IE7 Shapes Up

I am sitting here with Molly Holzschlag and Andy Clarke at the W3C Technical Plenary meeting in Mandelieu, France and I am showing them our latest bits, which we plan to hand out for the MIX06 conference (and yes, we’ll hand out publicly after the conference too). They wanted to give me a little challenge and asked me to show them 2 of their favorite pages: Gemination, Egor Kloos’s progressively enhanced CSS Zen Garden design and Malarkey’s personal Web site. Here are Molly’s and Andy’s responses to IE7’s updated CSS behavior.

 - Markus Mielke

Comments (61)

  1. Dave Scriven says:

    Oh well done!

    Good reason to be smug 😉

  2. apostolos says:

    Keep up the good work guys! It seems you’ve got plenty of time to fix all bugs and still get a chance to include the remaining CSS 2.1 features that are missing.

    Line 109> min-height: 15em;

    Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!

  3. Mark says:

    And excellent choice of people to share it with: very nice publicity 😀

    Keep it up!

  4. forgetfoo says:

    wow, this is great news indeed… see? i knew you guys wouldn’t leave us hang’n on the CSS front 🙂

    cant wait to check it out… probably missed it, but has the release date for IE7 been set/given? or will the final be released when Vista rolls out? just curious.

  5. jace says:

    So does publicly mean MSDN subscribers again?

  6. Mitchel Tyrell says:

    I’m still noticing some pages with funny behavior on IE7 beta2 preview, like and Is this the fault of the web-site or IE?

  7. Rob Wilson says:

    Cant wait for the completed version!

  8. Fiery Kitsune says:

    Why didn’t Microsoft try to go for the "Pioneer of Web 2.0 browsing" approach?

  9. José Jeria says:

    I seen several post about CSS improvements, which is very nice to hear (please support display:table | table-row and opacity correctly).

    What I dont see (and that worries me a lot) is anything mentioned about improved JavaScript & DOM support (NodeIterator & TreeWalker). See the following link for some missing stuff:

  10. Markus says:

    apostolos: Andy’s site looks the same without the min-height rules. They do not have any effect on the Layout as long as these boxes are filled with enough content.

  11. ieblog says:

    Fiery K,

    Do you want your new browser this year or next? 🙂

    We’ve commented more than once on the tradeoffs that we had to make to get this new version out in a timely manner.

    – Al Billings [MSFT]

  12. jace says:

    Al Billings,

    So does publicly mean "MSDN subscribers only" again?


  13. Jim says:

    I wonder how many other people feel the same way…

    The number of times I’ve cursed IE and lost time getting sites working in it. Well, sometimes I spend more time on that than all the rest of the design put together.

    Now, I’m happy I won’t have to do that so much. But IE7 still seems like a backwards step somehow.

    It’s pretty obvious to me that when IE7 comes out much fewer people will be driven by the awfulness of IE to try out Firefox/Opera etc. That’s a shame since the technology that excites me the most at the moment is being pushed by Moz and ignored by MS. I’ve been experimenting using CSS with SVG and it seems IE7 will, if anything, reduce support for these new standards.

    It’s not just the fancy stuff: XHTML, for example. Not that I don’t agree with the IE team’s decision to leave XHTML support for later, but come on – I’ve been coding in XHTML for a few years now, and XML isn’t some weird obscure technology.

    I don’t have anything against IE as such, I’m just enthusiastic about the web and want to see web technology flourish. Making an old browser newer so it’s where Gecko was in 2003 is hard to see as exciting progress.

    Maybe IE8 will be the browser I’d hope for, with flawless support for XHTML2, HTML5, CSS3, SVG and passing the acid test. There’s no reason why Microsoft wouldn’t be able to deliver any of these. Hopefully the IE team is just leaving all the really exciting things for 8 and that’s why 7 is just about the basics.

    Here’s hoping for the future of the web!

    (BTW, why are the fonts so small on this blog?)

  14. Tino Zijdel says:

    Regarding IE7’s CSS improvements I’m not so pleased yet; already I’ve accumulated quite a number of testcases that show that IE7 is still not up to par when it comes to standards-compliance. To me it looks as if only work-arounds where added to Trident to fix some of the known CSS-related bugs, but no real substantial fixes; a lot of CSS-related issues in IE6 are still present in IE7 beta 2.

