Browser

Still getting used to IE 7? Better learn quick, before Microsoft releases IE 8


It wasn't that long ago that I downloaded and installed the newest version of Internet Explorer, IE 7. It took a little while for me to adjust to the changes, because once you're used to something, it's difficult training yourself to look in different places for the tools that you need. Needless to say, I was a little shocked this morning when I ran across a news story that discussed Microsoft's plans for IE 8, which is slated to be released in the next two years. Check out the story from CNET Networks' News.com: "Microsoft hints at general plan for IE 8."

IE architect Chris Wilson talked about the development priorities for IE 8 at Microsoft's Mix07 conference:

"Specifically, he said Microsoft will invest more in layout and adhering to the Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) 2.1 specifications. He also said Microsoft wants to make its browser object model more interoperable 'to make it easier to work with other browsers and allow more flexible programming patterns.' In addition, he said the Ajax Web programming style needs more client-side application programming interfaces to allow developers to create more powerful applications."

Here are a few other news sources that cover information about IE 8:

For network admins, I'm sure eyes are rolling at this news. For end users, new browsers are initially a mere inconvenience due to the learning curve. For the IT pros who have to help the end users, new browsers are a nightmare. Of course, TechRepublic sees the release of IE 8 as an opportunity to create and publish more content -- tutorials, keyboard shortcuts, and image galleries -- to make life easier for everyone using the new browser.

Will you be ready in the next two years to embrace IE 8, or do you think you'll still be working out the kinks in IE 7? If you've sworn off IE entirely, which browser do you prefer? Join the discussion.

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About

Sonja Thompson has worked for TechRepublic since October of 1999. She is currently a Senior Editor and the host of the Smartphones and Tablets blogs.

47 comments
normhaga
normhaga

Yesterday, I attempted to access the admin account on my web hosts SQL data base to start setting up a forum. I would get a blank page and not a 404 error. Since this had occurred over several days, I called my host. I was lucky and was assigned a guy that had run into this problem before. I was asked what browser I used. I told him Firefox. He said that he had seen this problem with FF before and that I should use IE. I did and I could access the admin page. Whats the story to this wordiness? I prefer FF, but I cant use it in an important function. Will IE 8 be like this? I still remember all the problems I had accessing my bank account and other accounts when I switched to IE 7. Much of the time newer is not better; but let us make that decision when the new browser comes out.

Oktet
Oktet

I was just wondering if the learning curve will be high or low, or will it be like Vista with a bunch of UAC's just to protect the user.

Smart_Neuron
Smart_Neuron

Unreal! Microsoft IE 7 is STILL only a Beta. I will not install it on any of my XP based machines. Usability and Customization are big issues and "Security" is not any giant leap forward. The IE 7 design concept is flawed in it's execution. As a simple example, try customizing it to your liking - move toolbars, organize favorites, etc. IE 7 has many bugs in it, especially with other 3rd party software and by this time should have been a mature product. Unfortunately, this beast is hard-coded into Vista (what else?) but there are some no-cost alternatives with their own +/-. So Microsoft wants to produce IE8? Nuts! Refine IE7 first - way overdue. Typical Microsoft! :0(

bradgalliford
bradgalliford

Beta does not mean the same thing nowadays as it did a few years ago.. A company will slap a beta sticker on so that they do not have to be accountable for the bugs.. Client: "It does not work! It just crashes all the time!!! FIX IT PLEASE!!!" Microsoft: "Well, Mam, its in beta, so its going to have some bugs, sorry" Sooo If it is still in "beta", in the old sense of the word, why the hell is it integrated in a production OS?

Smart_Neuron
Smart_Neuron

Because Microsoft needed something "new" to include in Vista. IE 7 was just the thing! Now, take a few steps back and tell me that Vista itself was desgined properly and not pushed out the door - before it was ready.

