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Internet Explorer 7 Beta!

Yeah! The public Beta is finally here! I have only just installed it, but all looks good so far. I have viewed most of the recent sites I have designed and they all work fine, just a few minor glitches here and there. IE7 seems to handle some instances of padding and or margins differently from IE6. I will have a closer look at that and report back later. I am just very relieved that there is no major breakage in any of my sites.

Rumor has it that IE7 will support transparent PNGs, a quick test reveals that this is indeed the case, Yeah again! Wow, this is going to be cool. Once IE7 has a reasonable acceptance percentage you can expect to see HEAVY us of this in web design! If IE7 has better support for current CSS, this too will have a huge impact on the way sites look. Designers will finally be able to unleash the coolest CSS effects that have been left on the self because of dumb old IE6 and its very poor support for CSS.

One other CSS effect has definitely changed and acts much more like Firefox. That is the handling of background and the pseudo anchor classes. In IE 6 and earlier, I was able to set a background color that would spill over the edges of a linked image and change the color based on the pseudo class. The effect would look like there was a colored border around the linked image and it would change color when moused over. No longer. Just like Firefox. the background color now collapses to be just an underline below the image. I actually quite liked the effect in IE6, but had stopped using it as it did not work with Firefox, still, I am actually sorry to see this change in a way. But it is for the best, better to have all the browsers render CSS that same.

So this is what IE7 Beta looks like:

Though this is with XP in ‘Classic’ skin, so it probably looks better with the default XP skin (if you like that PlaySchool look) and it will no doubt look a lot better in its final release on Vista.

As for how good the new browser is, well, it will take some time living with it. Will it draw me away from Firefox? Too early to tell. And let us keep in mind that this is only the Beta release, so I will not be making any final decisions based solely on this. I do hope they tweak the look some, it looks a bit unrefined, but again, just a Beta. Currently the tab bar (Yeah, finally tabs!) is always on. Hopefully this too will change before final release. It would be silly to have gone through the trouble of streamlining all the menus and icons to give up so much space to an empty tab bar.