Posted by Neil Crosby on October 9, 2005 04:44 PM
A couple of days ago I bought this month’s issue of PC Plus magazine (#235, October 2005). It’s the only computer magazine that I regularly buy; primarily because of Wilf’s Workshop, but also because it’s normally fairly balanced about things. This month, however, I’ve had cause to become a little annoyed by it.
In the magazine, John Brandon compares the IE7 Beta 1 with Firefox 1.0.6 and Opera 8 and comes to the conclusion that the future release of IE7 will be a far superior product to those currently available from Mozilla and Opera. If Microsoft was the only company of the three to have a preview version of their next browser available at the time of writing the article then this would have been okay. As it turns out though, there was certainly a developer preview release of Firefox 1.5 (Deer Park) when pen was put to paper (IE7 Beta 1 was released on 29th July, Firefox 1.0.6 on 19th July, and the Deer Park Alpha 2 on 12th July).
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m really looking forward to the release of IE7 (if you already read this blog you’ll know that). The IE7 blog has been being very transparent about the things that they’re doing, and it looks like great things are being done. Anything that brings standards compliance to the majority of web users has got to be a good thing, and as long as IE7 follows through with the standards compliance that it’s been said that it will be following then this will be a massive step in the right direction. But the fact remains that IE7 is playing catch-up.
I should point out at this point that I have not tested IE7 Beta 1 myself, since I do not have an MSDN account, and so I am relying on accounts from the official IEBlog and other sources when I describe the capabilities of IE7 Beta 1 here. I should also point out that I don’t have a huge amount of knowledge about the development of Opera, which is why I do not refer to it here.
My first point of contention with the article is that it revels in the fact that IE7 Beta 1 implements “limited CSS 3.0” support. However, according to the IEBlog,
Beta 1 makes little progress for web developers in improving our standards support, particularly in our CSS implementation. The entry continues to state that this increased CSS support will be coming in Beta 2. So, it seems as though the article is already muddling things which were in the Beta which it tested and what is said will be available in the final software release. If the article had used the Deer Park preview as its Firefox comparison version then that too would have had to have been given a “limited 3.0” rating.
Next up in my annoyances is the completely factually incorrect assertion within the article that in order to subscribe to RSS feeds in Firefox and Opera you need to install plugins. This may be true of Opera, but it most certainly isn’t of Firefox 1.0.6, which was tested in the article. In fact, wasn’t Firefox the first of the major web browsers to actually have a built in RSS reader? Hardly a case of “IE7 one-ups them with built in RSS support”, especially when the RSS support hasn’t actually been implemented yet!
It should be noted that John Brandon is a writer for “Official Windows XP Magazine” as well as PC Plus, and has
been a beta tester on just about every subsequent Windows release. Lately, he has immersed himself in Windows XP, writing tutorials, reviews, and Focus Guides. A big Softy then. It’s just a pity that the article he wrote for this month’s PC Plus was just a great big advert for Internet Explorer 7, rather than what it should have been - a balanced overview of the next generation browsers from Microsoft, Mozilla and Opera. But then if it had been, people like me wouldn’t be writing things like this, would we?
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