Back in December I said that I had left the Microsoft Internet Explorer ranks for the greener browser pastures over at Firefox. I'll admit that I've really enjoyed Firefox as a tool too, but I couldn't resist being an early tester and, you guessed it, an early (part time) adopter of Microsoft's Internet Explorer 7 (IE7).
I've been using IE7 for quite a while now, and the latest beta version is really quite stable. All the features that were missing such as tabs, RSS reader, improved security, and more, are all there. From a usability perspective, the new version is much more comparable to Firefox.
At this point I only have two complaints. The first is the on-page search capability, which is a gripe more than anything else, as the functionality is there, it just isn't as good as the same functionality in Firefox. In Firefox the search box shows up as a bar at the bottom of the browser window, and it stays up all the time. When I want to find something, I just type in the box and the browser automatically searches the page and provides feedback as I hit each key. To me, this is very cool in that it saves me keystrokes. Since the search box is always there, I don't have to call it up, and since it searches as I type, I can stop typing far earlier than I might while trying to perform the same search in IE. IE7 uses the same search functionality that it used on past browsers, which means you can find what your looking for, it's just less efficient.
My second complaint is more than a gripe in that IE7 still isn't fully CSS compliant. As a browser user this isn't such a big deal, but for web developers it means they will still need to write non-compliant code to make their sites display correctly in IE7.
All in all, I like the new browser enough to have switched back to the IE camp. Thank you Microsoft, and please, do try and keep up this time!