Can your Web site take the heat?

Internet Explorer Version 7 will be released this summer, causing meltdowns and mix-ups

Lori Griffiths
Wild Web Works

Internet Explorer Version 7 is releasing soon and it could cause a complete meltdown of your company’s Web site. Approximately 62 percent of Internet users worldwide use Microsoft’s Internet Explorer. Microsoft is scheduled to release a new version in the second half of 2006.

Version 7 of this popular Internet browser is hailed as a major advancement in security, privacy and protection for end users. Some of the added features include:
• defense against malicious software,
• tabbed browsing,
• reading and subscription to RSS Feeds,
• increased safety and security for e-commerce,
• URL handling protection,
• ActiveX opt-in,
• Windows Defender, a built-in privacy protection,
• parental controls, and
• advancements in printing.

The new release also promises to provide platform advances for web and application developers. Web developers are all too familiar with current Internet Explorer limitations, lacking in some development tools that other browsers have already embraced. This new release includes support for cascading style sheets, a rich RSS feeds platform, support for developing interactive Web applications (AJAX Support) and transparent PNG graphic file compatibility, a must have for designers working with this graphics format used specifically on the Web, among other things.

Although the release will be a positive step forward for the popular browser, it is likely to wreak havoc with some existing Web sites. Web site developers have been forced to compensate, or "write hacks" in Web site code specifically for Internet Explorer to overcome some of its deficiencies. When the new release attempts to run this code, Web sites may not react predictably.

Microsoft has already released www versions, which are available publicly for testing.

In order to insure that your Web site works as intended in Version 7, you should thoroughly test your Web site before the update is released to the public. While you’re at it, test your site for compatibility with as many browsers as possible, including Internet Explorer 6, Firefox, Internet Explorer 5, Mozilla, Opera, Internet Explorer 7 and Netscape.

At this point, it would be very difficult to predict the problems you may encounter when you preview your site in IE Version 7. Web sites that contain dynamic elements and more advanced functionality are expected to encounter more problems.

If you don’t have Web site programming experience, locate a qualified Web site designer to test your site. Authorize them to test the site and provide you a report of the findings. If there are no problems, you know that your Web site will continue to run after the update. If there are issues of non-compliance, you can ask the designer to provide a quote to fix them.

Computer users are expected to embrace the new features and functionality of Microsoft’s Internet Explorer Version 7. Start your testing now to guarantee your Web site will glow in the light of this new version and not spontaneously combust.

Lori Griffiths is chief finance officer of Wild Web Works, which offers quality Web site design and hosting services. In business since 1999, the company relocated to Vancouver in 2005. Call 360-882-9005 or visit for more information.