I installed the Internet Explorer 7 beta 2 yesterday and I wish I hadn’t. Aside from the fact that the new IE still isn’t comparable to FireFox, the damn thing broke how I use my feed reader, FeedDemon. Let me explain. FeedDemon is a standalone, desktop feed reader. Built into the software is an IE browser to view web pages when clicking on links in feed items. My typical reading pattern is to open multiple tabs within FeedDemon as I see interesting links (just like I browse in FireFox). After installing the IE beta, every time I open a new tab in FeedDemon, a new IE 7 window is opened (separate from FeedDemon). This is incredibly frustrating, but I’m sure these types of issues will get fixed (ok, I’m not really that sure).
I was originally excited about the RSS reading features within the new IE, but that optimism quickly faded when I tried adding a few feeds. Even the newest users of feeds will marvel at the lack of any features to work with RSS. You can add a folder for a new feed when you add it, but there’s no way to manage these feeds after initially subscribing. Also, you have only one option for reading – you see every feed item. There is no option to only view unread feeds or the popular “river of news” method of reading. IE 7’s implementation of RSS right now is very basic. The bright side is that RSS will be opened up to many more people. Hopefully, when they get fed up of IE, they’ll move on to better products for reading RSS feeds.
There is one feature I like in the new IE called Quick Tabs. Dave Pogue’s review in The New York Times sums it up nicely:
…you can summon a sheet of Web page miniatures, offering a handy, visual, clickable table of contents for your open tabs. IE 7 can also memorize a fleet of open tabs, saving them as a single bookmark. Later, one click opens them all again, arrayed just as you had them. Similarly, when you quit the browser, it offers to memorize the current open-tab setup, so that later you can pick up where you left off.
Overall, if you already use FireFox, there is no way you’ll be switching back to IE. But for those who have never tried a browser other than IE, the new version is a significant improvement.
UPDATE: You can easily remove IE 7 beta 2 via the Add or Remove Programs feature in Windows. Removal will revert back to the previous version of IE.
Tom, just an FYI that I’ve already contacted Microsoft about the “Open in new tab” bug, so they’re aware of it. The next FeedDemon build (coming soon) includes a workaround for this problem, just in case it doesn’t get fixed by MS soon.
Thanks Nick! Keep up the great work with FeedDemon. It’s by far the best feed reader in the market.
Have you considered using the Firefox hack to enable you to use Firefox in FeedDemon. It works well and the latest version fixed some issues with how they talk to each other. The main reason I do this is for the sake of better security. But some would argue it is not necessary.
As for IE 7 I have absolutely no intention of using it, I can not stand IE for various reasons, too long and numerous to put here! Cheers.