
About 18 months after it was announced, IE7 is now available for download. It looks like it will be rolled out via automatic update “real soon now”. I wasn't going to blog about this, but changed my mind for a couple reasons. First, it impacts LQ. While for October 58% of all LQ visitors are using Firefox, there are still 28% using IE (on a somewhat surprising note, almost 10% of IE users are already at 7 as of yesterday). That means I have to test the site in IE7. Second, I think this is a shining example of why the Microsoft monopoly is bad. The last real release of IE was in 2001. If it weren't for the spectacular success of Firefox, I have no doubt that IE7 would still be years off. Think of how much the web has changed since 2001 and it's nothing short of astonishing that no real updates have been released in that time frame. If you do any kind of design for a high traffic site, you're well aware that the lack of a release isn't because everything works perfectly. To be honest, we gave up on IE-only fixes a while ago at LQ. We do make sure everything *works*, but some things look odd in IE (and only IE).
So far, the anecdotal reports I'm seeing don't instill a whole lot of confidence. I decided to fire up VMWare and install IE7, both to test LQ and to just check it out in general. The install is a bit odd. The first thing it did was download “updates” (how many updates can there be for a product released less than 24 hours ago). Then, it just sort of hung. No real progress bar or status indicator. Since I don't use Windows for actual work I just let it sit there. It did eventually indicate the install was successful about 15 minutes later, but if that was my main workstation I don't know if I would have waited that long. One reboot later, the install was done. I have to admit I only tested things for about 15 minutes, but the biggest two letdowns are that the oddities in the rendering of LQ are still there and the interface is absolutely horrific. It's possibly the hardest to use app I've seen out of Redmond. It may be that I just need to get used to the UI and then it will be great, but luckily for me I don't need to find out. On the up side, the rendering engine is definitely faster than IE 6 and the handling of RSS feeds is much improved. It should be interesting to watch as IE7 gets rolled out en masse over the next few weeks. Will it be a smooth transition or will the Internet be filled with complaints over broken and semi-functional web sites. As the web becomes more and more critical to peoples lives and businesses, this kind of things matters more and more. On that note, Firefox 2 is in late release candidate shape and should be ready for release very soon.
Microsoft, MSFT, IE, IE7, Firefox, Mozilla, Open Source