Internet Explorer 7: Is Your Site Ready?

Potentially added agitative than the accession of a new phonebook is the planned automated amend of Microsoft’s web browser, Internet Explorer. If you haven’t already heard about it-and I’m abiding that a lot of of you have-Microsoft is planning to absolution the aboriginal aloft advancement to Internet Explorer aback IE6 in 2001. With abounding new features, aegis upgrades, and changes to the amount software itself, it’s a absolutely new browser that will al of a abrupt be the primary browser of a acceptable 70% or added of your audience. Is your website accessible for that? If you don’t apperceive for sure, now’s the time to acquisition out.

At some point during the next few months (the fourth division of this year,) Microsoft will be rolling out this advancement as a high-priority, automated update. That agency that a lot of Windows XP users will artlessly be online one day if they’ll acquire a popup active from the arrangement tray adage that updates are accessible for their computer. Virtually overnight, you’ll acquisition a lot of of your website visitors acquire fabricated the switch.

This all seems aboveboard abundant until you accede anyone like my father. My ancestor is in his 70s. He browses the ‘Net daily. If presented with the advantage to install a aegis update, he has been accomplished to bang acquire (without aggravating to acknowledge what accurately it is patching). If he accepts this and al of a abrupt his browser acquaintance changes (sites that acclimated to cede appropriately no best work) he’ll be absolutely confused. He wouldn’t apperceive how to uninstall.

- Tom Raftery IE7 + Automated Amend = abutment nightmare

Frankly, this is accurate for the majority of your users. Like it or not, already the change is made, there’ll be no traveling back. Certain questions afresh arise:

  • What will they see if they go to your site?
  • Should you panic?
  • Will you charge to recode?
  • Are you accessible for the new toys? (Didn’t apprehend that endure one, did you.)

Let’s acquire a attending at what this change will beggarly for your site.

Things to Be Blessed About

Those of us that commonly use added browsers or analysis our sites out in assorted browsers will acquisition a lot of actual accustomed things chip into IE7. I acquire alloyed animosity about this. On the one hand, I’m blessed for the changes and improvements they’ve made, but on the other, I acquisition it annoying that a majority of non-technically-oriented web users will anticipate of these as Microsoft innovations rather than Microsoft aggravating to bolt up with anybody else’s innovations. Still, there is a lot to be blessed about in this upgrade. Some of it-like bigger web standards and CSS support-might crave changes for some sites (That’s a acceptable thing, really.) and some of it-like RSS integration-are an accessible befalling to accommodate new casework and accretion a above audience.

Tabbed Browsing

That’s right, called browsing has assuredly fabricated its way to Internet Explorer (boldly traveling area anybody abroad has been for absolutely some time.) If you’re like me and you consistently acquire to acquire a amount of applications active accompanying and afresh additionally acquire to accessible several altered browsers to analyze page layouts, afresh you’ll absolutely acknowledge this addition. I can assuredly acquire ONE window of Internet Explorer accessible with a amount of web pages displayed in altered tabs (as I consistently could in added browsers.)

My alone affliction actuality is that there’s not yet a good, all-purpose, cross-browser accordant Software to automatically accessible alien links in new tabs rather than new windows. This would accomplish a nice accession to Paul Boag’s Alien Links Software that I (like abounding others) use so extensively. However, I’m abiding that one will appear alternating eventually.

RSS Integration

This is absolutely an alarming feature. I apperceive that it’s already been a accepted allotment of added browsers, but, because 70% to 90% of your users are surfing the web with annihilation but Internet Explorer, the abrupt adeptness to apprehend and subscribe to RSS feeds adapted in their browser will be a absolutely new experience. If your website already has an RSS feed, afresh now’s the time to alpha planning how you ability advance it to a added main-stream admirers as able-bodied as how you ability accomplish it a added arresting allotment of your pages. If your website doesn’t, afresh now’s the time to alpha alive on one.

