New Internet Explorer
It is officially announced now that MS will come out with IE7, to appear in beta form this fall. Thanks, Richard Tallent, for pointing this out to me first. You can read a little more about it here, on the IE weblog.
Here are my thoughts.
1. I'm glad it is happening, but it is unfortunate that it had to take a competitor (Firefox, of course!) to get them to do this. They don't SAY that Firefox is the reason. But, come on. You know it is.
2. Browser wars! Expect part 2, this time. Okay, the rules of the game should be as follows. The participants should fight primarily around three things. First, who will be the best at implementing correctly the w3c standards? That's the biggest thing, by far. If they don't both adhere to the standards, we'll be back in the day when you have to support two very different ways of building a site, or you'll have to settle with the lowest common denominator. Neither is good for the web developer, or the web user. And do as little browser specific stuff. The more you do, the more people will want to use them. And the more they do, the more they'll be perpetuating a less-usable web. Yes, I know, it's a decent business decision to do browser-specific stuff. But it's a bad community decision. Second, who will be the most secure? This is obviously an important one, and MS knows that. Security has been the big critique of IE that has driven so many to FF. Third, usability and features. One of FF's hits has been tabbed browsing. What else can the two come up with that will rock?
3. I love competition. If everyone follows the rules above, or at least closely follow the rules, this will be very good for the web. Yay!
4. Right now they are only planning on shipping for XP SP2 and later. Though it would be neat if it went further back, this isn't a terribly bad idea in my mind. It is probably a smart business decision in that it might encourage people to buy upgrades. And if security is going to be one of your big pushes with this, if you run it on pre-XPSP2 machines, you run the risk of IE7 getting a more tarnished reputation. With the extra security measures in XPSP2, you probably have a little less to worry about when developing the browser. Or to say it another way, running it on XPSP2 will probably be safer than running it on anything else. So tons of Win 2000 users may complain because they're still getting spyware, when they might not if they're running XPSP2. Of course, it also doesn't bother me because that's what I'm running :)