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Archive for October, 2006

Mozilla Firefox 2.0

Published on October 24, 2006 in Firefox

On the heels of Microsoft’s release of Internet Explorer 7, Mozilla has released the newest version of their Firefox browser. Since the first release of Firefox the browser landscape has changed dramatically, with new versions of Firefox, Internet Explorer and Opera resulting in a new sense of competition and browser improvements. Firefox 2.0 continues this trend with several new features and performance enhancements to help it stay at the front of pack.

Internet Explorer 7 Released

Published on October 19, 2006 in Browsers, Firefox

Microsoft has just released the long awaited version of their Internet Explorer 7 browser for Windows XP SP2. IE7 is available as a free download and will also be offered as a high priority update via Microsoft’s Automatic Updates service on November 1st. Initially, it is only available in English but will be available in other languages in the coming weeks.

IE7 Logo

The most noticeable change to IE7 is the completely redesigned user interface. Microsoft has gone for a clean look. They have moved the Back and Forward buttons, merged the Stop and Refresh buttons, and changed the menus replacing them with six little buttons that reveal some of the most used features. Finding much of the browsers functionality is now not particularly intuitive. Thus, while the new look is an improvement, there is a learning curve involved with using the new browser.

Some of the other new features available in IE7 include better add-ons support, built-in support for RSS feeds, improved security, improved printing capabilities, and tabbed browsing.

Tabbed Browsing

This is one of the main improvements in IE7. Tabbed browsing allows the user to open up multiple web pages and instead of every one of them being in separate windows, each page is shown across the top, in tabs, to allow for easy switching between pages. In addition, IE7 offers the concept of “Quick tabs”. Clicking on the Quick tabs icon, to the left of the tab bar, will bring up a set of small images to browse through and to then click on the page you want to view. Finally, IE7 also introduces the concept of a session-saver. When you close IE you can click a box to have IE remember your current tabs. When the browser is reopened; you browser session will load the same tabs and pages the browser was closed with before.


This is one of the most important but least talked about improvements to IE7. Printing in IE 7 is now more inline with the printing ability of other major browsers. Some of the improvements include: the ability to adjust margins within the print-preview, the ability to easily hide/customize the header and footer, and shrink to fit – actually fitting the web page onto the paper that is being printed.

RSS Feeds

IE 7 adds a number of RSS features that may be of interest to new users of RSS. Theses features are very basic. They include the RSS toolbar icon lights up when an RSS feed is available, clicking on the icon allows for viewing the feed within the browser, and the reader view allows for basic searching and filtering capabilities. The RSS support in IE7 is much less then what is provided on RSS websites like Bloglines, Google Newsreader and NewsGator.


One of the biggest differences with Internet Explorer 7 is that a search box has been built into the upper-right corner of the browser window. From here you can do a search from a search engine just like if you were at the search engine’s web page itself. Enter some words, press return or click the magnifying glass icon and IE7 will bring back results from your chosen search engine. The search box also allows you to temporarily or permanently change your search engine provider.


Internet Explorer 7 uses an almost entirely new code-base and the security in the browser is much improved. The new isolation of ActiveX controls helps to shield Internet Explorer 7 from what was one of its biggest security threats: the instant integration of plugins and modules. While this feature made IE easy to use it also caused security headaches. Fortunately the new ActiveX model still allows this feature to work but requires the plug-in to be activated by clicking on it.

IE7 also comes with anti-phishing & popup blocking features. The anti-phishing features are meant to protect against malicious and/or fake web sites that attempt to trick users into divulging their log-ins and/or other personal information. IE7 includes site analysis that warns about a suspicious site even if it’s not yet on a blacklist by scanning a page for phishing signs in the URL or page content.


IE 7 had added a new add-on manager as well as a web site to promote and distribute these add-ons. While a good start, Microsoft has a way to go in this regard as the whole add-on system is not very user-friendly. Additionally most of the add-ons you’ll find aren’t free and many off these add-ons are not designed to work directly inside IE and integrate with the browser to give you a better browsing experience. They are nothing like the extensions that integrate into Firefox to extend that browser’s functionality.

IE7 is also bad news for power users as they will be disappointed by IE7. Security settings are not easy to change and the toolbar can no longer be customized. Those who want themes or skins to change the look of IE7 will be disappointed as well. Overall there is little a user can do to tweak or customize IE7.


Microsoft hopes that IE7 major improvements and tweaks will slow or even halt the slow but steady IE user flight toward Firefox. If you are a satisfied user of Opera or Mozilla Firefox this release of IE7 will probably not make you switch back to IE. For satisfied Firefox users, Mozilla’s upcoming upgrade to version 2 should keep you continuing to use the browser as you will get new features and will not have to deal with the major user interface changes. Current IE users have a choice to make. IE 7′s features make it a much better browser than early versions of IE. Its security enhancements and tabbed browsing alone make it a must upgrade. Alternatively, current IE users could make the switch to Firefox. Firefox currently has most of the updates that IE7 possess and you will not have to deal with the changes with the new layout and interface. While IE7 is a welcome improvement and upgrade, Mozilla Firefox remains the better browser of the two.

For more information and a review of IE7 see Alex Iskold’s excellent article at Read/Write Web.

Who Am I?

Leslie Franke Profile

Leslie Franke:[les-lee fran-key]; 1. Husband and proud dogowner; 2. Seventh-day Adventist; 3. Web Designer; 4. Atlanta Braves Fan; 5. Northeast Ohio Native; 6. Bottle Caps Lover; 7. Certified 'Freakonomic';