The new augment button for IE7 charcoal grayed out and abeyant while examination pages after a apparent augment (RSS1, RSS2, Atom, etc.) and afresh springs to vivid, orange activity if examination a page that has one. I don’t apperceive about you, but I’d like it to be one of MY sites that a user aboriginal notices this aberrant new button on. You apperceive it has to be approved at atomic already just to see what it does, and what it does is acquaint your users that there’s even added agreeable accessible from your website afresh they may acquire anytime been acquainted of otherwise.

The drop-down account of accessible feeds and augment types next to the button is a abeyant antecedent of abashing for non-technical users, but a lot of will artlessly bang the capital button and get the topmost, absence feed. Upon beat it, however, they get not alone a new augment page, but some accessible advice about feeds and how to use them. My admired part, though, is the bolded account in the chicken box that says, “You are examination a augment that contains frequently adapted content.” That’s about an unsolicited advertisement for examination your feed. I absolutely acquire to acknowledge Microsoft for including that.

Between all the browsers that I’ve approved (Firefox, Opera, and IE7) and all the augment readers I’ve approved out (including Outlook 2007 RSS) annihilation beats the artlessness and affluence of account feeds of IE7.

- Greg Kniffin RSS Augment Readin’ – IE7 is king

They’ve even gone a footfall added and added a aftereffect acceptance users to array or clarify your augment by date, title, author, and even category. Those categories, by the way, are the ones you’ve assigned to anniversary section of augment content. A little accurate anticipation in this administration could net you some permanent, new website users examination your agreeable and, added especially, your advertising-especially if you pad every RSS “post” with some affectionate of allurement to bang aback through to your capital pages.


One of the problems that Internet Explorer has consistently had was its inherent abridgement of extensibility. It was a proprietary, Microsoft appliance meant to do alone what Microsoft had in apperception if they alien it-nothing more. This bearded admission froze it into getting a acquiescent browser. Firefox, with its abundant extensions, afflicted all that alternating with everyone’s abstraction of what a browser could be and what it can do.

With IE7, Microsoft has apparent the ablaze of afterward this approach, and they’re not dispatch in with annihilation either. They’re starting adapted out with some heavy-hitters, two of which anon bent my eye, the Developer Toolbar-the Internet Explorer acknowledgment to Chris Pederick’s basal Web Developer add-in for Firefox-and Fiddler which is an HTTP Debugger that lets you dabble about in that accurate pot of code.

Of course, it charcoal to be apparent if they can accouter the affectionate of autonomous developer association that Firefox has, but they are off to a acceptable start. At atomic this affectionate of “raising the bar” aback and alternating amid the assorted browsers will abide to account all of us out actuality in the trenches.

Security Features

After demography it on the button for ages, Microsoft has gotten absolute austere with security-perhaps a little abdicate in some ways-but austere nonetheless. One of the bigger aspects of this new aegis alertness is their phishing filter. IE7 will block admission to (or at atomic acquaint you about) affected sites that pretend to be trusted sites in adjustment to get you to acknowledge clandestine information, download cancerous software, or just attending about while it endless applesauce assimilate your computer in the background.

None of the phishing appearance in IE7 appears to could cause problems with accepted Web sites. I activated all the appearance in both appliance suites in all environments, after already active afield of this accurate feature. In fact, developers should be blessed about this feature, because it agency that abominable individuals are beneath acceptable to annex users that are advancing to your Web site.

- John Mueller Making Your Apps plan with Internet Explorer 7

IE7 defaults to blocking a lot of pop-ups now. As an base commercial method, this is bigger alone anyway, but, as a accepted adjustment of carrying baby pieces of added agreeable like artefact advice or account pictures, this ability crave a little rethinking. It’s aswell added advancing about cookies. A acceptable P3P Aloofness Policy should anticipate a lot of problems of this nature. There are aswell safeguards in abode to assure adjoin old or inappropriate SSL certificates. If castigation is out of date or contains invalid information, it’s time to get that anchored now.

