[Preview] Internet Explorer 5.0 Preview (With Pics)
Internet Explorer 5
Contact and Other Information
|Product Home Page:
One Microsoft Way
Redmond, WA 98052-6399
||Mac OS 7.6.1 or later
12 MB free RAM
15 MB of hard disk space
Apple MRJ 2.1 or later
Encoding converters 1.5 or later
Open Transport 1.1.1 or later
|System Used For Testing
||G3 All-in-one 233MHz
Mac OS 9
by Michael Munger
Microsoft will soon be releasing Internet Explorer 5 for the Mac. While they were spending sleepless nights to prepare this new toy, the MS folks have also decided to tease us with preview versions of their new browsing software. We are going to show you some of the new features we found in the preview releases.
This new version will be feature rich. IE 5 is built on a solid foundation with version 4.5's legacy features and then a new rendering engine, a new appearance, more customization options and a good number of interesting new features.
Tasman (the rendering engine)
MS decided to write a whole new engine to speed up the rendering process when you access Web pages. In short, pages will display faster since IE is now smarter when handling them. The big deal is that IE's performance is faster than ever and it doesn't slow down as much as version 4.5 during a long browsing session. A bonus was thrown in: the engine respects Web standards better than previous versions, and doesn't mess your pages up as it did before. While we experienced some glitches in the preview versions we worked with, Microsoft says that these will be fixed for the final release.
A new customizable interface
The new interface is cute. See the screenshot below. It sports the lines that you see on iMac plastics, and a look at the known Mac OS X screenshot will tell you that IE's new interface and Aqua won't be an odd couple. You can change the color of your buttons to the flavor you want, from iMac colors to Graphite, and even PowerBook bronze or black. The default setting is a translucent iMac blue. In this screenshot, we have set the buttons to "PowerBook Black."
You can customize your toolbar and Favorites bar as well. The toolbar let's you choose what buttons you want and in what order you want them. As if this wasn't enough, you can place separators as you see fit, and now you can use folders in your Favorites bar too. You can also group favorites according to a theme (see the screenshot) and access several sites from there. It's not just single URL's anymore.
The Explorer bar is greatly improved by replacing the tabs with a solid bar.
This new feature allows you to do much more than Save As to save a Web page. It's there so you can archive a page's content entirely in case it could change on the site. You never know if the article that gave you your 15 kilobytes of fame will be deleted next week. You better save it now for posterity! Unlike the traditional save function, it will extract a page that can't be reproduced (with form results, for example). Neato.
If you are selling or bidding on an item at an auction site such as eBay, this will be handy. We tracked an item which we put up for auction a week ago and it alerted us when a new bidder made the price rise. If you are bidding, it will tell you if you are still the high bidder and if somebody's bid is higher than yours.
The Tools menu lets you access the Auction Manager, the AutoFill forms feature, the Download Manager, the Related Links and some MSN sites.
If you have QuickTime 4, the Media Toolbar helps you to handle audio and video technology in your browser. It allows you to push buttons such as Play and Stop, to adjust your sound, treble, bass and frequency, and then to group Media Links under one button.
Internet Explorer 5 is more than promising from a preview release perspective. Of course, there were bugs and glitches, but it's not possible to give full evaluation of the product just yet. If the preview is any indication, this will be a solid offering for the Mac from Microsoft. We will be bringing you a full review once the final version is releases.