Making Your Apps Work with Internet Explorer 7

First Look: Internet Explorer 7 brings with it a vast array of new features, many of which will cause heartburn for developers. (DevSource)

Microsoft is under increasing pressure to do something with Internet Explorer 7. Like little dogs nipping at its heels, other browsers have raised the bar of user expectations. Microsoft has had to respond.

If you havent looked at IE7 yet, check out the overview from Microsoft, and download a copy of your own.

The second you test it with your existing applications, youll see why this new release will cause so much developer heartburn.

IE7 has inched a little closer to the standards provided by organizations such as the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), added privacy, and includes additional security. Even though the eye candy will delight your users, the underlying changes will cause you nightmares. This article can help reduce the pain.

Dont wait until Microsoft releases IE7 to begin testing your applications. Based on what Ive seen so far, unless youre using pretty much pure HTML on static pages, your application is going to break in some way.

/zimages/5/28571.gifGuru Jakob Nielsen offers advice on designing applications for usability. Click here to watch the video.

I used three levels of application support. The level that I suggest every developer try first is the default installation. Normally, Microsofts default installation leaves everything open; thats not so with IE7. Most users will try the default installation first, and I can guarantee that its going to break many applications (not all of them, but many of them).

I also tried an extreme privacy and security model, for those organizations that no longer trust their employees to do anything. Finally, I tried a power user configuration that backed off some of the default settings. However, even the power user setup breaks applications, because Microsoft has added built-in privacy and security measures. I suggest you try executing these setups on three separate machines (or use virtual machines on a single physical machine).

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