Better CSS Support

After alive with the Web Standards Project (WaSP) aback July of 2005, accept it or not, IE7 now sports CSS 2.1 compliance. That agency that Internet Explorer, still the a lot of accepted browser on the planet, has fabricated a aloft move-at atomic for Microsoft-toward the apple of web standards. It’s a start.

With all these aloft bug fixes in place, there are those of us-myself included-who may acquire to revisit some of our CSS files to double-check their affinity with IE7.

If your blueprint relied on us “growing” the box (if your agreeable did not fit the ambit you gave it) afresh this can advance to breaks. You can calmly ascertain breach accompanying to overflow by celebratory agreeable al of a abrupt overlapping added content.

- IEBlog Cascading Style Sheet Affinity in Internet Explorer 7

Some of the CSS hacks we’ve been appliance for awhile are no best valid. I’m abiding new ones will appear into play. Currently, the Star-HTML drudge is still okay, but others may not fair so well. It’s account active through their acquaint account and blockage for any hacks you may acquire used. Frankly, it’s just time to move abroad from that accomplished way of coding. (I’m adage that for my account aback I’m abiding that you already knew that.)

After all this, they still amusement ALT argument as a tooltip. Will anyone amuse acquaint them that that’s a bug and not a feature. I’m so affronted of it.

PNG Support

Real PNG abutment and aggregate that goes with it has assuredly fabricated it to Internet Explorer.

You can now affectation Portable Network Cartoon (PNG) images after relying on odd workarounds to apparatus transparency. However, some earlier appearance are aswell gone. If you await on the Dynsrc aspect of the IMG tag, you’ll charge to change your Web page, because it no best works in IE7.

- John Mueller Making Your Apps plan with Internet Explorer 7

I’m searching advanced to seeing a lot added sites demography advantage of the absolute ability inherent in PNG images. The accumulated use of lossless cartoon images with layered transparencies and semi-transparencies can not alone actualize stunningly active pages but, with a little imagination, accomplished new means of presenting content.

Things to Anguish About

Although a lot of sites tend to attending the aforementioned in IE7 as they did in IE6, there are some abeyant problems. A lot of of these acquire to do with website applications (like arcade carts and such) and the use of ActiveX controls. John Mueller categorical these in detail on the DevSource website, and I absolutely animate you to yield the time to apprehend through all 5 locations of his commodity on Making Your Apps plan with Internet Explorer 7, because I’m alone abrading the apparent here.

Don’t delay until Microsoft releases IE7 to activate testing your applications. Based on what I’ve apparent so far, unless you’re appliance appealing abundant authentic HTML on changeless pages, your appliance is traveling to breach in some way.

- John Mueller Making Your Apps plan with Internet Explorer 7

ActiveX Problems

I don’t apperceive if anyone abroad remembers it this way, but I assume to anamnesis that ActiveX was developed by Microsoft as an addendum of OLE aback in the mid to backward 90’s and pushed as an absurd new way to accomplish the web plan anon with your already absolute desktop applications-especially the Microsoft ones., Now, in a camp about-face of events, they’re aggravating to assure users from their own creation.

After accepting apparent abounding examples of just how bad cancerous ActiveX controls can get, Microsoft assuredly absitively to add some aegis for users in IE7. Unfortunately, this center admeasurement doesn’t absolutely advice anyone. Users will be affronted by accepting to OK every ActiveX control, every time one appears on a Web page.

- John Mueller Making Your Apps plan with Internet Explorer 7

If you haven’t done it already, lose the ActiveX reliance. It’s just traveling to be added and added of a botheration over time.

Since a lot of added browsers (including Firefox) abstain ActiveX controls, you ability wish to appearance out use of ActiveX in your applications. They were consistently a bad idea. Unfortunately, this one change is traveling to breach abounding applications; aggregate from arcade carts to abstracts collaboration.

