Elliot Jay Stocks is a designer, speaker, and author. He is the Creative Director of Adobe Typekit, the founder of typography magazine 8 Faces, one half of Viewport Industries, and an electronic musician.

The joke that is IE7

Posted on 02 November 2006 Comments

Today, the time finally came for me to install IE7. Not because I had to because I’m a Windows user (far from it) and (as of the latest software update) I have no choice; nor because I was forced to update my main testing machine at work (it’s running Windows 2000). Sadly, I did it because the vast majority of the population are being forced to upgrade, and as a web designer it’s my responsibility to test with the most popular browser. So off I toddled across to a lonely part of the office housing the only free XP-based machine, and downloaded the Evil E.

Let me describe the ensuing 10 minutes…

The first 5 were taken up with the installation, which also (quite ridiculously) required a restart of the machine. Then, once rebooted, I clicked on that ugly icon (I’ve hated that yellow asteroid belt since they first unveiled the beta months ago). Next, I viewed a few websites to see how the rendering differed from a) IE6, and b) standards-compliant browsers. To my surprise, the Trojan Records site I’m currently developing displayed exactly the same as before, which was a relief, as it means I won’t have to re-hack the CSS (it’s worth noting, though, that it only looks ok because of all the IE hacks that are in there in the first place). Next, I visited some of my sites; most importantly sourhaze.com – the latest version of which has never worked in IE, for some completely unknown reasons. What was the result? It is still totally and utterly, hopelessly and pathetically screwed. So far, it’s performing to the low standard I’d expected.

Next, with a few tabs open, I tried the ‘Quick Tabs’ feature, possibly the browser’s only feature to offer (a very small) advantage over the competition. Um… ok. Great. Somehow this isn’t going to sway me to forget Safari, Firefox, or Flock. The other ‘new features’ Microsoft seem so keen to brag about include RSS support, embedded search with a variety of engines, increased security, and of course tabs themselves. So in other words, features that have existed in all Mozilla, Safari, and Opera browsers for – wait for it – YEARS.

Ok, ok. We all know that. I’ll leave them alone. Back to some web browsing.

I checked out Shaun Inman’s site (he has some pretty strong views about IE7 as well) and then decided to follow his link to (mt) MediaTemple. The page starts to load, and… CRASH. “Internet Explorer has encountered a problem and needs to close.” A problem? What, like browsing the web, you mean?!?

So that was that. 5 minutes of painful installation, and 5 minutes of despair-inducing surfing… brought to a halt by an almighty, completely unexplainable – but not altogether unexpected – crash.

Actually, it was a relief.

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