Microsoft: IE 7 Is AJAX-Ready

At the AJAX Experience conference, Microsoft says its new browser is perfect for AJAX applications; meanwhile, the company is working on Internet Explorer 8.

BOSTON—Although Microsofts Internet Explorer team has just shipped Version 7 of the browser, it is already working on IE 8—or should that be "IE Next?—said a platform architect on the team.

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.

However, speaking on the issue at hand for the conference—AJAX (Asynchronous JavaScript and XML—Wilson said, "IE 7 does more than just fix very minor features; it makes AJAX fun to develop. It doesnt actually suck."

/zimages/3/28571.gifWith IE 7, Microsoft has significantly improved its flagship browser. Click here to read eWEEK Labs review.

Moreover, asked about Microsofts perspective on JavaScript 2, the future version of the browser language, Wilson said that while he is waiting to hear more about what people see as important about JavaScript 2, "were working on JavaScript again [at Microsoft], which I think is great. Weve managed to get it accepted at the company as a language a lot of people are working on—thats not always been the case at Microsoft."


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.

In a separate talk at the AJAX Experience show, Brendan Eich, chief technology officer at Mozilla and creator of the JavaScript language, said that in just 22 hours after releasing Firefox 2, Mozilla saw 2 million downloads of the open-source browser.

/zimages/3/28571.gifClick here to read eWEEK Labs review of Firefox 2.0.

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.

And addressing AJAX-related problems, Microsoft improved JavaScript garbage collection performance, fixed some major memory leaks and fixed caching of gzipped files. Microsoft also fixed more than 200 CSS (Cascading Stylesheets) and layout bugs, including parser bugs, memory leaks in the Jscript engine and overflow behavior bugs, Wilson said.

Next Page: IEs "quirks mode."