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IE7 Beta Released
Internet Explorer 7: Now in beta testing for developers
chadmg




msg:585583
 4:20 pm on Jul 28, 2005 (gmt 0)

[microsoft.com...]

Improved design to make everyday tasks easier and faster, with better navigation through tabbed browsing; inline search right from the toolbar; shrink-to-fit Web page printing; and a streamlined, redesigned user interface (currently in its early stages in Beta 1).

And they REALLY like RSS feeds according to their next improvement.

New tools to take you directly to the information you want through support for Web feeds (RSS) that includes automatic discovery of web feeds (RSS) on Web pages, basic Web Feed (RSS) reading capabilities, and basic support for saving Web feeds (RSS) as a new kind of favorite.

Anybody want to share their MSDN subscription? ;)

 

MatthewHSE




msg:585584
 4:33 pm on Jul 28, 2005 (gmt 0)

I'd bet that the download install files are already available somewhere online, but I haven't been able to find anything yet. Something I want to know is how easy it will be to roll back to IE6 if 7 bums up my system. Hopefully there will be a way to install IE7 separately, just like 4, 5, 5.5 and 6.

encyclo




msg:585585
 6:01 pm on Jul 28, 2005 (gmt 0)

I'm still reading the technical overview, which is available as a .doc file on the Microsoft site [microsoft.com]. The highlights of the beta 1 fall into four categories.

1. Dynamic Security Protection

The first is "Dynamic Security Protection" (or malware protection) - one of IEs biggest weaknesses. Changes in IE7 beta 1 include:

  • URL handling protections - a complete rewrite of the baseline code for handling URLs, creating a single function for URL processing, thus reducing the "internal attack surface". The idea is to attempt to eliminate the complexity which lead to numerous patched buffer overflows in IE6.

  • URL display protection - Browser windows without an address bar are a thing of the past, even on pop-ups. Further changes and visual clues to help better identify which site you are on are expected in the beta 2 release. The aim is to dramatically reduce the effectiveness of "phishing" attacks.

  • Cross-domain scripting attack protection - OK, so they should have been doing this already, but IE7 beta 1 includes "appending the domain name from which each script originates and limiting that script's ability to interact only with windows and content from that same domain"

  • Integration with the Windows Antispyware application - another feature to make the independent antispyware companies happy! Also a "Browser Hijack Settings Restore" control which will let you roll back your IE7 settings to the factory default after a malware infection.

  • Protected Mode - only in Vista (the next Windows) - a reduced-priviledge mode for IE7 which severely limits the access to the file system and OS. Again, they should have been doing this already, but at least MS are getting there only 30 years after Unix.

  • Dynamic Protection Against Data Theft From Fraudulent Web Sites - more anti-phishing protection, based around a Security Status Bar - an enhanced, more visible padlock icon and information bar placed prominently on the address bar. It will encourage users to view and examine SSL certificates and display warnings. Also a Microsoft Phishing Filter (why not a Phishing Net?!) which is an online service updated several times a day with the latest information on current phishing sites. Kind of like an anti-virus update service, with the same inherent weakness that it is often only useful after the fact.

  • Delete Browsing History - one-click delete button. Says it all, really.

  • Full Control Over Add-ons - includes the ability to temporarily disactivate all BHOs, ActiveX plugins, toolbars, etc. An "Add-on Manager" will be available in beta 2.

    2. Interface redesign

    Highlights of the new look for IE7:

  • Tabbed browsing - as seen in Firefox, Opera, etc.

  • Toolbar Search Box - search box with multiple choice selection of search engines, Google, MSN Search, Ebay... - as seen in Firefox, Opera, etc.

  • Shrink-to-Fit Printing - as it says. Wow.

  • Fewer icons and cleaner look - well that's what they say. The screenshots show the Stop and Refresh buttons now combined (it's revolutionary!), but strangely the top menu is now under the tabs and back/forward icons, which is a bit disconcerting and not in line with the usual Windows look and feel.

    3. New Tools

    This section is basically about the new, rudimentary RSS support. I suspect there will be more to come on that score with later betas.

