Bad Buggy Beta 3 of Internet Explorer 7

, posted: 12-Aug-2006 11:32

IE7The third beta of Internet Explorer 7 has been getting up my nose a lot lately. It is supposed to be the almost-ready version of IE7, as the browser was declared feature-complete after Beta 2 and only bug fixes and interface tweaks would make it into Beta 3.

To be fair to Microsoft, there are things that I like in IE7, like the RSS support, the way the browser tabs work and are organised, the printing features and the image zooming - and yes, IE7 is much better than IE6 which nobody should use anymore.

The release version of IE7 will arrive soon via Windows Update for most users. Because it replaces IE6 in the base operating system, I would say go ahead with the update. You can't excise IE from the operating system easily, so you'll want a secure version in there (and I hope IE7 will be better in that respect than IE6).

If you want to have a good browser experience on Windows though, get Firefox or Opera 9 instead.

Why? Well, for starters, when I was talking to Microsoft's Tony Chor about IE7 here in Auckland, he said that apart from the security drive, standards compliance was a big item.

However, it looks like Microsoft is just paying lip-service to standards compliance in IE7. Compared to Opera 9 and Firefox 1.5/2.0, IE7 rates very poorly. XHTML 1.0/1.1 support is pretty much non-existent, and CSS 2.1 support isn't heaps better.

The poor CSS support is particularly galling, because I've been trying to spruce up the blog that way with Su Yin Khoo's help, and run into issues constantly where FF, Opera 9 and Safari (which isn't great, incidentally) display The Techsploder blog just fine. IE7 however refuses to cooperate. It won't display the quote marks in the blockquotes, and the positioning of some layout elements goes skewhiff.

I've put in Dean Edwards' IE7 Javascript library in the hope that it will sort out some of the most egregious issues. It's available here but I'd rather have better standards support in IE7. Most of the blog displays fine in IE7 now from what I can tell... a DOCTYPE declaration for the blogs should make things even better.

CSS apart, I'm also finding that IE7 Beta 3 stops working if you start up too many browser window instances. I haven't been able to pinpoint exactly how this happens, but when it does, IE7 doesn't display any websites. If you run the Diagnose Connection Problems... tool, you'll see that there is no HTTP/HTTPS connectivity. FTP works however. The DCP tool is pretty useless really, because clearly I have full network connectivity, but IE7 has fallen over somehow. This problem rights itself if you close all IE7 windows and don't fire it up for a while.

Second, IE7 Beta 3 can hang when you try to exit it. It usually happens if you have multiple instances open with multiple browser tabs - yes, that happens. IE7 then refuses to exit, and instead pops up the Close Tab confirmation dialog each time you try to close the browser. The only way to kill it is with Task Manager.

Finally, the ads... it looks the advertising networks are still refusing to recognise IE7, so instead of the expected ads, you get PSA ones instead. Gah.

Other related posts:
Fighting with Windows 8
The Windows Phone 7.5 bouncing tiles bug
Windows Live Essentials betas seem good, but oh so flaky

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