On Wednesday 27th July, the Microsoft IE team announced the public release of IE7 Beta 1.
In April, I commented on IE7 Beta 1 initially being announced and had some serious reservations about it. I felt IE7, in general, was going to be nothing but a patch job and a half arsed attempt at fixing an old and out of date browser. Microsoft have aimed to fix IE many times before, however it has always fallen by the roadside. So, it is easy to see how most people were quite cynical that this time would be any different.
With the initial announcement, the IE team made it clear that the first release of IE7 would be quite limited. Their primary concern was fixing and increasing security, which has plagued all versions of IE. They did mention that they were fixing a couple CSS errors and a couple of general improvements, like PNG support.
Now that it is out, they haven’t disappointed. Dave Shea of Mezzoblue has put together a fairly critical article describing what has and hasn’t been fixed, pointing out that most of the common CSS problems still exist. I’m not quite sure why the tone of that article is so harsh, well I think it is pretty harsh. It shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone, the IE team said that they weren’t aiming to fix those problems in the first release.
Personally, I think that the developer community should be more happy than sad. The IE team said they were going to release a public beta this summer (ie: the Australian winter) and they have. They have fixed the things they said they would and have committed to adding and fixing plenty more in the future. The wheels of big business often turn slowly, this case is no different. The good news is that they are turning, which is a requirement for them improving the rather dire position that Internet Explorer is in.