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Microsoft Ships Internet Explorer 7 for XP 'Release Candidate'

Microsoft has begun shipping the first release candidate of Internet Explorer 7 for Windows XP, putting the first major update of the company's browser in years on track for final release on schedule.

"Our intent is to ship the final product in the fourth quarter," said Margaret Cobb, group product manager on the Internet Explorer team, in an interview.

After Microsoft completes beta testing a new product, but prior to its final release, the company ships one or more "release candidates," or RCs. If no further "showstopper" bugs are found, the code is released to manufacturing, or RTM. If important bugs are found, the company's developers fix them and ship a second, and sometimes a third, RC.

Although the company is prepared to release more than one RC if necessary, right now the plan is to only have a single RC before RTM, Cobb said. "If we get enough feedback to do an RC2, we will," she added. Microsoft released Beta 3 of IE7 for XP on June 26. The RC fixes several bugs that were found during Beta 3 testing.

Because of the security improvements included in IE7, when the final code is available, Microsoft plans to make it a high-priority update on its Automatic Update and Windows Update sites.

Besides further security improvements over XP Service Pack 2 with IE6 SP1, IE7 will include new features such as tabbed browsing and integrated RSS (Really Simple Syndication) reader. RC1 also includes support for seven languages, with plans for support of 35 different languages at final release, Cobb added. A verssion of IE7 for Windows Vista will ship when Vista is released.

Internet Explorer 7 RC1 can be downloaded here.

About the Author

Stuart J. Johnston has covered technology, especially Microsoft, since February 1988 for InfoWorld, Computerworld, Information Week, and PC World, as well as for Enterprise Developer, XML & Web Services, and .NET magazines.

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