Internet Explorer 7 and Firefox 2 Released

This month Microsoft and the Mozilla Foundation both released upgrades to their flagship web browsers.  In particular Internet Explorer 7 (IE7) is a major upgrade from version 6, which was originally released in 2001. But, how well does IE7 catch up to Firefox's feature list?

Internet Explorer 7 makes great strides, adding many of Firefox's features and improving on IE6's poor compatibility with established web standards like CSS (cascading style sheets) version 2. Our take is that it does have a ways to go in terms of CSS compatibility, but the new features and improved security make it a recommended upgrade for Internet Explorer 6 users. Firefox users may want to upgrade to Internet Explorer 7 for the security improvements, but will probably also want to upgrade to Firefox 2 and retain it as their default browser.

Features in Firefox 2.0 and Internet Explorer 7.0 include:

  • search box in toolbar (choice of engines via a dropdown; users can easily add more)
  • detect phishing (fake) web sites and display a warning
  • shrink-to-fit printing will reduce pages to fit on a printed page
  • RSS news feed icon to easily manage RSS feeds
  • tabbed browsing (multiple web pages open in one window)
  • Tab Groups (bookmark and open groups of tabs at once)
  • ability to set multiple home pages that open together, in tabs
  • pop-up blocker
  • library of hundreds of free add-ons to add new features from third-party developers

Features found only in Firefox 2.0 include:

  • reopen recently closed tabs from the History menu
  • built in spell checking for web forms (including WebMail)
  • search suggestions appear as-you-type

Internet Explorer 7.0 and Firefox 2.0 can be downloaded from our web site.

Because of the changes in CSS compatibility in IE7, users may notice the occasional web page that changes in appearance or behavior. This should clear up as webmasters "correct" their web page code to account for the new behavior.

October 2006

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