Full release of IE7 out this week
21 October 2006
I have been using IE7 Beta 2 and RC1 as my production browser for three months now so I am now used to the very different layout of the user interface. New users of IE7 first mention the tabbed browsing, but with the MSN/Windows Live search toolbar loaded in IE6 we have had tabs and quicktabs for 18 months. Only the shortcut keys have changed in IE7 plus the ability to close each tab in one click.
For me the built in RSS reader and the clean way RSS feeds are rendered are a big plus eliminating the need for this type of plugin. I like the subtle pared down user interface even though some of the familiar buttons and menus are in very unfamiliar positions. The integration of favourites, feeds and history with search into a common popup on the left is a big improvement, as is the Research pane. The builtin, customisable search box is essential and just the same as the search toolbar provided in IE6.
Page rendering speed has increased through Beta 2, RC1 and the final release which is welcome. From the little experience I have had with Firefox there is no difference. We are promised excellent web standards compliance in IE7 but we will have to wait to see this in action.
For a mere 14 MB download the install of the full release IE7 is somewhat painful. It insists on uninstalling the previous browser first with a restart and then a long install with another restart. Installing the betas was much less painful.
Overall, IE7 is a significant improvement on IE6, but is not a great advance on Firefox or the other browsers.