    The two things that are really changed (the layout-behaviour for position:relative and the overflow-model) actually only introduce new bugs…

    As I see it know IE7 will become a browser that will still require additional hacking and work-arounds, and at that different hacks and workarounds then for previous IE versions… not quite an improvement from the current situation where we just got rid of IE/Mac…

  15. Ross says:

    Has the IE Team addressed any of IE’s DOM related bugs, as outlined at ?

  16. Congratulations on the good press and the good work1  Looks like the hard work is beginning to pay off in some respect.  

    I look forward to testing out IE7 when I next upgrade from Windows 2000.

  17. PatriotB says:

    Jim: A backwards step?  Reduced support for CSS?  Care to elaborate?

    Sure, it’s not as much of a forward step as we’d like, and in certain areas (DOM, XHTML) there’s no stepping either forwards or backwards.  But I wouldn’t say that IE7 is a backwards step by any means.

    You listed a number of technologies such as XHTML2, HTML5, CSS3.  Well, XHTML 2.0 and CSS 3.0 are still working drafts, so I wouldn’t expect IE7 to support them until they’re recommendations.  Though I would wager (and hope) that the IE team has already started working on implementing them, within alternate code branches or something, such that when they do become recommendations, they can easily fold the support into the main browser.

    And HTML5?  Is there even going to be such a thing?  I would expect that XHTML is the future and that there will be no more revisions to the old HTML spec.

    Not sure about the fonts… they look perfectly fine for me in IE6…

  18. Garry Trinder says:

    Public means public.  As with the beta 2 preview.  No MSDN membership required.

    -Chris Wilson [MS]

  19. Dao says:

    It’s great to see progress beyond the beta 2 preview.

  20. Mark says:

    YACP: Yeat Another Competitors Praise:

    He’s an Opera-Dev.

    And my thanks for the work too. To please these people is a hard thing to do. And I hope, that you keep the pace after 7.0 got final!

  21. Jim says:

    Sorry, I didn’t mean IE6->7 was a backwards step, what I meant is people not installing Firefox on their new Windows Vista box because IE7 is ‘good enough’. I’m worried this will reduce the number of standards-compliant, future-facing browsers out in the wild in future years. FF1.5 -> IE7 is certainly a backwards step for web standards.

    As for XHTML2 etc. Yes, I agree it isn’t right for IE7, but where are the signs it’ll ever be there? The IE team just don’t seem to have the same passion for advancing the web as the Mozilla guys – they seem to just want to not stay too far behind the other guys and leave it at that.

    Re: the fonts:

    This blog’s CSS uses:


    font-size: 81%;


    That doesn’t bode well for a weblog about standards-respecting rendering. If the user is king, their preferred size should be used – in my browser I set this to the size I’m most comfortable reading, so why would I want the text to be rendered 81% smaller on any particular site?

  22. Nick Rigby says:

    Great work so far.

    However, it will be an absolute disaster if min-height is not supported in the final release of IE7. This is a widely used property that is tentatively supported in IE6 (in that height actually acts like min-height).

    In response to Al Billings, I would rather have the release when it’s ready (if that means next year, then fine), rather than an interim release that fixes *most* bugs. I mean, it’s been over 4 years since the last major release of Internet Explorer was released, so this is Microsofts chance to make a positive start on the right foot, and give developers an easier life for a change.

    Anyhow, I think the IE7 team should be conratulated for the progress they have made with IE7 so far. Thanks.

    Nick Rigby.

  23. apostolos says:


    I’ve studied the code a little more carefully. The part that makes me confident that min-height has been implemented is the "Advertorials" section on Clarke’s blog.

    He’s using the following rule:

    dd[id="books"] { min-height : 75px; padding-right : 80px; background : url(../images/std/recommended-books.png) no-repeat right top; }

    Content alone, would make the box fill up 65, 70 pixels max. He’s not using any margin or padding, so I’m guessing min-height really works. If only the screenshot revealed more content below that part, we’d have a clearer view.

