Internet Explorer Has a Future

At its upcoming MIX designer confab, Microsoft will distribute a "layout-complete" IE 7.0 test build and talk IE futures.

At MIX, Microsofts Web 2.0 conference in Las Vegas March 20-22, tools for designers wont be the only hot button. Microsoft also will be showcasing Internet Explorer 7.0, distributing new browser bits and sharing ideas on the next version—or versions—of IE in the works.

Microsoft will dole out at the show what officials are describing as a "layout-complete" version of IE 7.0.

"The important thing about this release is that no further layout changes will be made for IE 7.0," said Microsoft developer Cyra Richardson during a recent online chat on IE.

"The attendees at MIX will receive several items (tools & builds) at the show that will allow them to better test IE compatibility. We will be striving to allow attendees to start testing with the layout complete version of IE7," Richardson added.

Microsoft released in January what it designated as a preview build of IE 7.0 Beta 2. Company officials have not given a firm date for when they plan to distribute the full-fledged Beta 2.

The final IE 7.0—which will be available both as an integrated part of Windows Vista and as a stand-alone browser for Windows XP Service Pack 2—is expected to ship before the end of the year. Windows Vista is expected to launch in November.

Microsoft will be hosting an "IE7 Compat Lab" at MIX where developers can test their applications for compatibility with the latest IE test builds. As Microsoft itself has acknowledged, there could be app-compatibility hiccups with IE 7.0.

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