It really wasn’t too difficult at all to be honest. Any bittorrent site worth it’s salt should have IE7 listed by now… and if I had a second PC to run as a test rig I would probably be rocking out Vista by now too…
Anyway here is IE7 beta 1:
Click it to see some nice little annotations…
The most notable change is what MS call a ‘streamlining’ of the User Interface. I don’t really know why they’ve bothered to be honest, it doesn’t improve anything, and it will probably just confuse most of their stock user base. It does look cleaner, and it frees up more screen real estate, but I’m not convinced. I mean, there isn’t a refresh button!
There doesn’t seem to be any major modifications to the rendering engine (hopefully that’s a yet). They weren’t kidding when they said they had fixed the two bugs, unfortunately that is all they have done. There’s no support, as far as I can tell so far, for any of the funkier CSS stuff like attribute selectors.
However, true to their word alpha transparent PNG’s do work in IE7 – as this recent example by Colly shows very nicely:
Another more subtle thing they have sorted out is printing out pages into hard copies. For years printing out useful information has been a frustrating experience for most with IE. Yes you can set up alternate stylesheets, but how many sites actually have bothered? Anyway IE7 seems to have gone some way to address the problems of the past:
As you can see it’s automatically disregarded all of the CSS and background images without any user input from me at all. Quite nice, although tabled sites still look pretty bad.
The last thing of note is the RSS rendering. MS seem to have big big plans for RSS in the future, with it being fully intergrated into Vista as well. At the moment this beta 1 version of IE7 only makes a feed looks pretty (which it is). But that’s all it does, it will be interesting to see how it handles discovery and reading in the next release.
So overall there isn’t an awful lot to get excited about.
Which isn’t entirely unexpected as this is beta 1 after all. There doesn’t seem to be any backward steps, apart from maybe the learning curve with the new UI layout and existing sites I’ve checked so far render fine. We’ll just have to wait for beta 2 to wow us with all the embraced standards they keep mentioning…