Microsoft published a white paper which might be of interest to those who did not yet decide to deploy Internet Explorer 7. Actually, I am one of them. Some months ago, I posted an article where I recommended not deploying IE7 before 2007. Well, it is already end of March and I am still not convinced.

This white paper outlines in detail all well-known advantages of IE7 in a corporate environment. There are features like RSS support, tabbed browsing, and page zoom which are certainly interesting improvements compared to IE6. IE7 has also some features that might make an upgrade worthwhile from a sysops' point of view. Most important certainly is its improved security. There are also some improvements with respect to manageability. For example, the IEAK7 allows you to control the settings of IE more tightly, especially if you use Group Policy.

But IE7 has some downsides, too. I'm not talking about the IE-Firefox controversy. In my view, Firefox still can't rival with IE in corporate environments. I set out my position about the Firefox-vs-IE issue in detail before.

The main counterargument for deploying IE7 is compatibility. The majority of web applications still rely on IE6. If you don’t know exactly what web sites are important for your users it is hard to find out if this might be a problem for you.

Another point is that so far none of our users are asking for IE7. This might sound a bit odd since it would be my job to choose the best tools for them. However, I have my doubts that the move from IE6 to IE7 would really improve their productivity. So if our users don’t have any real advantage, why should we invest time to deploy IE7? This certainly depends on the kind of work they do and it might be completely different in another environment.

As to security, it always was my opinion that IE's security problems are often exaggerated by the media. We have been using IE since Windows 95, and we never had a security-related problem with it. We now have approximately 600 PCs, more than half of them are reserved for students. Our university has about 40,000 students and they are all allowed to use these computers. So, a large part of the Web had been and still is being accessed from our site over the years.

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Still, you never can have enough security, if it is affordable. Thus, sooner or later we will certainly deploy IE7. However, I still feel no pressure to do this anytime soon.

1 Comment
  1. BIL 14 years ago

    We can't deploy IE7 even if we wanted to (which we do not) because it breaks too many applications. I do like the tabbed interface and the zoom feature, but that is about it.

    I absolutely HATE the way they have changed the menus/toolbars etc, as does every single personal acquaintance of mine who has tried it. In fact, it is because of the screwed up user interface that we have not switched to Office 2007 (which sports those same, crappy changes to the UI.)

    Oh ... I long for the good ol' days when we could at least rely on Microsoft to maintain backwards compatibility.

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