The following are my unedited notes from downloading, installing, and playing with IE7b2 Preview for a while this morning. Caveats: I don’t use IE6 at all except for testing. I also don’t use Windows except for ocassional games and site testing. I am a very comfortable OS X/Firefox user, and that is likely reflected in my notes here.
Notes on downloading and installing IE7b2 Preview
1) The download page doesn’t work at all for me in the latest version of Firefox on Windows XP. It works fine in Firefox on OS X. I had to start IE6 in order to download the software.
2) Before you can install IE7b2 Preview, it forces you to validate your version of Windows with the Windows Genuine Advantage. I have a legal copy of the software so this is not a problem. I love being assumed guilty until proven innocent.
3) “Get the latest updates for installation”. This is fine. I don’t mind getting updates at all. What’s troubling is the “and download and run the Microsoft Windows Malicious Software Removal Tool”. In order to get updates, I have to consent to downloading and running this extra thing. That annoys me. I have no idea what it will look for and uninstall on my behalf. There are no links for further information. When I consented to this (which I didn’t want to do but I wanted the updates), it downloaded and ran the tool without any feedback or information about what it was doing or why (if anything). This just makes me cranky.
4) After all this, it made me reboot my computer. Awesome.
Started. The “runonce” page that allows you to enable anti-phishing etc. is pretty slick, but there are three options at the bottom (save settings, …and two others that I forget already and can’t seem to view again…I guess that’s what “runonce” means) that were confusing.
A running commentary…
* Uh, where’s the Home button?
* Where the f&#^ are the menus?
* Where’s the Stop button? Why does the Stop button look like a Close button?
* Why are the Forward/Back buttons overlaying a dropdown list button?
* What’s the ‘Page’ button? Ok, it’s a button that replicates the rt-click Context Menu. No…no it’s not…the Context Menu doesn’t have this stuff on it…er…doesn’t have all this stuff on it. Some menu items are on both, but not all of them. The drop-list arrow on the side of the Page button doesn’t do anything. Why is “Save Background As…” on the Context Menu but not the Page menu? Why is “Save As…” on the Page menu but not the Context menu?
* God, moving the Home button is lame.
* Where can I access/change my preferences? Are there any preferences? Are there menus anywhere? How do I get to them? What the hell?
* Oh, ok…so don’t remove the “Tools” button/menu/dropbox thingy. Prefs are accessed through there and are still called “Internet Options”.
* “Add or remove search providers” is a bald-faced lie. There is no way to add them through the preferences…you have to use the Search button drop menu (I want to call this the Spotlight menu because it’s a white magnifying glass on a blue background which, in OS X, is Spotlight…worlds collide etc etc).
* Just noticed that “Find on this Page…” is on the Search button drop menu. “Find on this page…” is on neither the Context Menu (rt-click) nor the Page Menu (the new button thing). Ctrl-F works as a shortcut.
* Whoa, ok, just got a popup bubble telling me the Phishing filter is currently not available. Which appears to be a lie because I just used the Phishing verifier thing to check a site.
* Popup bubble about the phishing filter made me totally forget what I was doing.
* Where’s the throbber? Ah, tabs. Check.
* Just for fun, removed all the extra buttons from the right of the tabs (Tools, Page, Messenger, etc). First off this just broke the chrome, adding a big gap under the tabs. Closing all but one tab fixed this (for no apparent reason). Then one of the buttons I removed came back (which is good because without anything there you have no way to access the “Customize” menu for that little sub-bar). Removed the button again (it’s the Messenger button). It came back again. Removed it again. It came back again. That’s definitely broken. Tried removing the Messenger and just leaving Home there…that seemed to work ok. Removed Home…Messenger came back.
* Oh look “Classic Menu”. Selected this. Old skool menus! But they’re below the Fwd/Back buttons and address bar. Not very classic. Still can’t get rid of all the buttons from the “non-classic” menus.
* I can find no way to put the Home button in the top bar with the Fwd/Back buttons. I cannot find a way to move the Refresh and Stop buttons to the left of the address bar.
* The page zoom feature is pretty cool. It’s in the “Page” menu button drop thing, so I’ll add that button back. Only now it’s off the side of the UI and I have to access it via the double-arrow “see the rest of this toolbar” thing in spite of there being only one button on the UI there (before there were 5-6). Maximizing the browser window doesn’t change this. Removing all buttons and re-adding them doesn’t change this. I can’t fix this.
* I can’t remove the zoom menu off the status bar (bottom of the window). There are a bunch of separators in the status bar with nothing between them. I wonder what those are for.
* Added Google as my default search provider. Changed to AskJeeves. There’s no icon in the bar, just the name of the search engine in grey text in the box. Clicking the box erases the search engine name, and doing a search fills the box with the search term which stays there. To see which engine you’re using you have to delete the previous search term and click away from the box. Wildly suboptimal.
* Just went for the Home button in the wrong place again.
* “Advanced” “Internet Options” still includes about 4000 things I don’t understand or care about.
* “Page” menu has “View Source” in it. “View” menu has “Source” in it. Context Menu has “View Source” in it. “View” menu item would be better as “Page Source”, I think, and “View Page Source” elsewhere. The View menu confuses me, actually, and Firefox (I just noticed) has it too. Hum. I don’t use the menus much apparently.
* Holy crap, IE has extensions (“Addons”). Go to “Find More Add-ons…”, site with list, check out RSS Tools…let’s check out “RssReader”. Hm. Ok, go to Download.com to download it. It downloads as a .zip file to my Desktop. Unzip, double-click setup.exe. Install. No indication whether I have to restart my browser. No indication of anything at all. Nothing new in the “Manage Add-ons” dialogue. No change in how the RSS Feed button works. WTF. It is, however, flagged as a new program in my Start menu…and …apparently it’s a totally separate application. I think I just hit the jackpot of user experience confusion. I have no idea why this is considered an “Add-on”.
* My page is zoomed. I didn’t zoom the page. I wonder what happened to do that.
* Looking for more add-ons, on the Privacy add-ons page I notice that the “Sponsored Links” are all online dating services. Now i can’t figure out how to get to the top level of the Add-ons site. Grr.
* Going to MSDN brings up an “Information bar” at the top of my page: “This site might require the following add-on:… Click here to allow the control to run…”. Confusing terminology: “add-on” and “control”, pick one. Second, clicking here doesn’t allow the control to run, it pops up a menu. The top item is “Run ActiveX Control”, second is “What’s the Risk?”, last is “More information”. Being paranoid, I click “What’s the Risk?” This opens Windows Internet Explorer help, on the “Web browser add-ons: what you need to know” page. Great, except it doesn’t say jack about “risk”. It tells you what add-ons are, that some can shut down your browser unexpectedly, how to enable/disable them. Nothing, not one thing, about the risks of running known or unknown activeX controls. I do not run it.
* For some reason a new post on my weblog (dria.org) isn’t showing up when I view the RSS feed with IE7. It doesn’t seem to be catching the update, in spite of the page itself displaying fine. Stuck in the cache? Nothing I do will make it show up (it shows up OK in Firefox on the mac…). Weird.
I’m done for now. When I get a chance maybe I’ll play with it some more.
And there you have it. That was not a great first impression, let me tell you.