    4. Platform Enhancements

    Not much more significant than the New Tools section. Anyone expecting greatly improved CSS support will be disappointed, but in reality the timeframe the development team had to prepare for this release, combined with the antiquity of IEs Trident rendering engine, made any major advances impossible. CSS fixes can be boiled down to two bug fixes: the "peekaboo" bug and the "guillotine" bug. All the rest is apparently at the same state as in IE6. On the markup side, there is no support for application/xhtml+xml, and little or no chance of this appearing in any later version. One piece of excellent news: transparent PNG support, at last! Other improvements revolve around better system management for easier control in a corporate environment.

    Conclusion

    No real surprises in this first IE7 Beta release: it is clearly a user's browser rather than a developer's browser. The IE team haven't taken heed of many of the demands of the developer community, preferring to concentrate the vast bulk of their effort on a big push on security. As security was clearly IE6s weakest point, I can't say I blame their sense of priorities.

  • Hanu




    msg:585586
     6:42 pm on Jul 28, 2005 (gmt 0)

    Available? Released? Where? I didn't find anything to download. Will this only go through the MSDN/Technet channels?

    encyclo




    msg:585587
     6:48 pm on Jul 28, 2005 (gmt 0)

    Currently the beta 1 is available only for those with a MSDN subscription.

    SeK612




    msg:585588
     7:32 pm on Jul 28, 2005 (gmt 0)

    It's been leaked (unless this is a newer build).

    The program itself looks very similar to firefox. The GUI is a bit weak (compared to IE 6), but this should improve with time. Some of the security features are evident too (such as the anti phising feature) :)

    encyclo




    msg:585589
     7:47 pm on Jul 28, 2005 (gmt 0)

    I wouldn't rush to install anything downloaded off a P2P service which claims to be the IE7 beta. :) Even if you have proper access to the beta you will need a separate test machine to sacrifice. There will probably be a public beta later on in the development cycle if you don't have access to MSDN (I'm still working on it!).

    I think that the most significant part of the released documentation is the lack of movement on the CSS issue. Whilst it would have been wonderful to see IE finally being able to do fixed positioning and such, at least there is the consolation that there will be much less tweaking required for current designs. It means that client-side, the browser is going to continue stagnating as advanced CSS techniques won't have a chance of a look-in for probably another five years at least. IE7 is going to be little more than a more secure, fancy wrapping for IE6, with the interface little more than a clone of Firefox 1.0.

    MatthewHSE




    msg:585590
     8:55 pm on Jul 28, 2005 (gmt 0)

    Thanks for the overview, encyclo. I found the following point particularly interesting:

    Browser windows without an address bar are a thing of the past, even on pop-ups.

    Now that is one very good addition, though it has some potential drawbacks. The upside is that, for anyone who knows to actually watch the address bar, it will be easier to keep track of what website you're really viewing. The potential downside is that the increased awareness of site addresses that this feature will cause may result in some visitors being scared off a site (or network of sites) that legitimately uses several domain names, sub-domains, etc. In other words, visitors may get concerned and leave when they see that they are now on demo.example.com, "when I typed in www.example.com. What are they trying to do to my computer?"

    No real surprises in this first IE7 Beta release: it is clearly a user's browser rather than a developer's browser.

    I guess that doesn't surprise me. The very first thing I thought of when I heard IE7 was coming out was that they'd add tabbed browsing and a few security fixes to try to curb the Firefox influence. Looks like that's about it . . . bummer. So we're still stuck with more or less the same old CSS techniques for another half-decade or so. Wonder if it will ever finally support the :hover pseudo-class on elements besides the <a> tag.

    GaryK




    msg:585591
     9:14 pm on Jul 28, 2005 (gmt 0)

    MSDN sure made it hard to find the IE7 beta. I eventually found it in the OS section. How ironic is that?

    My biggest complaint from a developer's point of view is the lack of a change log. There is no way to tell what's been fixed without having to find out via experimentation.

    From what I can tell only two significant CSS bugs have been fixed: peekaboo and guillotine. IE7 still flunks the Acid2 test. There is still no support for some long-promised HTML tags. PNG transparency is patched but it's not really fixed.

    From an end-user POV several people, including myself have noted that starting IE7 makes the Trillian IM client crash.

    The anti-phishing feature is turned off by default. One of the most useful security features and it's disabled.

    Toolbar and menu configuration seems to have to be set for each tab. I haven't fully figured this one out yet but it seems as if you setup your toolbars and menu the way you want for one tab and then open a second tab the toolbars/menu go back to the default.