    Can someone from the IE team please confirm this?

  24. … the "Advertorials" section on Clarke’s blog. He’s using the following rule …

    Corr, my CSS file never got so much scrutiny 🙂

  25. It’s great to see progress beyond the beta 2 preview.

  26. David Naylor says:

    "so I’m guessing min-height really works"

    IETeam – has min/max-height/width been implemented?

  27. Nick Rigby says:

    "so I’m guessing min-height really works"

    IETeam – has min/max-height/width been implemented?"

    Cool, if it has, I will be a very happy chap.

  28. @apostolos: the box is 77px high with that content on my bog-standard Firefox 1.5. The background-image is 72*72px, so it’s quite possible for IE to be rendering it to about the min-height without actually implementing understanding min-height.

    Have you tried using the View menu to set font size to "Smallest"? If the box still retains its dimensions (and there’s no other IE-only rule still applying) then it may support min-height, but the reasons you give aren’t sufficient to justify your confidence.

  29. apostolos says:


    I suggested that min-height has been implemented judging from the screenshot provided by Molly and Andy on their blogs. I can’t test setting font size to "Smallest" since I don’t have the new build.

    But now, I’m 99.99% sure that min-height is there!

    I have downloaded the index page of ( Andy, I hope you don’t mind ) and tested use of min-height on Firefox. I took a screenshot from the site, a screenshot from the downloaded version with min-height rules removed and compared both with the screenshot of IE7 ( MIX06 version ). IE7 version with the normal Firefox version is almost 100% layout-identical. Removing min-height rules breaks many parts of the page and partly covers the background images on "Advetorials" section.

    Anyway, it’s almost start of office hours for the IEteam, so they should have an answer for us soon.

  30. mocax says:

    IE7 is looking good as a browser for the masses.

    But for development work, I find Firefox a more convenient tool to work with.

  31. Michael Justiniano says:

    Just a comment, maybe I should post it somewhere else. When posting on, the posting windows is blank, and you have to switch from "Compose" to "Edit HTML".

  32. Markus says:

    Wow, thanks, apostolos, I did not look at it in such a detailed way. It’s a pity that it’s only a few pixels that make the difference, so we cannot be really sure yet.

    What makes me really confident is Andy’s not-yet-revealing-the-secret type of comment. 🙂

    Anyway, we will see soon.

    Have fun


  33. Fiery Kitsune says:

    If IE7 is the long-overdue fix… Is IE8 gonna be the dream browser that changes everything?

  34. jace says:

    Chris, thanks for the response.

    I like where IE7 is heading, I would really love to be able to put the stop and refresh button right by the back/forward though.

    The go button doesn’t seem to make sense anymore.

  35. SympleByte says:

    I know that Internet Explorer 7 beta 2 has been out for awhile, but I just got around to installing it and I thought I would take her for a little test drive.  I’ll include the relevant links at the bottom of the post, but before you rush out and install

  36. Eduardo Valencia says:

    proper CSS support at least youi can reach 2.1 fully,doesen’t matter whatever time it takes,just do it,and stone us all

  37. Xtex says:

    Will the speed in the next release be improved any?

    Sites with large pages (such as one I frequent, are rather slow, especially when it gets to scrolling and javascript 🙁

    like today I had to use an "uncheck all" option… and ie just was hanging there… for quite a while.  I open up firefox and it does it in 2 seconds.

    The scrolling there is quite jumpy (at least with the wheel), and loading the pages is rather slow… compared to both ie6 and firefox.

  38. Pieter says:

    This sounds very good, however how will we be able to test our sites in different versions of IE (I suspect IE6 will still be around for quite a while)? The only solution there seems to be is running virtualPC. But for amateurs like me, this ain’t an option (moneywise). I think Microsoft should be able the give us a way to test our sites in different version of IE in an easy way. Don’t leave us alone in the blistering cold.

    Help Microsoft, help!

  39. I don’t know if this is a bottom margin bug or a relative position bug – can anyone tell me if it’s likely to be fixed?


    MS Explorer Internet Explorer 7 beta 2 release renders the bar just off the bottom of the screen in a fixed position, regardless of other page content.