Oktet
Oktet

for FF,thanks.

alle2003
alle2003

Ever since early Netscape, I have used IE and Netscape browsers intermitantly without any real problems. I still use Netscape 7.2 for my web mail. I also use Netscape 8 browser, which works fine for me. I switch back an forth between which browser is the default. Whenever I have had a problem I find a solution. I downloaded the early IE7 browser and installed it again when the later IE7 came out later. Mostly I still use IE7 as my default browser but when I come across any web link in e-mail I just click no to changing to use Netscape as the defalt. I also use Window Live Messenger and hotmai for some e-mail that I don't want mixed with my other e-mail. It all works fine for me. I have never used Fire Fox but assume it will work fine for me also.

philchil
philchil

I always love the "open source" remarks. Anyone of you ever work at Microsoft? if open source had an heirarchy, then open source would suck worse than microsoft! I see apple releasing 25 patches at a time and not a peep out of you!! It's all in the person using the software in the end, after all. You can lock down ie7 with a little work, just like you can lock down xp, with a little work and research.

grax
grax

Some of the responses that you've seen here show that. Administrators who won't install I.E.7 because it's less secure than 6? I love them. Beats the hell out of getting a proper job. I installed I.E.7 at home because it resolved some of the flaws in the earlier version. However, I don't use it and I don't have a problem with sites that fail to work with FF2 or Opera. I just don't go there a second time but I do tell them that their sites are defective. And before anyone reminds me, I do know about the Firefox add-on: https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/1419 My real problem has been trying to climb the validation hurdles that Microsoft erects when the innocent try to download upgrades. It's bad enough in English and I can manage it in most W.European languages. I gave up with an XP machine in Suomi(Finnish). If Microsoft are so exercised about protecting their work from the unscrupulous and the innocent, I think I'll let them keep it. I.E.8? No thank you.

Smart_Neuron
Smart_Neuron

Are you going to find a few thousand people (well maybe IT people!) banging on the doors of Microsoft? Forget it - at least with open source there is a community with an "open" ear, one which will embrace change.

bradgalliford
bradgalliford

But you dont need to have vista to use IE7.. So I dont think that is the reason.. ;) I dont know what they where thinking.. How can a company make money when they put out such shatty products? (with exclusion of a FEW)

Pringles86
Pringles86

Vista is still beta too, you just have to pay to be a beta tester. HAHAHA

TechExec2
TechExec2

. [b][i]"..."Beta" means that these Windows Live services are ready to use, but haven't been officially released to the public yet. They're all free, so give them a test drive and let us know what you think..."[/i][/b] Windows Live Betas (1) At least Google doesn't redefine what the word "beta" means in order to induce people to unwittingly become beta testers. Does Microsoft EVER tell the truth? Another one: We're not attacking or threatening anyone, but you really had better sign a patent agreement with us. WTF?! ---------------------- (1) Windows Live Betas http://get.live.com/betas/home

apotheon
apotheon

At least Google marks its betas as betas and doesn't charge for their use.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

Lots of companies do it. None of the Google web apps are out of beta.

bradgalliford
bradgalliford

Windows XP with SP2 is THE best windows os EVER. Too bad they are trying to get her younger better looking (and sluttier) sister married off to the public... I was happy with XP..

bradgalliford
bradgalliford

OH!!! Silly me, I thought that for the last 2 years Microsoft has had it in beta.. I guess they Just like the sound of the word.. Beta... ooo pretty.. [/sarcasm]

Locrian_Lyric
Locrian_Lyric

They've been using the market as their beta testers for well over a decade and a half now

bradgalliford
bradgalliford

IE is dead. I like how quickly they came out with IE7 to combat other browsers and make it look like vista. Microsoft, please just spend all your time getting your new OS ready for when Vista pulls a "Me". XP is a great OS, IE6 was an "ok" browser. Instead of redesigning the GUI for IE, spend time fixing its holes, more and more people are going to leave IE for other browsers if the security holes are not fixed, who cares how it looks if its a wide open door.

Sonja Thompson
Sonja Thompson

Will you be ready in the next two years to embrace IE 8, or do you think you'll still be working out the kinks in IE 7? If you've sworn off IE entirely, which browser do you prefer?

johja
johja

I use both Firefox and IE7, but I mostly use Firefox. However, whenever I develop something, I test at least in Firefox (Windows & Mac), IE7 (Windows), and Safari (just the Mac version). There are some nice tricks you can do in IE, but I prefer the standards compliance of Firefox. However, IE8 is being touted as a standards-compliant browser. See http://channel9.msdn.com/showpost.aspx?postid=367207

leeroberthill
leeroberthill

I love the M$ bashers.. They go on about security within Microsoft products but cant actually state what they are (and before you just quote a load of patch numbers, both FF and Opera have "NEVER" had security patches avaliable have they ?!?!?).. We had exactly the same when IE6 came out, and of course it will all re-occur when IE8 is released. If you want to use FF2 or Opera (and for all you FF2 lovers out there, Opera has CONSISTENTLY won FF2 in both speed and security tests), then thats fine.. But when asked a simple question, please dont go on some mad dribbling rant about how Microsoft is the devil incarnate and all its software is crap, its just not true anymore !