    I've done all the experimentation I intend to do with b1. I'll wait until b2 before I spend any more time with IE7. I think b2 will be a truly public beta; open to anyone who wants to download it.

    grelmar




    msg:585592
     9:51 pm on Jul 28, 2005 (gmt 0)

    Just got it off a friend in MSDN - anyone know how to sandbox it?

    I don't want it killing this system. I only have one XP box left (the rest are all over to Linux).

    StupidScript




    msg:585593
     10:01 pm on Jul 28, 2005 (gmt 0)

    What do they mean by PNG transparency will be supported? Do they mean alpha channels and varying levels of transparency, or just basic transparency, like GIF transparency?

    GaryK




    msg:585594
     10:14 pm on Jul 28, 2005 (gmt 0)

    As I understand it they mean basic transparency like GIFs. To that extent they have patched the problem. I'm not sure how big an issue it is but it seems like if you click on the image or highlight everything on a page the image looses its transparency.

    StupidScript




    msg:585595
     10:54 pm on Jul 28, 2005 (gmt 0)

    Oops ... The Register (UK) is reporting [theregister.co.uk]:

    Users with search toolbars from Yahoo! and Google have discovered that these vanish. Other third-party toolbars designed to block pop-ups or aid with form filling appear to be working normally, according to reports from Reg readers.

    IE7 integrates search into the browser, but the only option is Microsoft's own MSN Search.

    While I agree with the Register that a beta product needs to keep things clean, it's kinda funny in a deja vu way ...

    It's looking more like a "catch up with basic FF functionality" release than a "let's get ahead" release. Really, there's nothing in anything I've read that goes beyond current (and previous) FF stuff, from PNGs to RSS feeds to tabbed browsing to "search in the address bar" ... it's all been done really well. Just pick up an extension if you want (or write your own), and you've got all of the phishing protection you need.

    I'll wait for IE8 or 9, if that's all they got.

    max_mm




    msg:585596
     1:03 am on Jul 29, 2005 (gmt 0)

    Users with search toolbars from Yahoo! and Google have discovered that these vanish. Other third-party toolbars designed to block pop-ups or aid with form filling appear to be working normally, according to reports from Reg readers.
    IE7 integrates search into the browser, but the only option is Microsoft's own MSN Search.

    LOL....Redmond are back with a vengeance baby. Google might be the mother of all search engines but we almost forgot who's the mother of almost 97% of PCs (op systems) around the world.

    Not sure if i like it or not anymore...the "do no evil" thing proved to be a farce. maybe it is time for google to get some of thier own medicine.

    encyclo




    msg:585597
     1:37 am on Jul 29, 2005 (gmt 0)

    I'm not too worried about the bugs - this is still an early beta. For the toolbars, the Register is rabble-rousing as usual, it is not surprising that many toolbars will break.

    I've been mulling the background to the release of IE7 and what it means for the web in general over the medium term. The most important aspect is the return in force of the browser paradigm. I know, I know, I hate that paradigm word too, but it is the only thing that fits here. This is a complete, 180 degree about-turn by Microsoft. Us oldies will remember Active Desktop being introduced in Windows 98/IE4, with the promise of the web everywhere. Microsoft took the web out of the browser as defined by Netscape and (for anti-competitive reasons as much as anything) integrated the web directly into the heart of the OS. MS has paid a high price in terms of insecurity due to this interweaving, but IE7 is changing all that. The web is back to its original confines of a secured, sandboxed (in Vista), controlled browser environment, each little window with its address bar and other controls. This is good news for alternative browser vendors such as Firefox and Opera, as they can compete at this level, whereas they cannot compete effectively at the OS level.

    This is not to say that IE7 is not an integral part of the operating system, especially in Vista. Microsoft is going to be using IE7 as a value-added proposition, competing with alternative browsers with extra features, such as the anti-phising online service which along with the anti-spyware application will undoubtedly become a subscription service. For the end user, uninterested in web development or the technicalities of it all, IE7 is going to be a very strong proposition when offered as a package with anti-virus, anti-spyware and anti-phishing applications all flashing ominous warnings of impending doom, and exuding the impression of increased security.

    As this is the "HTML and Browsers" forum, I should also mention how IE7 will affect the use of markup. The basic points are: a stable but stagnant platform in terms of CSS, with nothing but bug fixes over IE6. Without the security overhaul, this browser would be an IE6.1. Secondly, XHTML is dead - or rather, application/xhtml+xml is dead. It is not going to happen within IE7, and as I mentioned above, the web is firmly back within the browser, so it's not going to happen outside IE7 either.

