It looks like Microsoft has released the first beta of Internet Explorer 7…but only to MSDN subscribers. Oh, and it only runs on Windows XP Service Pack 2. As usual, seems like some people have found a way around the MSDN subscription issue.

Here’s some general comments I’ve seen throughout the blogosphere:

  • Tabs – the tabs work fairly well and are pretty fast. There is a blank tab to the right that you can click to add a new tab.
  • PNG supportPNG transparency works natively, but may not work properly if you’re applying a PNG transparency fix for older browser versions.
  • Syndication – there’s a built-in syndication reader that can read CDF and RSS. In general, the browser autodetects the presence of site syndication and displays an icon in the toolbar that brings you to the feed.
  • User Interface – Microsoft took an interesting approach to the IE 7 interface. The very top bar has back and forward buttons, the address bar, a button that toggles between refresh, stop, and go, and a search area. Inside each tab is a menu and the home, favorites, history, and print buttons. The window itself looks fairly clean, but I bet the button locations take a little getting used to. There are also reports that this isn’t the standard browser setup and it can be changed.
  • CSS – the overwhelming opinion is that there aren’t enough improvements as of yet. Stuff still breaks, developers aren’t happy.

The announcement heard round the world describes the process, and as usual, there are a bunch of unhappy commenters about the whole experience. As best I can tell, no one has really mentioned any JavaScript changes so far.

Disclaimer: Any viewpoints and opinions expressed in this article are those of Nicholas C. Zakas and do not, in any way, reflect those of my employer, my colleagues, Wrox Publishing, O'Reilly Publishing, or anyone else. I speak only for myself, not for them.

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