Another IE7 version, another nervous moment

There’s a new version of Internet Explorer version 7 out… and significantly, it’s now being called a ‘release candidate’ rather than a ‘beta version’. Writing on the IE team blog, product manager Dean Hachamovitch says: ‘You may not notice many visible changes from the Beta 3 release; all we did was listen to your feedback, fix bugs that you reported, and make final adjustments to our CSS support.’
Working with the frequent releases of IE7 beta versions has been a double-edged sword. On one hand, it’s good to have a sight of where the product is going. But on the other, it’s always a nervous moment when you open your page designs in the latest beta/RC version.
There’s no hiding from the fact that IE7 will be the planet’s dominant browser, within a few weeks of its final release, scheduled for the end of the year. Users won’t get a choice, as it will be forced upon them. So the only sensible thing to do is to be as prepared as possible… and that means testing against whatever the latest IE7 version is.
Dean’s statement that the adjustments to CSS support are ‘final’ at least implies that things won’t change dramatically between now and release. (There’s also a quote from a Microsoft spokesperson saying ‘That would be our hope, that this is the last (release candidate) before we release.‘) Hopefully that means we can stop worrying about a potential CSS crisis on our lovingly crafted page designs. But it will still be a nervous moment, the day I download the final version for the first time…