Despite many technologists' belief that IE7 should undergo another beta cycle or two before it's release candidate time, this morning Microsoft released Internet Explorer Release Candidate 1
. According to General Manager Dean Hachamovitch, the release "includes improvements in performance, stability, security, and application compatibility," and apart from those users won't notice too many differences. "A release candidate is fundamentally different from a beta," says Hachamovitch, "With the exception of a very short list of issues we're aware of and working on, we think the product is done." Microsoft is soliciting user feedback on the release candidate and plans to release the final version of IE7 in Q4 of this year. Paul Thurrott has a brief review of IE7 RC1
up on his site, in which he concludes, "It's not a perfect browser, but IE 7 is hugely improved, and even in this prerelease version is worth considering." Oh, and for keyboard-centric users (like me), there's a new quick reference sheet
of all of IE7's keyboard shortcut at the IEBlog.