Chatter amongst the web design community is getting louder now with the recent release of Internet Explorer 7 beta 2. With much improved CSS support, there's been concerns that CSS hacks used to 'fix' IE 5/6 are no longer necessary, but might still be picked up by IE 7 and thus rendering the page incorrectly. The IE 7 developers have even made it a point to warn web developers about this and NOT to use IE-specific hacks relying on flawed CSS selector parsing. Instead, they are recommending using another IE proprietary feature, Conditional Comments, to import style sheets specific for earlier versions of IE should they be necessary.With dread in my heart, I downloaded Internet Explorer 7 Beta 2 and followed the instructions on how to install a standalone version so not to wipe out IE 6 which I'd still need to use for testing. I'd feared that the sites I've built would be completely broken, as some of them require IE hacks to fix glaring problems with its implementation of CSS. Thankfully, this is not the case, so far. I opened up Fritz Gelato (which has CSS-based drop-down menus), Massage Works and my own site here, and all seems well. (phew!) This is one reason why people should be embracing web standards - it ensures forwards and backwards compatibility, as browsers are progressively improved and follow the specifications closely (as they should). I will still need to continue checking the other sites and 'unfix' them for IE 7 as necessary. On one hand I'm glad that IE is finally cleaning up its act, but still, I worry that not everybody will upgrade when it is released. Just like how we still need to test for IE 5/5.5 for people still running Windows 98, I suspect IE 6 with all its flaws and bugs will be around for a while yet.

Internet Explorer 7 beta 2