Tuesday, January 31, 2006
The long awaited Internet Explorer 7.0 beta preview was released to the public on January 31.
Large amounts of the architecture, including the security framework, have been completely overhauled. Partly as a result of these security enhancements, the browser will be a stand-alone application, rather than integrated with the Windows shell.
The final Beta 2 is scheduled by Microsoft to be released in April, with the full version scheduled for the Summer of 2006.
According to Microsoft's announcement, the beta will only run on Windows XP Service Pack 2 systems, but the final release version is intended to be able to run on Windows Vista, Windows XP Professional x64 Edition, and Windows Server 2003 as well.
=== New features ===
Version 7 includes a number of new features.
Improved rendering engine - Internet Explorer's rendering engine, codenamed Trident has been completely rewritten to compete with the faster rendering engines of Opera and Firefox.
Tabbed Browsing - users can now have several web pages in the same window via "tabs".
Quick Tabs - enables users to view thumbnail images of all open tabs in one view.
Tab Groups - enables users to organize multiple tabs in the same category as a single Tab Group that can be saved as a Favorite and the user can open all the sites in the Tab Group with a single click on the arrow to the right of the folder.
Page zoom - enables users to increase or decrease the page size for easier viewing.
RSS Support - Version 7.0 now supports RSS, which allows users to gather "news feeds" from web sites that have RSS support. Microsoft implements RSS in a shared library, known as a DLL, so that third party developers can develop their own RSS-enabled applications.
Alpha transparency - Version 7.0 now has native support for PNG alpha transparency. This allows certain image (PNGs) to have opaque areas that can blend in with other images and text.
OpenSearch Extensions - Users of version 7.0 can now use search engines by typing in search terms directly from the browser's toolbar.
Administration improvements - All previous and new features are manageable via Group Policy, including the Phishing Filter and all browser add-ons.
Improved CSS support - Version 7.0 has improved CSS support, which means Internet Explorer will now render pages closer to the method defined by the W3C, a standards body for World Wide Web technologies. This means web page designers and developers will have an easier time designing web sites and applications to look the same on all web browsers.
Improved AJAX functionality - Applications that use a web development technique called AJAX to make interactive web applications will run more efficiently because Microsoft has included support for its main component, the XMLHttpRequest Object, into the browser. Previous versions of Internet Explorer required a helper application, called an ActiveX Object to implement this functionality (a good example of an AJAX application is Google's popular Google Maps application.
Enhanced security - Microsoft has attempted to fix a number of security issues with how Internet Explorer behaves. This includes:
Protected Mode - In Protected Mode, Internet Explorer 7 in Windows Vista is completely unable to modify user or system files and settings.
Internet Explorer 7.0 is a stand-alone application, rather than integrated with the Windows shell like version 6.0. This means that you can no longer open a folder, type in a URL and get a web page.
URL Handling Protections.
Protection Against Cross-Domain Scripting Attacks.
Anti-Phishing and Anti-Spoofing filters.
Security Status Bar - color-coded visual and icons cues to the safety and trustworthiness of a Web site.
=== Early Release ===
The current release is intended for compatibility testing by developers and IT professionals, and is not aimed at the general public.
== Sources ==
"Microsoft IE home" — Microsoft.com, 1 February 2006
"Microsoft launches IE7 public beta trial" — Pocket-lint, date
"Microsoft releases revamped Internet Explorer" — The Times, date
== External links ==
Microsoft IE7 Download page
CPC View ax - TIFF viewer