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What Features Does IE7 Need?

Ed Bott makes the point that, without tab-after-crash recovery, IE7 just can’t compare to the next version of Firefox (or Opera, which has had it for a while). This feature, which Firefox calls Session Restore, is where the browser remembers what tabs you have open and, if it crashes or the computer does, will restore all of them as they were the next time you open the browser. This is the feature I rely on more than any other, because it allows me to keep open tens (and sometimes hundreds) of tabs as items to take care of later on.

Opera’s feature is truly amazing (I don’t know the particulars of Firefox’s implementation), since it never fails to save the tabs, but, more importantly, it even remembers the Back and Forwards buttons for every single tab. Internet Explorer 7 could really use something like that, and it would make the browser far more enticing.

This of course begs the question: What other features would you like to see in IE7. I’d love the session recovery, and can’t use any browser that doesn’t feature it, but I’d also like to be able to position the tab on the side. With a widescreen, most webpages don’t handle the extra width better, so the tab bar makes great use of that screen real estate. I do that in Opera, and it allows me to use a ton of tabs without them becoming difficult. In IE7, I feel uneasy when I go above four or five tabs.

Another Opera feature I can’t live without, that I’d love in IE7, is its back button cache, which, when you hit Back, restores the previous page as it was, with form fields filled in and dynamic content where it was, instead of just blindly reloading the page. This is essential, for example, when Bloglines accidentally open something in its own tab, and I risk losing all the items I hadn’t read yet. Only Opera saves everything for me.

What else could IE7 use? Better RSS handling, for sure. Feel free to express yourself in the comments.

October 5th, 2006 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Firefox, Internet Explorer, Applications, General | 8 comments

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  1. I’d like to be able right click an item and then either search google or Opera and Firefox have this.
    Session is a very nice feature when researching items.
    I’d like a more full featured RSS reader.

    Comment by David | October 6, 2006

  2. Oh, good one! I could not live without the right-click to search. It’s worth installing the Google toolbar in IE, just to get that right-click option.

    Comment by Nathan Weinberg | October 6, 2006

  3. I can’t believe IE7 has effectively lost something I used all the time in IE6, but I can’t find it. I want to be able to duplicate a tab with its current page and all its browsing history. In IE6, you can Ctrl-N to get a new window with the current page and the browsing history. IE7 does the same, but that rather defeats the object of tabbed browsing.

    Moving from IE6 to IE7 should surely allow me to do in tabs everything I used to do with Windows. How can I duplicate a tab?

    Comment by Julian | October 6, 2006

  4. I’ve been wondering about that - I could’ve sworn I had “restore tab group” functionality in one of the earlier betas. Then one day, when IE crashed, I noticed they removed it?! I’m not 100% sure, but close enough.

    Furthermore, I find IE7’s tab support quite nice, if you consider the tab bar to be too cluttered, you can use the dropdown, or the quick tabs button or keyboard shortcut. I have to add, though: it WILL take time to get used to all of IE7’s functions, regardless of your tabbed browsing experience. You just need to slowly adjust.

    One thing has been confusing me for a bit, though: every time I switch from Kubuntu to Windows (and vice versa), I have to readjust to the location of the “close tab” button. In Konqueror, there’s only one button to the right of the tab bar, while in IE7, it’s on the active tab. I don’t mind though, I simply haven’t made up my mind on what’s the superior method. I guess they’re equal, and neither of them should change.

    Duplicating a tab doesn’t appear to be possible, at least I’ve been looking for it, and I couldn’t find it. I agree it should’ve been added. Guess we’ll see it in 7.1, 7.5 or 8, though.

    (Nathan: Cool new theme! I was surprised enough to forget about what I was going to comment.)

    Comment by Tim | October 12, 2006

  5. I can’t believe Microsoft have not implemented the ability to pause and resume downloads in Internet Explorer 7 - if they have, it’s not an obvious option. I do understand that not all downloads are resume(able) but this option is available in other browzers and therefore should be included in IE7 as well.

    Comment by Stephen | October 14, 2006

  6. Dublicate tab is also on the top5 of my wish list. I found a plugin for FF that does the trick, but since the regular shortcut keys can not be redefined, the shortcut ended up being something like CTRL+ALT+SHIFT+T to dublicate tabs…

    In fact I NEVER have the need to specificly open a completely blank tab, so why not just transfer the CTRL+N functionality to the tabs as well?

    Comment by Torben | October 21, 2006

  7. Have found out that if you click in the address bar and do Alt-Enter you will get a duplicate tab.


    Comment by Andrew | December 13, 2006

  8. I would also love to see IE7 implement a session restor type feature, it is the one thing I absolutly love about FF.

    Comment by Nic | December 21, 2006

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