My Impression of IE7

Posted by Dan on Oct 20, 2006 @ 10:29 AM

Ok, so everyone is blogging about IE7—and probably rightfully so. It's been 4 years since a major release of Internet Explorer. I was a huge fan of Internet Explorer from 1998-2003. While IE4 went against the W3 spec in a lot of ways, it was a far better environment for building interactive web applications than any release of Netscape version 4. The only thing I thought Netscape managed to do better back then was w/their JavaScript debugging tools—which were immensly more useful.

However, back in 2003 I started testing early betas of Firefox. While I had tested the Mozilla browser and even Netscape v6, I really wasn't in love w/the Gecko engine (which is what all those browsers are based on.) Despite all the promise I kept reading about, I still found it slower and less responsive than IE. Firefox changed that though. The one of the original goals of Firefox was to cut out all the bloat that Netscape had been building into their browser (e-mail clients, HTML editors, etc.) and you definitely noticed the difference. Switching to Firefox as my main browser came unexpectantly to me—happening almost over night. I've really been using it as my main browsers since the v0.7x releases. It still shocks me how quickly I switched to Firefox, since I was such a huge proponent of Internet Explorer.

So, I've really been looking forward to seeing Internet Explorer v7 in a final state—just to see if they can make it worth it to switch back. Unfortunately, I've been really unhappy w/the new release. I really find the new UI unintuitive. Maybe this will change over time, but I think people used to using IE6 will be lost. Novice computer users don't adjust well to change. They're used to doing things in a certain fashion and radical change is hard for them to adjust to. I'm really surprised Microsoft didn't include an IE6 skin that could at least be selected for people who want the old look.

Also, I hate not having the File/Edit/View menu bar on the screen. While I know that MS is trying to move away from this GUI element, I still find I rely on it. You can pull it up by hitting the [ALT] key, but how un-intuitive is that? (If not for reading that on a blog, I'm not sure I'd have ever found it.)

The one thing I do really like about IE7 is the RSS style sheet. It's very slick and responsive. It's very well laid out and offers a lot of flexibility. This is one thing they've done a really nice job with (although I haven't tried using IE7 as a full-blown RSS reader—I'm still using FeedDemon for that.)

We'll see how I feel about things a month from now. From a technological standpoint, there's a huge upgrade to IE7. If you're using version 6, version 7 is a must upgrade. However, I just don't think Microsoft did enough to catch up with Mozilla's Firefox. I think IE7 is 2 years too late.

Categories: Personal, Technology, HTML/ColdFusion

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