jdclyde
jdclyde

When did the crap stop and the non-crap start? Which are the crap products by MS that we should not be using? Thanks in advance. jd

The Scummy One
The Scummy One

anything with the MS logo :^0 oh, and the non crap would be.... hmmmm.... nope even the 360 sucks, and even the support for that pos sucks

apotheon
apotheon

The availability of "security patches" does not make something unsecured. Every sufficiently complex piece of software (and all three of the browsers you mentioned are sufficiently complex) will have security-related bugs. Those bugs will be found. What makes a difference between them in the realm of security is: 1. Who finds the bugs first -- the "good guys" or the "bad guys"? 2. How quickly are these vulnerabilities fixed? 3. How secure is the underlying design, in terms of preventing people who can gain unauthorized access to the software from escalating privileges and affecting other software on the system? Considering IE7 has security vulnerabilities that have been around since at least IE5, if not sooner, and considering that a far greater percentage of its vulnerabilities are discovered by malicious security crackers than those of Firefox and Opera, my money for the moment is on anything but IE in terms of security. Add to that the OS-integrated design of IE, the fact that it supports ActiveX (a heinous, gaping security hole that allows easy privilege escalation across the whole system), and similar architectural problems with the software, and you've got a web browser that nobody should be using to connect to the World Wide Web except for security researchers. "[i]But when asked a simple question, please dont go on some mad dribbling rant about how Microsoft is the devil incarnate and all its software is crap, its just not true anymore ![/i]" Sure it is. A few press releases about how Microsoft is so focused on security, and a few [url=http://blogs.techrepublic.com.com/security/?p=376][b]bolted-on security features[b][/url], don't add up to real security.

Kiltie
Kiltie

M$ does not let me, it keeps trying to install WGA first Which I will not touch with a barge pole. Firefox2 looks lke it beats IE hands down anyway

Tig2
Tig2

So over anything that requires WGA. Oddly enough, my systems run just fine without it. And when they don't? Linux looks really good. P.S. "Killed" as much IE as I could. Firefox works fine.

godin.mary
godin.mary

I think they should get the kinks out of IE7 first, a lot people do not like 7 so why would they use IE 8. Firefox is the browser for me. if they don't get the kinks out of IE7 before IE 8 it is just like make a cement walk way without the water.

boomchuck1
boomchuck1

I've been using it since they first started pushing it out, both on my office pc and home pc. No problems for me. I do have a couple folks at the office that had problems with some custom web apps that didn't want to run under 7, but we just back rev'd them to 6. I do find it annoying that you can't rearrange buttons on the tool bar, but having tabbed browsing (yeah, I know FF has had this for about 20 years) is a pretty slick trade off.

rob_annable
rob_annable

I think if its going to be as long as everyone thinks before IE8's release I think most people will be ready, I think we need to expect bugs and kinks in the first release of anything from Microsoft. Having said that I don't think firefox is any huge improvement over it despite what everyone says.. I am happy with IE7.( So far!)

Steffi28
Steffi28

I done what a lot of people decided to do and moved to firefox, I of course got IE7 just to see what it was like, but I found the moving over from IE6 to FF2, alot easier than from IE6 to IE7. Meaning basically, FF2 is a hell of a lot easier to use than IE7. Also after downloading the stumble upon addon there is no way I can go back to IE!!

nboamah101861720
nboamah101861720

IE7 is great!! best browser out there!! Or does anyone know of any better browser??

eikelein
eikelein

... FF rules undisputed. Say, how many different browsers have you personally used and for how long? ;;-)

eikelein
eikelein

For "casual" web browsing at home my wife and I use FF only. There hasn't been a site yet that forced us to use IE. But I know that there are web sites that use IE specific functionality. Some examples are Pampered Chef, Mary Kay and Market America. And before you scream at me: I know, the basic web site is okay in FF. When one of their "consultants" needs to use the internal ordering functions is when the trouble begins. We know, my wife was a consultant... That was the private part. I strongly urge *all* my customers to exclusively use FF unless they run into a web site that - see above. Has happened only two or three times in four years (which happens to relate to over 1000 customers). For Windows Update they have to have IE anyway and since most of my customers describe themselves as "computer illiterate" I tell them to allow IE7 to download and install. Should that cause any problems with WinUpdate, heck, it's more (paid) work for me and M$ gives FREE support for WionUpdate problems. Only my $0.02 worth and personal opinions and experiences.

