According to Microsoft, the final release of IE7 is fast approaching, really fast approaching. As in, probably this month.
And whether or not most end users know it, IE 7 will be delivered to Windows customers via a high priority Automatic Update just a few weeks after it's publicly available. If you haven't already started preparing for IE 7, its getting late in the day.Scott Graff, an IE7 program manager with Microsoft, states that "Compatibility with sites, extensions and applications has been a very high priority for us as we develop new features, enhance the existing features and move the platform forward to be more secure and standards compliant."
However, in case those of you charged with web standards and compatibility thought you were getting off easy, think again. Its not going to happen like that.
Scott continues with "....as we make key improvements in areas such as layout and security, some changes need to be made by site owners to work smoothly with IE7. These efforts have been ongoing since last year and have been extremely successful but we canâ€™t ensure 100% compatibility..."
Thanks to the Automatic Update Wave, the update to v7 is going to happen quickly. That's probably good. The bulk of the pain will pass in the first few months. The long downside is that over the next year or more, any new web app releases are going to have to certify against both IE 6 and IE 7. Add to this the lack of parallel install support and you can almost start to hear the muted chorus of joy pouring forth from web developers the world over.
Not without sympathy and perhaps some empathy, Microsoft have provided the following resources to assist during this time of tribulation:
* IE 7 RC 1 Download
* IE 7 Readiness Toolkit
* IE 7 Application Compatibility Toolkit
* Internet Explorer Developer Center
* Information Index for Internet Explorer7
* The IE Team Blog
And in case you're feeling under the gun and happen to run a corporate IT environment, MS have provided (rather impractical sounding) instructions for blocking the automatic install of Internet Explorer 7
Bon voyage internauts.