Internet Explorer 7 in its final release will be distributed as part of a monthly Windows XP automatic update (patch Tuesday, as it’s become known as, occurs on the second Tuesday of each month). We’ll all be asked if we want to install IE 7 but Microsoft is strongly recommending that all users do the install because of the much stronger security features in IE 7.
Currently IE 7 is has been released as Release Candidate 1 for more testing by IT professinals, web developers and web masters. Whether there is a Release Candidate 2 depends on whether the IE 7 team are informed of any major bugs or glitches but the features in IE 7 RC1 won’t be changed.
So it’s expected that the final release of IE 7 for the general public could be in October or Novemeber.
Either way, now is a good time to familiarise yourself with some of IE 7’s features. Rushworth Community House has been running IE 7 RC1 on a number of its computers to help users get a feel for tabbed browsing, searching and making sure the sites they visit work properly. The latter includes banking and financial sites in particular – e.g., National Aust Bank still doesn’t recognise IE 7 for online banking (at the time of posting) but everything works ok once the user is past the "not-supported browser page".
An easy way to get started is to take the tour of IE 7’s features by using the tabs on IE 7’s home page. For more info, towards the top of the page is a link, take a tour.
One of IE7’s new features you may take a bit to get used to is tabbed browsing. Basically the idea is to load IE just the one time (by clicking it’s logo from the Quick Launch bar or Start or its desktop icon) and then open new windows for new web sites you want to visit by opening a new tab window for each as required. After a while you’ll get the hang of it as you only need to look across the tabs to see which sites you’re viewing and a click on a tab takes you from one site to another.
Another way to use tabbed browsing is to right-click a link and have the site open on a new tab – the advantage here is that you’re still looking at the current page. E.g., you might be reading through the opening page on ABC News but don’t want to leave this page just yet. So using the right-click on a link/open in a new tab feature, you can open stories you can read later after you’ve skimmed through the main headlines.