Elements of Microsofts next-generation Web browsing software have been posted on a Windows-related blog site, including screen shots of what the application may look like and a link to some of its code.
While the links to the build code for what appears to be a beta version of Internet Explorer 7 have since been yanked off the JCXP.net Windows forum, the site is still showing off roughly 14 screen shots of the browser.
The person who originally posted the links and photos to the site has since removed the ability for users to click through to the code sample, reportedly at Microsofts request. However, JCXP.net indicated that before removing the code it was downloaded as many as 12,000 times.
Microsoft officials said the company is strongly encouraging users to wait until it unveils a pre-release version of IE 7 for Windows XP sometime during the first quarter of this year, rather than working with the unsupported code that was posted on JCXP.net.
The browser shown in the pictures is labeled as IE 7 Beta 2 Preview and the screen shots show off some of the features expected in the upcoming application, a new beta version of which was expected to be released sometime during the first quarter of 2006. A prior test version of the software was released publicly in July 2005.
Among the new tools shown in the pictures, while relatively low resolution, are some of Microsofts security-related additions to the dominant browser, including its anti-phishing controls and its recently announced Delete Browsing History function. Also highlighted in the available screen shots is Microsofts attempt to mirror the so-called tabbed browsing controls popularized by alternative products such as Firefox and Opera, which the software giant has dubbed as QuickTabs.
The software giant has not yet publicly detailed its schedule for delivering a final version of IE 7, but the application is slated to reach the market sometime this year, either before or at the same time Microsoft releases its next-generation Windows operating system known as Vista.
Editors Note: This story was updated to include comments from Microsoft.