Oktet
Oktet

for updates from M$. Occasionally, I enjoy watching my .swf video tutorials via IE7, not a bad browser at all; however, I prefer Firefox, tried Safari- its okay, but I still prefer Firefox. And it is really not that bad to learn a little IE7, just for fun.

tlccomputers
tlccomputers

For those websites that lose functionality, there is an extension available for Firefox that allows the opening of specified web pages in an IE tab within Firefox. Check out available Firefox extensions. There are a number of very useful tools.

name holdout
name holdout

Where I work we do not install IE7 because some of our IE apps and some apps from our vendors do not play well with IE7. On my home computer I used IE7 until I tried changing my home page to another page and IE7 refused. I tried every security item in IE and nothing would let me change it so I nuked my computer and am with IE6.

picmajik
picmajik

Our network admins still won't let anyone upgrade to IE7 here due to security reasons. Maybe by the time 8 is released we might have upgraded to 7 but if 6 still works, we have no reason to "upgrade" to a major headache. I run XP SP2 at home and use Firefox (also not allowed at work) with few issues and I am much happier with its performance.

bill_weimer
bill_weimer

More than likely, you are an MS shop and your web apps won't work in IE7 or FF.

Pringles86
Pringles86

You are stuck with IE 6 for security reasons? Both FF and IE7 are MORE secure than IE 6. Not sure if your network admins fully know what they are talking about.

Locrian_Lyric
Locrian_Lyric

it pushed its way onto my wife's computer and thoroughly trashed several programs. It was about a week before I got it chugging along like a poorly maintained Dodge Dart! I'm going with firefox.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

I used to own a Dart! Well, a Valiant, but it's the same difference. I loaded IE7, but abandoned it after a couple of hours when I couldn't arrange the buttons to my liking. Too many of them were fixed in locations I found inconvenient. The arrangement may be easier to learn than IE6 if you've never used a browser before (debatable), but how many IE7 users fall into that category? Typical MS - get everyone use to doing things a certain way, then rearrange again.

The Scummy One
The Scummy One

I used to have a dart, it ran pretty well. I installed Vista and it had IE7 last year, couldnt get used to it. Then I stopped with Vista. But, I finally broke down last month and installed it on XP. Yeah, bad choice... Now I am using it on Vista (again, fresh install). Wow, what a POS both are. I remember the frustrations with them before, now though, I keep thinking a new job may be in order.

Smart_Neuron
Smart_Neuron

IE 7 is nothing but trouble.

jhilgeman2
jhilgeman2

Back in IE6 days, I switched to Firefox, and I still use Firefox occasionally. However, there are some sites out there that are just built incorrectly or depend on certain ActiveX controls that just will not run within Firefox, so I had to occasionally use IE6. With IE7, I'm actually using it more than Firefox now. Not only does it fix many of the DHTML-related bugs in IE6 (which is great for our company intranet - gets rid of a lot of nasty workaround code since we can regulate browsers), but it has the tabbed interface, which is pretty nice. It took a little while to get used to, but it's getting to be my standard browser now. I'm an avid open-source guy, but I'm not about to write off any application JUST because of who makes it or because of past problems. I try to keep an open mind about these things.

apotheon
apotheon

My preference, at the moment, is for Firefox. Browsers in general are a bad lot. They all suck in some way. Even the stable, secure, standards compliant text-based browsers with no resource footprint to speak of suck, if only because of the limitations in functionality under which they suffer. Firefox sucks, too, but it's the least bad of the lot for my needs. IE7 was supposed to be the fix for all the compatibility nightmares of previous IE versions that caused web developers to lose sleep and hair over trying to get standards compliant code to work in IE. It succeeded at fixing some of the standards compliance problems at the cost of introducing some new problems -- problems that, we hope, are bugs rather than intrinsic standards compliance brokenness. Now Microsoft is talking about extending and modifying Ajax in IE8 the same way it once extended and modified HTML, CSS, and Javascript in IE. Just when we thought maybe Microsoft was finally coming around on the issue of standards compliant web design support, it's backsliding. I can only assume that Microsoft intends to integrate Silverlight support as well, once again trying to drive competitors out of the market by incorporating nonstandard proprietary presentation technologies. Can another antitrust case be far behind?

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