At the AJAX Experience conference here, Chris Wilson, platform architect for the Internet Explorer platform at Microsoft, said, "The team is hard at work on IE 8," then with a smile added, "I think I am supposed to call it IE Next."
In any event, Wilson gave two talks at the event, saying key themes for the next version of IE will include "user security and privacy, improving the Web application platform, providing the best Web user experience, and compatibility will continue to be a tenet."
Wilson poked fun at criticism that Microsoft would never ship a stand-alone version of its browser by showing a picture of a pig flying across a crowd of people. IE 7 has shipped, and the pig has flown, he said.
Wilson said that in the first four days after releasing IE 7, Microsoft saw 3 million downloads of the browser, "and that was without Automatic Update," he said. He also said 90 percent of the Windows-based Web share is on Windows XP, so the adoption curve on IE 7 should ramp up quickly.
Although IE 7 adds standards compliance and fixes other issues, some pages that work with IE 6 may not work with the new version, according to Wilson. So he rallied developers to a call to action.
"Please test your pages with IE 7," he said. "Standards improvements mean behavior will change. End users dont like broken pages; make sure your IE components are prepared for opt-in and protected modes. Take the leap, use the new stuff, RSS-ify now, use OpenSearch for search exposure, and give us feedback."
Microsoft made many improvements to IE to help Web developers, Wilson said. One of the companys key areas of focus is "folks who need to make a living; we fixed the top most painful bugs and added the most-requested standards," he said.
Indeed, Microsoft fixed several inconsistencies that existed between IE and the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) specifications, such as including native XMLHttpRequest support.