With the latest beta release of Internet Explorer 7 beta, it has been announced that the layout is now complete and it would appear very unlikely that there would be any more development on this part of the browser until after the official release.
“….we are now layout complete with the release of the MIX build – we don’t plan to add more layout features or drastically change layout behaviour.”
Well what does this mean? Microsoft’s current browser, Internet Explorer 6, has been around for many years in its current guise and really predates universal acceptance of writing web standards compliant websites. That is websites that conform to universal standards set by various different groups such as the W3C and ISO. These standards have been laid out to ensure websites display and function the same in different browsers and are accessible to as many different sorts of users as possible.
Today, all professionally designed websites are developed considering web standards and are generally rendered or displayed correctly with certain compliant browsers such as Opera and Firefox (though no browser is perfect). Internet Explorer 6, which was originally released around 5 years ago, requires ‘fixes’ to be written into websites so that it displays the same as in compliant browsers though.
Microsoft’s upcoming release of Microsoft Vista (due Q1 2007) will coincide with the release of a new Microsoft web browser that will be titled ‘Windows Internet Explorer’, though this essentially Internet Explorer 7. Can it now be considered a web standards compliant browser? Well judging by the Beta 2 which is out at the moment, not exactly. While there is great improvements with CSS and Microsoft have fixed many of the work arounds developers have had to do for IE6, there are still problems and undoubtedly there will be more issues yet to surface.
In answer to the original question, Microsoft’s announcement that the layout is now complete with IE7 beta 2 allows the web development community to ensure current sites will be compatible in preparation of the forthcoming official release.
If you want to make sure your site will be compatible then please don’t hesitate to contact me. I am offering free checks for your existing sites and very competitive quotes for making any changes that might be necessary.