Friday, September 02, 2005 12:25 AM bart

Introducing Internet Explorer 7 Beta 1

Introduction

I'm running it for a couple of weeks now and I must say ... it's great. Although I'm not a fan of the most requested IE7 feature, being tabbed browsing, there's so much else - especially on the field of security - that turns me on :-). It takes a while to get used to the new look-and-feel but I must admit I like it in the end.

 

What's new in IE7?

An overview of the Internet Explorer 7 Beta 1 features can be found over here in a whitepaper. As you might expect, IE7 is based on Windows XP SP2's IE6 and works further on the improvements made in there (such as pop-up blocking, add-on management, etc). The most interesting features of IE7 are listed below:

  • A redesigned interface, including tab-based browsing.
  • Improved support for CSS and PNG (see blog post).
  • Support for RSS feeds (see blog post).
  • Direct access to a search engine of your choice (see blog post).
  • Shrink-to-fit web page printing (see blog post).
  • Better protection against malware and phishing (see blog post).
  • URLs in IE7 are now handled based on "CURI", resulting in a "normal form" for URLs (see blog post).

Please notice the following (source whitepaper):

The beta 1 release of Internet Explorer 7 includes a subset of all the new features that will be delivered in the final version of Internet Explorer 7. This release is intended to enable developers to begin to test the new browser for compatibility with their applications and Web sites. Therefore, many of the important changes in beta 1 are at a “plumbing level” of Internet Explorer and therefore will not be as evident to end users.

...the challenge of striking the right balance between security and compatibility: As security is tightened, compatibility and extensibility tend to suffer. With Internet Explorer 7, Microsoft is working hard to ensure this balance is met effectively to ensure the best possible browsing experience for end users.

 

Some personal experiences

RSS feeds

Because I'm reading blogs pretty frequently, blog readers such as SharpReader are welcome tools for me. However, the capability of a browser to detect RSS feeds and report these is a great addition. In the image below, you can see a RSS feed displayed in IE7:

 

Phishing

Today I was the phishing protection in IE7 in action for the first time over here on my machine. In the screenshots below you can see how it works. The IE team blogs about it over here. General information on anti-phishing can be found on http://www.microsoft.com/mscorp/safety/technologies/antiphishing/overview.mspx. Technical details on the phishing filter are on MSDN.

 

No Add-ons Mode

Windows has a safe mode since Windows 9x AFAIK. IE7 introduces a similar concept called "No Add-ons Mode", a special mode in which no add-ons are loaded by the browser. It can be launched from the Accessories, System Tools menu or by adding the flag -extoff to the iexplore.exe executable when launching the browser.

 

Protected Mode

Protected Mode (formerly known as "Low Rights IE") is available on Vista only. Basically, it puts Internet Explorer in a sandbox, defending against "elevation of privileges" attacks. Even when IE7 is running in the context of an Administrator account (or another highly privileged account) it can't touch system files or the registry. More information on this feature will become available in the future when Vista Beta 2 with IE7 arrives, which will include this technology. Technical details can be found in the IE7 Beta 1 Technical Overview document mentioned earlier.

 

Interesting links

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Comments

# re: Introducing Internet Explorer 7 Beta 1

Saturday, September 03, 2005 2:18 AM by bart

I have a question. Anyone know about the changes in the user agent string and how it will effect, if I do something weird with my user agent string name like I have here: <a href= http://www.useragent.name/user-agent-name.xml>Useragent xml</a>

# re: Introducing Internet Explorer 7 Beta 1

Thursday, September 22, 2005 8:51 AM by bart

Hrm. I really can't understand why you're not a fan of tabbed browsing.

It's a thing I miss hardly in IE since I started to use Firefox (and I must admit besides of that I'm a Microsoft-Fan).

It just saves SOOOO much space on my desktop ;-)

# re: Introducing Internet Explorer 7 Beta 1

Thursday, September 22, 2005 6:38 PM by bart

Hi Sebastian,

I guess my dislike of tabbed browsing is partially because of my bad habits: CTRL-N, ALT-D, (shortened) url, (CTRL-)ENTER. I just can't adapt myself to press CTRL-T instead. And when I do, I'm tricked by pressing ALT-F4 to close the browser window, instead of CTRL-F4 to close the current tab. And to switch between browser windows, I'm the ultimate ALT-TAB addict. I really can survive without a mouse. Keystrokes, keystrokes, keystrokes, ... so much more productive :d

Beside of that, I have two other remarks:
1. What about taskbar grouping? It works great, also for IE. Currently my counter is on 21 IE windows that are open, and I don't feel bad because of that :-).
2. In Office we shifted to a one window per document/spreadsheet/presentation approach instead of MDI. Why reverting this trend in browsers towards an MDI-like tabbed style? In my opinion, pages on tabs are seldom related to each other (in contrast to, say, the code files in a VS.NET environment), so I feel better having one window per page. Maybe for target=_blank links, tabs are useful, but - again, in my opinion - not for maintaining a collection of unrelated pages.

Just my 1024*1024 kilocents :-)

Bart