I'm happy to post that earlier this evening the IE team released IE7 Beta 2 (English).
This is not a preview or refresh but actually Beta 2, for XP SP2, Windows Server 2003 SP1, XP x64 edition, and even an Itanium version. And in the next few weeks, we'll release Finnish, German, Japanese, and Arabic versions.
This is a public beta and we are encouraging all categories of users - consumers, developers, IT professionals, everyone - to install and use it.
This build has a lot more refinement than previous Beta 2 Preview versions - better fit-and-finish, faster, more stable, etc. More better, as I like to say.
Over on the IEBlog, Dean, GM of the IE team, announces we'll have a public pre-release of IE7 available sometime in the first calendar quarter of 2006. Why not sooner? Well, we won't be ready to release broadly any sooner. Sorry, and I wish it weren't so, but it is...
We've made great strides in finishing the user interface, so what you'll see in the next pre-release will be far closer to what we think will be the final IE7 user interface. Most of the platform work is in there, so everyone will be able to test site compat and app compat.
So stay tuned. First quarter is closer than you think ...
Today a bunch of us from the IE team ran the Woodinville Country Slough Run together. We signed up as "Team IE" and had 9 members - Sharon, Tony, Kellie, Rob, John, me, Jon, Scott, and Laurel. We all wore various IE team T-shirts:
While this was more of a "fun run" and less of a race - no chip timing, no starter gun - it was still my first actual 5K race. I finished in 22:43! That's 90th out of a field of 430. Quite a surprise, actually, because I usually tell myself I'm not very fast, and yet here I was running a 7:19 5K. I know 7 :19 pace isn't "fast" as 5K times go, but it was damn good for me, and it was easier than the last time I ran a fast 5k.
Update: The course was mismarked! They didn't use their certified course, and they're saying that that "overzealous" volunteers turned people around at the wrong marker. The actual distance ran was about 2.88 miles (according to Tony's GPS), not the full 3.1 miles. Had we ran a "real" 5K, my finish time would have been about 24:25. So I didn't set a PR, and my PR stays at 24:00 for a treadmill 5K. I don't know what a road 5K would be.
Race results: 90th of 430 overall, 68th of 198 for men, 14th for 50 for men 40-49. Not bad - I'm sure it's not as competitive as some races, but hey, I'm happy with it. BTW, the winner of the race was a 49 year old man with 15:48.
Rob and I stay together the whole run. Having a race partner was fun, and I'm sure our competitive streaks pushed us to finish faster than we would have racing alone. The whole team finished under 30 minutes.
I was really happy I didn't have any problems with my ankle (it's been having problems since the marathon). I had the plan of running 8:30 or so - training pace - to avoid injury, but as I started out I just felt great, no problems at all, and I just kept the pace up the whole race.
I'm going to put some 5K races into my Ironman Arizona training schedule. I'm sure I've got a sub 20 minute 5K in me.
Today Bill Gates announced IE7 at the RSA conference, and my manager Dean Hachamovitch, GM of the IE team, followed up with a post on the IEBlog.
Both the announcement and the post are short on details, but they cover the main points we're ready to share:
Internet Explorer 7.0 (a full version upgrade)
Beta in the summer
Available for XP SP2
Reaction from the blogosphere, the webdev community, Slashdot, and Firefox supporters has been pretty much as I expected. Lots of webdevs want their usual list of standards supported, lots of other people want their usual list of features supported (with tabbed browsing first), the usual doubts that we'll be able to pull it off, etc. Since we're so light on details, speculation about what is in (or out) of IE7 is all over the map.
The industry press and pundits have been speculating and concluding about Microsoft is going to do about Firefox, security, etc., for such a long time, it's been rather interesting watching the various reactions. I learned long ago not to believe everything I read in the press. My relatively short time on the IE team has made me more skeptical of the press than ever before. The press seems to only rarely let a story go without adding their own particular spin.
For example, CNET's article emphasizes what they term Microsoft's "reversal" of our "long standing policy". IMHO, a policy is only a policy if you do it more than once. IE has been only updated once since that policy was announced, when we released IE in XPSP2.
I read a lot of blogs where people have the conclusion that because we (the Internet Explorer development team and Microsoft) are not talking about IE's development and future plans openly, we either (a) don't value the browser and/or (b) have no plans to talk about.
On the IEBlog and Channel9 I've made comments about having plans we can't talk about yet, and frequently the reaction is skepticism and/or outright disbelief.
So I was very happy to read BillG's comments about Internet Explorer in this CNet interview.
Yes, they still lack detail, but coming from Bill I hope it might help to dispel the myth that IE isn't being actively extended and improved.
My favorite quote:
In terms of our agility to do things on the browser, people who underestimated us there in the past lived to regret that.
I can't wait until I can talk about features in the next IE.
Update: See my post on IE7 ... we're still not talking about features, but it will be a full version upgrade, it will be beta in the summer of 2005, and it will run on XPSP2.