I got my hands on the Internet Explorer 7 Beta. Here some first impressions.
First I would like to complain for a bit. This isn’t a “public” beta release. Microsoft only made it available to people with a MSDN subscription. So I thought, okay I have one, let’s have at it. But no. Of course, I couldn’t download it with my subscription. The communicative powers of Microsoft failed to mention what level of subscription you needed.
Thanks to the fact that people on the internet are, unlike Microsoft, very communicative, I got my hands on a copy the very next day.
The 10mb download took its time to install. After rebooting the computer, I had a go at testing.
What immediately catches the eye is the lay-out. It doesn’t hold up to Microsoft conventions. The tabs are above the standard menu, which makes it difficult to locate. The tabs feature seems to be directly copied from Mozilla Firefox. Scroll wheel click on a link opens the link in a new tab, control-T opens a new tab, etcetera. After opening a tab, the rendering screws up for some reason.
I was delighted to discover all my IE CSS hacks still work. This also means that there have been no changes to the rendering engine. No surprise there, but good to know we won’t be stranded in CSS limbo just yet.
Microsoft also lifted the idea of integrated search box from its competitors. A positive point about that: It defaults to Msn search, but four other search engines are pre-defined, including Yahoo and Google. I couldn’t find ways to add search engines quickly though.
One final gripe is the complete lack of Atom support. The feedreader solely supports RSS, which I think is a big mistake.
Let’s hope this Beta is only the first step, and the actual finished product will fix most of the UI and support problems, or they might as well not have bothered building this thing.