    The stylesheet uses a relatively positioned DIV which is placed at the bottom margin, but raised up onto the screen with a negative margin-top:

    margin-bottom: 0px;

    position: relative;

    margin-top: -2.8em;

    This works just fine in IE5.0, 5.5, 6.0, Firefox ->1.5, Netscape 7, Opera etc.

  40. A King says:

    I’m running Windows pro 64 edition,

    can anyone at Microsoft tell me what the roll-out plans are for the IE7 browser for this platform?

    I couldn’t trial the beta 2 and as 64 bit is still a minority platform, when can we realistically expect a launch?

  41. Brent says:

    Hi Pieter,

    This should help:

    This is the easiest way I know of to test sites in multiple versions of Explorer. I’m just hoping that this doesn’t breach any laws. If it does, I never posted it. We can all turn a blind eye to something that makes peoples lives easier.

  42. Godfrey Bartlett

    Your doc failed validation, due to no closing ">".

    It seems IE 7 B2, does handle CSS extremely well, unless there are not DTDs or if there is some coding errors, then it completely toasts the CSS. FF and O will still render these mistakes. As the web grows more and more to XML, poor coding and no DTDs, will have to stop. I’m happy to see IE taking the lead here!

    In my book, this is a feature, not a bug 🙂

  43. When try to print on my 6 in one hewlett packard office jet 7410 it will not print and a sign comes up and says turn off cookies and I did so, and it will print; and I can print other things.

  44. Jose Walker says:

    I think that a new good feature for the upcoming version of IE7 will be the following:

    Allow to merge opened IE7 windows into a single window with their corresponding tabs.

    This is to cope with the fact that you cannot get rid completely of multiple IE windows when clicking on links, therefore you might end up with several of those opened. So it would be cool if via a context menu un the window itself, say something like, Merge Opened IE Windows…

    Just an idea.

  45. jace says:

    "Let Internet Explorer decide how popups should open."

    AWESOME FEATURE, Please make this the default!!

    Thank you!

  46. B Chau says:

    a:focus not rendered in IE 7. Try the following and tested in in IE 7 and then in FireFox 1.5 and see the difference:

    <style type="text/css">


    a:link {

    font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif;

    color: #990000;

    text-decoration: none;


    a:hover {

    color: #FFFFFF;

    background-color: #990000;


    a:focus {

    color: #FFFFFF;

    background-color: #990000;






    <p><a href="#">Test</a></p>


    Please fix this one.


  47. Superman says:

    Will IE7 have the option to see a Thumbnail on Hyperlinks? This is really cool. AOL Explorer 1.5 beta does this.

  48. paul says:


    I am trying to find out if I can install IE7 and keep IE6 at the same time. Can you please help me out, or point me in the right direction.



  49. roger says:

    I am trying to find out if I can install IE7 and keep IE6 at the same time. Can you please help me out, or point me in the right direction.


    No you can’t.

  50. Egor Kloos says:

    Looks like IE7 is indeed shaping up. Well done guys. I’m going to have find something else to tweak 🙂

  51. Sometimes IE7 will crash nicely… eg, an mshtml.dll error will close IE7 down quite nicely.


  52. Arnold Tarling says:

    Good show but not enough to dump Firefox:

    Display frame is smaller in IE7

    Deleting individual history entries is smoother with Firefox.

  53. Andreas says:

    what about favicons? I don’t get them on every page. e.g. has one, but I don’t see

  54. Rapier says:

    Organizing plus searching through IE7 favorites. As far as seaching for favorites FF does it easily enough.

    An PURRFECT additional favorites organizing method is right in front of us for the taking.  Just use the tool bar selection process as your guide. Checking favorites from a list of them all. You could also select a folder then build or rebuild by selecting or deselecting favorite sites.

    In the same manner you could build a folder of your favorite favorites that would sit atop all your favorites just waiting to be opened daily.

    Having a search feature while organizing would be da bomb.


  55. hAl says:

    Have you guys tried de

    special acid test without data url’s already on the new build ?

  56. UT says:

    Nice but how do u STOP IE7 opening another window when in other folders on system that doesn’t have the IE7 look.

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