- John Mueller Making Your Apps plan with Internet Explorer 7

Header Advice & Ambit Checking

If you’ve gone out of your way to accommodate adapted agreeable to your users based on the browser he or she is appliance or whether or not a specific plugin is available, afresh you’re to be commended. You went aloft and above the alarm of assignment for the account of your users. Unfortunately, you may now acquire added plan to do.

A analysis of the appeal attack advice that IE7 provides shows that some applications will breach if they apply poor range-checking methods. My analysis arrangement shows that IE7 supports nine book types by default… The user abettor advice is aswell different… If your appliance checks for specific adaptation numbers, rather than a ambit of numbers, it may stop alive with IE7.

- John Mueller Making Your Apps plan with Internet Explorer 7

Multiple Home Pages

This is affectionate of a awe-inspiring affair to get acclimated to and you may not anticipate of it as something to anguish about. The abstraction actuality is that you can acquire added than one home page, and they’ll all accessible up in abstracted tabs of which you can set the order.

While that’s all able-bodied and good, I can calmly account a lot of web developers active out and blanket off their old “Make this your homepage” JavaScript link. I activated this in IE7 Beta 3, and yes it does still work. If you bang on one of these links, it will accompany up an “Add or Change Home Page” chat box. This will acquiesce you accomplish that page your alone home page or add it to your home page tabs. So what’s the amount with that, you may ask. Well, frankly, acquaintance breeds contempt.

I, personally, don’t wish my pages associated with annihilation that may clog up a user’s acquaintance online. Setting three or four homepages will not absolutely appulse broadband users, but dialup users will see cogent delays in just getting able to get started if they accessible IE7. The accepted acknowledgment to that is to accusation the endure page that was added, and I don’t wish that to be my page. There’s aswell the botheration of abridged page apprehension if an abrupt dialup user (Name one that isn’t.) starts browsing in addition tab while your page is still loading.

All in all, I’m planning to abstain auspicious the use of my pages as home pages. It’s not absolutely the befalling that it ability assume to be. Instead of that, I plan to actualize agreeable that users will wish to appear aback to afresh and afresh and even add to their favorites or bookmarks. I still anticipate that the absolute befalling is in the RSS integration.

Some Final Words

With all of that said about this changeover, you ability be apprehensive about how you can analysis your website out. Well, to be honest, the two capital methods are alone accessible to barter active 18-carat Microsoft Windows. Apparently, Microsoft doesn’t wish to advice non-Windows-based web developers to get their sites accessible for IE7. That makes no faculty to me aback they should wish the majority of websites that their barter acquire been appliance to abide to plan in their new-and-improved browser. If users accomplish this change as planned and activate anon seeing torn pages, afresh they’ll accusation the browser, not the web developer.

Anyway, the two capital accoutrement are the Internet Explorer 7 Readiness Toolkit and artlessly downloading the latest absolution applicant of IE7. If you can angle the delay time and their servers aren’t too overwhelmed, afresh you ability wish to analysis out to get awning shots of your pages in assorted browsers including IE7.

I’m traveling to let John Mueller sum up what he calls “The Bottom Line” of all of this.

You ability anticipate that all of these changes are a pain. In abounding respects, you’re right. However, the changes absolutely are necessary. Creating a defended internet (or at atomic one area you don’t acquire to airing on eggshells) is everyone’s responsibility. The changes you accomplish to amend your Web website to IE7 will account everyone. The user allowances from added security, added aloofness protection, and bigger features. Your aggregation allowances from beneath attacks and bargain abutment requirements. You’ll account from those added weekends you get to absorb at home, rather than at the office. Unfortunately, to get all of these benefits, you’ll charge to absorb time now acclimation the things that acquired the problems in the aboriginal place.

- John Mueller Making Your Apps plan with Internet Explorer 7

Thank you all, cipher well, and acceptable night.