    Overall, I think that IE7 has an excellent chance of having a significant impact, and I think that Microsoft have made a very smart move by concentrating on what their users want over and above what developers want.

    2by4




    msg:585598
     3:08 am on Jul 29, 2005 (gmt 0)

    I doubt MS is choosing to give their users what they want, from what I've read, the rendering engine of IE 7 goes all the way back to 4 in parts, and is simply too messed up to really do much more with. And so, lo and behold, a 7 version with mainly cosmetic, non core tweaks to it, plus the stuff they could get working with CSS. You don't improve CSS because users want it, you do it because you have some interest in making a good, top of the line piece of programming that can be part of the process of moving the web forwards (you know, what makes Opera, Applewebkit, and Firefox want to get better and better). MS clearly doesn't have this interest no matter what their wiki etc pretends to the contrary.

    Oddly enough, MS's relative antipathy towards the browser is not matched with their OS, which keeps pushing the boundaries of what a desktop can do easily with every major release. My guess is they don't want browsers to do certain things, or simply can't get the vision thing going, or a mix of the two.

    They weren't even planning on releasing a seven version until Firefox's success forced their hand, just like they weren't going to release ME until XP was delayed too long. It looks very much like version 7 will be about as good and useful a product as Windows ME was, in other words, a stopgap popped in place until the real rewrite happens, that's the one that wasn't even going to be released as a standalone application, but rather be fully integrated into the os. Yet another scatched 'Vista' feature? or still in the pipeline? only time will tell.

    Personally, re the reg, if there was one guy I could hang out over a beer with in the computer world, Andrew Orlowsky would be on the short list.

    DennyTang




    msg:585599
     3:48 am on Jul 29, 2005 (gmt 0)

    I think this means that it supports PNG-24 with different levels of opacity. I might be wrong but hopefully it is!

    tedster




    msg:585600
     3:52 am on Jul 29, 2005 (gmt 0)

    That was the kind of png support they talked about a few months ago

    CritterNYC




    msg:585601
     5:20 am on Jul 29, 2005 (gmt 0)

    Any word on resource usage? It seems to be a seperate browser instance for each tab. (with the whole oddball File-Edit menu below the toolbar dealio)

    collymellon




    msg:585602
     11:51 am on Jul 29, 2005 (gmt 0)

    Overall, I think that IE7 has an excellent chance of having a significant impact, and I think that Microsoft have made a very smart move by concentrating on what their users want over and above what developers want.

    I strongly agree, web browsers are all based / designed for the user experience not how we like to look at things..

    dcrombie




    msg:585603
     12:28 pm on Jul 29, 2005 (gmt 0)

    I see IE7 as a last ditch effort by M$ to stem the flow of users to open source alternatives, and a doomed one at that! The whole problem with M$ is that they spend most of their time focusing on what users "want" rather than what they need, and now they're in a hole they can't buy their way out of ;)

    edit_g




    msg:585604
     12:32 pm on Jul 29, 2005 (gmt 0)

    see IE7 as a last ditch effort by M$ to stem the flow of users to open source alternatives

    Were you around for what M$ did to Netscape? When they finally decide what's important, they're fairly single minded.

    uioreanu




    msg:585605
     12:55 pm on Jul 29, 2005 (gmt 0)

    seems that Register was wrong, and there should be no problems running toolbars in IE7:

    <snip>

    [edited by: encyclo at 1:04 pm (utc) on July 29, 2005]
    [edit reason] No URLs please! See TOS [webmasterworld.com] [/edit]

    dcrombie




    msg:585606
     1:08 pm on Jul 29, 2005 (gmt 0)

    Were you around for what M$ did to Netscape?

    I was around for NCSA Mosaic ;)

    Netscape made the mistake of trying to compete with M$ on their terms and painted themselves into a corner with code bloat. Explorer was at that time relatively flexible and able to out-maneauvere them.
    Sound familiar?

    JonR28




    msg:585607
     1:18 pm on Jul 29, 2005 (gmt 0)

    I am viewing this page right now with IE7 (have an msdn subscription). I don't like it. here is why I don't like it.

