Microsoft finally released to the public the Beta 2 of Internet Explorer 7. It has lots of great features like tabbed browsing and integrated search bar (like Mozilla Firefox) and page zoom (like Opera) among others. It has a nice new interface, although it’s kind of weird to see the address bar way on top of the window.

From a browsing point of view, it is quite pleasant; Microsoft did a good job of enhancing the web-browsing experience. Now that IE 7 has tabbed browsing, it may finally take back those that shy away and moved to Firefox.

The bad side: rendering. We can’t really blame IE 7 for rendering problems encountered by some sites (some of my projects included) since it is still in its Beta stage. However you definitely can’t blame the website developers since IE 7 changed the way it implemented CSS (check out the IEBlog for details). Some CSS hacks don’t work anymore and some hacks that are meant not to be rendered by IE are now supported.

The ugly: for website developers like me that use CSS instead of tables in laying-out content this is definitely not good news, especially if you use CSS hacks. Two of my CSS-based websites were rendered “ugly” by IE 7, fortunately there are lots of resources on the web that detailed “what went wrong.” It is definitely safe to stick with standard CSS and fortunately I have minimal use for CSS hacks enabling me to provide the necessary “adjustments” quickly (lesson: if it looks great now and you used CSS hacks, brace yourself for a chilling ride).

IE 7 has yet taken on its “real” form yet, so it’s quite early to tell how it would affect the users and developers, but it is definitely a welcome update to the aging IE 6.