Over the last three days i’ve had a chance to play with IE7 running on windows Vista, and I have to say its much improved.
The biggest improvements from my point of view are in its developer tools. The web developer toolbar that i’ve always loved from firefox has been cloned and is now available in IE. It also has a built in DOM inspector.
All my sites that worked in IE6 still work in IE7. That doesn’t mean all sites will, but its seems like its really only going to mean changes if your using lots of CSS hacks, and the fixes in those cases will be just removing the hacks.
IE7 will be the catch-up release. It brings IE up to a reasonable level of standards compliance, it gives developers usable tools, and it adds the biggest UI features like tabs.
New feaature wise the biggest additions are RSS support and Infocard.
Of those I think infocard has the biggest chance to change the way we use the web on a regular basis. Its just an application of basic crypto ideas we’ve know for quite awhile, but I think if people start using it, we can finally stop having to remember 500 different username/passwords, and more importantly we can stop storing them on every server under the sun.
I didn’t think i’d be when I showed up at the conference, but I’m really happy with the direction of IE7 and the releases planned after that. Without the boat anchor of IE6 holding back the web, we have the chance for some real innovation.