    - The quick search in the top-right is jacked right out of Mozzilla(Firefox) but it's not as pretty.
    - There are only two buttons on the address bar: Foward & Back (home, refresh etc are on a seperate bar).
    - The address bar is LOCKED in the top of the screen (which is where I like to have my file, edit, view, etc.).I couldn't figure out how to move it.
    - The tabs show up regardless of whether or not you are using tabbed windows.
    - ITS SO UGLY! (I love my Firefox CuteMenus). The tabs are ugly, the open new tab button is... just a gray block... so ugly!
    - RSS Feed support... okay but it doesn't have the cool "Live Bookmark" feature that firefox has so I actually have to click on the bookmarked feed and then it gives me a list of the topics... ewww.

    It does however seem to be lightning fast and not strain on the system. So I guess that's good. Seems to render everything just fine. My conclusion: Ehh... I'm not moving back from Firefox and believe that Firefox will continue to grow in popularity. The speed of IE is tempting but my computer is fast and my connection is fast and I don't need pages to render faster than I can think.

    MatthewHSE




    msg:585608
     1:45 pm on Jul 29, 2005 (gmt 0)

    Has anyone with IE7 gotten a non-tech friend to try it out yet? I'd be interested in knowing how the average user compares IE7 to IE6. Do they find it more cumbersome? Does it seem faster to them? Do they understand the tabs, and is the browser intuitive for them to handle?

    Developers are going to be making comparisons between IE and Firefox. But when IE7 really comes out, users will just be comparing it to their previous version. Will they consider it a favorable change? Hopefully not - if they don't like it, more will change over to Firefox or other standards-compliant browsers.

    Jon, have you enabled pipelining on Firefox? I find it hard to believe that IE could possibly be faster than the Fox once it's tweaked properly. Disabling the referer header helps a lot too, although that is a little more prone to cause problems on some sites. And finally, creating a new integer setting in about:config for nglayout.initialpaint.delay and setting it to 0 gives a great performance boost.

    ByronM




    msg:585609
     1:50 pm on Jul 29, 2005 (gmt 0)

    I see IE7 as a last ditch effort by M$ to stem the flow of users to open source alternatives, and a doomed one at that! The whole problem with M$ is that they spend most of their time focusing on what users "want" rather than what they need, and now they're in a hole they can't buy their way out of ;)

    Where do you come up with stuff like that? You think people who surf these forums are the average joe surfing the web? i think not.

    IE 7 has some major changes that even firefox doesn't compare to. Infact wasn't it just recently that firefox announced they're slowing down and re-grouping after haveing just as many (if not more) security risks found than IE?

    IE7 is going to murder firefox. Sad but true. The average joe has been tempted and tried and tried again, but they just don't like anything but IE.

    PS, i use firefox but i'm not blind to what billions of dollars can develop. The "network is the computer" is a relization quickly being adopted by Microsoft and frankly it's pretty exciting to watch.

    bcolflesh




    msg:585610
     1:58 pm on Jul 29, 2005 (gmt 0)

    I find it hard to believe that IE could possibly be faster than the Fox once it's tweaked properly.

    IE is always faster on the initial startup in Windows - parts of it are already in memory once you are at the desktop. Firefox seems "slower" to many people because of the delay in it's initial startup time - this is a perception problem that all browsers not using the core IE engine to render face.

    JonR28




    msg:585611
     2:35 pm on Jul 29, 2005 (gmt 0)

    Jon, have you enabled pipelining on Firefox?

    Yes, I've done quite a few tweaks in Firefox. IE7 is still a bit faster. Rendering pages & in start up time. It is noticeable but like I said, not enough so that I'll ditch Firefox. I'm sure if I uninstalled all my extensions, themes, et al I would be able to get Firefox running as fast as IE.... but then it would be ugly and no fun! I love my Firefox and IE7 doesn't even come close to tempting me.

    drhowarddrfine




    msg:585612
     2:40 pm on Jul 29, 2005 (gmt 0)

    IE 7 has some major changes that even firefox doesn't compare to.

    Name one that works. IE7 will still not conform to web standards set in 2000. Only two CSS bugs are fixed in the new release. They will not add any CSS3 functionality nor improve CSS2.1. It still doesn't understand xml prologue. And on and on and on...

    This 96 message thread spans 4 pages: 96 ( [1] 2 3 4 > >
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