IE 7: predictions
Everyone has been speculating what the recently announced release of Internet Explorer 7 will bring. Anne van Kesteren asked what people think will be in it. Herewith my predictions and the reasoning they’re based on.
The main issue to keep in mind is that Microsoft stand to lose a lot from losing their grip on the desktop monopoly. In that light, web apps are the devil. This has been pontificated on at length by people who know the company and the market much better than I. Hence, I believe Microsoft have little motivation to make web apps easier to develop but a lot of incentive to keep users clinging to a backwater browser as long as feasible.
With that in mind, I think it’s easy to predict what version 7 will bring:
An array of features everyone else already has, liked tabbed browsing, and probably a couple of innovative ones, preferrably Microsoft-only stuff like Smart Tags and the like which will likely integrate interestingly with Windows. The intent is to dazzle users by giving them real value or at least something shiny that approaches real value. Gizmo fetishists will drool.
A big one-time effort to shape up the browser’s security. The intent is to appease/muzzle the critics. Make no mistake, though, the reaction time for newly found security issues will continue to be lousy, because it has always been, across all of Microsoft’s product spectrum.
Fixes for some of the rendering bugs, possibly related to floats and positioning. The result won’t be close to compliance or even the level of compliance in other browsers, and it will unbreak at least a few of the quirks exploited by contemporary IE CSS hacks. Microsoft-only shops and heavily IE-reliant intranet web apps are unlikely to be affected by the changes, only those trying to do standards compliant design will feel the pain.
Pessimistic? I certainly am. But you know what they say: a pessimist only has pleasant surprises.