Apr 29, 2006


[Update below]

I downloaded the new beta version of internet explorer today. I have a couple of friends who work on the team. It's a hell of a lot nicer than it used to be. They've done a nice job. Among the improvements are,

  • It's snappy. It definitely faster than Firefox and it seems faster than the old IE as well.
  • It seems more solid. Not sure how to describe that. IE6 seemed to hang while loading a page and lose and regain focus in some completely random way. So far I'm not getting any of that.
  • Full Screen mode is nice too. Not sure if I'll ever use it but its the sort of thing that makes me happy knowing it's there.
  • The multi-tab preview (Quick Tabs) is a great addition. The kind of feature I think IE needs if it's going to bring back Firefox users.
  • The new layout takes some getting used to, but I think at the end of the day it's a better and more efficient layout.
  • The ability to use any search engine you want is great. Promoting MSN search is not a battle IE should be fighting.
  • The ability to use Hello is a nice agnostic gesture as well.
  • The RSS feed capabilities are nice as well although I use Bloglines so I wouldn't use this.
I use Firefox right now and I'm not sure I would switch back based on what I've seen. There's a couple of things that really improve my productivity in Firefox so I thought I'd leave that list here too.

  • First a bug - If you have the favorites or history panel open and you go full screen the web page is behind the panel.
  • The web page search capability in Firefox (Find) is well executed. Probably my most liked feature in Firefox. It searches on the fly as you type and it does it without a popup box. It doesn't look like Find has changed in IE7 compared to IE6. That's got to be fixed.
  • The Zoom feature is nice in IE7. There's a nice add-on for Firefox that allows you to right click on a picture and zoom just the picture. This comes in very handy as well. And not just for porn either!
  • The layout and structure of Firefox is more appealing to me as well. The icons in IE7 seem to float on the top whereas Firefox has things grouped in a tighter fashion and uses some delineating graphical lines to assist your eyes. It seems like the Favorites icons could be slotted up with the address and search bar to leave more room for tabs. And there's a sharp line between the file menus and the icons in Firefox that for some reason helps your eyes run across the page to see things the same way separators help. I remember the old IE allowed you to drag things around to place them and resize them as you saw fit. That seems to be gone now.
  • A lot of the file menus are now in graphical form on the right hand side. This is good. Again it'd be nice to push these up into the address bar space to save more space for tabs. Really the address space should be small unless you are going to this site. Whenever I see my dad I ask him to pronouce this town since he grew up near it. Also not all of the icons show. You're left with a ">>" button to see all the buttons. I'd like the option to see all of them through resizing.
  • It doesn't look like the tabs can be rearranged. That'd be nice too.
  • I'm not sure I understand the Home Page button. Under the advanced drop down it's got a remove feature as if multiple home pages can be set. I think I'm missing something here.
  • And finally my number one request. And maybe one that's related to the previous issue. I'd love to open IE and have a collection of preset websites that would open up in a set of tabs. For example, when IE opens have 3 tabs open with CNN, NY Times, and ABCNews in each of them. At work especially that would be a huge time saver. When I get in to work in the morning I typically go to about 10 sites to check news items. I'd love to have IE open with all 10 tabs present. I realize it would take a while to load but that isn't a problem.
  • There's a slew of add-ons but most of them cost money. That's just not going to work at a time when Firefox has so many useful add-ons for free. The page is nice but hopefully more developers will add some free items (weather feed, hint hint).
  • [Update] Another area for improvement. Downloading. Again it looks like the old approach from IE6 is present in IE7. This works fine but when I'm downloading multiple items (and this happens more than you'd think, especially with music) the single download window that FF uses is preferable to a separate window for each download that IE uses.
I can guarantee if all these things are addressed your stock will go back up 11%.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for trying IE7, Chook.

You can actually set multiple home pages -- the feature you're asking for. Open up the ten pages you want and then from the Home Page drop down choose "Change Home Page" and then click "Use the current tab set as your home page." The other options let you add and remove single tabs from your home pages.

You also can make more room for tabs by customizing the command bar and hiding the labels or even removing some of the options. Right-click on the command bar and choose "Customize Command Bar".

Re: some of your other comments:

* Full page/favorites thing -- it's bug. We'll fix it.

* Yes, we lost some of the IE6 customization of toolbars/menus. The addition of tabs made some of those things harder. We'll have to bring that back in another release.

* Rearranging tabs and "type ahead Find" (ala FF) will come in upcoming releases.

Anyway, let us know if you have other feedback too!


Tony Chor
Group Program Manager

C. Fuzzbang said...

That's good to hear about multiple home pages. I'll try that out. I was pretty sure I was missing something based on the options in the drop down section. There's probably some usability improvement there since I couldn't figure it out. Good to hear about the other improvements to come as well.