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Fragmented Development

IE7: Same Old Story

I've been exploring the way Internet Explorer 7 handles things, and I'm overwhelmingly disappointed. IE7 suffers from the same "Microsoftitis" as most Microsoft products - which means that it behaves the way Microsoft believes it should, and not the way the rest of the world does.

The fact that Microsof has a monopoly (not a near monopoly, not a partial monopoly, a full-blown illegal monopoly) means that they set the de facto standard with whatever they do. This is infuriating as a web developer, when the rest of the world has already dictated how things must be done.

With IE7, the standards set forth by the W3C just doesn't seem to cut it. Granted, they're getting slightly better, but with the amount of time they had been working at it, they should have fixed many more of the problems they have. IE 3, 4, and 5 were released within a year of each other. Each version was leaps and bounds above the other. IE 6 was released three years after IE 5, and was a huge improvement over IE 5.

IE 6 was released in 2001, and IE 7 was released in November of 2006. Nearly five years in-between. I count three major improvements so far: Shiny new interface with tabs, some CSS bugs fixed, and the Zoom feature.

The IE rendering is nearly the same as IE6, with the same quirks that make it challenging to design a standardized page that looks good in IE. In fact, the lack of some CSS bugs remove the ability to use CSS hacks, so in that case designers and developers are basically back to square one.

The introduction of tabs in IE7... well... welcome to the party, guys.

As for the zoom feature... I was genuinely impressed by IE7's zoom. It's generally a great idea, especially for those who have low vision. Mind you, Opera's had this forever, but that's not the point. At least Microsoft's trying.

Then I zoomed in on one of my layouts, and found a terrible terrible bug that actually split words in two and sent them to opposite sides of the screen. While somewhat disappointing, I still haven't given up on it. It needs some work, but it's not a bad step.

So, if the trend of IE releases hold, and Microsoft gives up it's "my way or the highway" policy, we may just have a decent standardized browser to develop for when 2014 rolls around.

Tags: browsers

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