Dwight Watt Georgia Kiwanian Article July 2006

What does Internet Explorer 7 offer?

Version 7 of Internet Explorer is now available. It is still a beta product right now so it still is having bugs worked out and Microsoft knows it has bugs now. However it is available for download from www.microsoft.com. This version is a major update in the Internet Explorer browser and brings in some features others already had and adds other features. You can begin using this beta copy now and when the final version comes out in the early fall easily upgrade. Not all beta software offers this ability.

I have been using Internet Explorer 7 (IE) for several weeks as my primary browser as I write this. I have liked the product overall, however some changes have taken getting use to. Even some of the new ones will challenge your thinking or your automatic IE reactions.

The interface has changed drastically. For a person with little or no experience with a browser it is probably an easier interface. For the rest of us, it means changing your thinking. Gone are the menus we have gotten so use to and instead there is a limited set of buttons that have changed looks and some are new. You can put the menus back by choosing TOOLS, TOOLBAR, Classic Menu. The real estate for showing the web page appears to be larger so the web page is easier to view.

IE 7 now uses Tabs. This means you no longer need multiple copies of IE open when viewing several web pages at a time. For instance if I have my webmail account and a web page I am looking at open, in the past I had two copies of IE running and had to go to the task bar to click back and forth. Now they should both open in the same copy of IE and show as tabs across the top of the pages. Actually they look like the top of file folders and show the name of the page there. Beyond the last tab is a small tab that will allow you to open another tab. However this works different than opening a new page in the older versions. In the old versions it opened another copy of same page. This version opens a message that this is a new tab and has an option to instead always show your default home page. There is an X on each tab that allows you to close that tab. There is not an x in upper right corner to close a tab, which is a short coming and frustration to me as Word and others do this. Clicking on a link to a new page that code was written to open in new window will actually result in a new copy of IE opening. I suspect that there is a new attribute web page coders like me will need to use to get it to open in a new tab instead.

The waving Windows logo or something else (some organizations modified IE to use their logo instead) moving in the upper right corner to say page is loading is gone. At the bottom still is name of page loading and message it is downloading. On the tab the logo there (by default a new version of the e) will be in motion when the page is loading.

The back and forward buttons are still arrows but only one pull down menu to see what is past or in front. Favorites are a little different to find as it is a yellow star. To add a favorite is a yellow plus sign (+). Favorites otherwise are still basically same.

If you accidentally click corner X meaning to close a TAB, you will get warning asking did you mean all tabs or just one tab.

The home button now has a pull down menu also to easily change home. There is a button for RSS feeds also. IE also checks the pages for what appears to be phishing attempts and I see in lower right where it says it is checking, but have not noticed yet it show anything. This could be a good feature to warn that a link is misleading on where it links to. There is still the lock in the lower right to show if a secure web page and now shows that on SSL and TLS web pages (types of secure protocols for pages). Previously the locked lock only showed for SSL pages. TLS is newer and supposed to be securer.

The Print button follows the home (a house) and the RSS Feeds (orange) buttons. I have a hard time recognizing it as a print button but Print has some neat new enhancements. If you hit the Print button it will automatically resize the material so you do not lose stuff off the right side of paper. If you have ever printed many web pages you have experienced this phenomenon This feature alone may be reason enough to go to version 7. If you press Print it does not just go to default printer, but gives the Windows print dialog box instead.

When you look in the address bar you will now find that it uses images associated with pages. I added a feature to the Georgia Kiwanis web page a year ago to show logo when showing name in Favorites and now that works in the history on the address bar and when page is pulled up in address bar and also shows on the tabs. Check out the Georgia Kiwanis web page (www.gakiwanis.org) to see this in action.

The TOOLS, INTERNET OPTIONS, General tab is much improved with more options and clearer on what you can do there.

Over all Internet Explorer 7 looks great. I am enjoying using it and the tabs are helpful, but I am use to multiple pages so this stumps me occasionally. It is frustrating where links may open new pages instead of in a new tab but the web pages code will need to be updated. I would encourage you to try it. If not on your machine, you can only have one version of IE installed at a time so you might want to find a machine in a store or a friend who had already started using IE7 to play with initially.