Web browser release frenzy!

Well – two anyway. Firefox 2.0 is ready to leap into action (see Techcrunch announcement and this short review on Read/Write Web for some more details).

On the other side of the Windows browser world, Internet Explorer 7 for Windows XP is now available to download and will soon be rolled out in the mandatory Windows updates (although you can apparently switch that off). I haven’t had a chance to look at it in depth, but from what I have read and gleaned from the interweb it seems the IE dev team have fixed some of the rendering problems, ignored some others (in all fairness through business pressures from above rather than any kind of ability problem) and possibly introduced one or two. On the plus side they have finally fixed support for 24bit PNG’s with full alpha channels – so expect to see a lot of drop shadows and interesting image effects creeping onto the web in the next couple of months.

One slightly galling thing about the IE rollout is captured nicely in the title of this post in the IE development teams blog: IE7 Is Coming This Month…Are you Ready? – surely the browser should be ready for the sites, not the other way round? Of course what they mean is that because we have all been hacking the way the previous versions of IE render pages to make them work properly, some of those hacks which address problems which have now been fixed will cause issues. So they are really asking of we have taken time to further branch code (most likely using the IE only proprietary Conditional Comments) to make sure that old versions of IE still see those hacks and worked while the new version doesn’t, and renders using the same code as everyone else. I think they could have worded that better.

There’s a quick review of the user features (but not the rendering or standards issues) over at www.readwriteweb.com/archives/internetexplorer7review.php

Written by , Tuesday 24th October 2006

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