December 7, 1998 - Newsletter #5
December 7, 1998 - Newsletter #5
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This is the Goodies To Go Newsletter #5!
Weve been up and running a month now. I consider that an accomplishment. In case youre wondering, you are one of over 5500 people signed up to get this letter every week. Im told by those in higher places it could easily get up to 10 grand within another month. So thanks for reading this. I appreciate youre giving me some of your time. Now on to the topic of this weeks newsletter:
I have had the pleasure of playing around with the beta tester version of Microsoft Internet Explorer 5.0. How did I get a copy you ask? Well, being a major playing in the Internet game, I am alotted some perks that others may not be.
The big sales tickets of this browser are not in the look, but rather in the guts. Microsoft is now pushing this element called "IntelliSense". Ill talk about this in a bit, but first...
Heres what Ive found so far:
The download is time consuming. I only have the 5.0 version on my computer at school because there I have the luxury of an Ethernet connection. Man, is that thing fast. Once again, its a two step download process. You get this half-meg file, click on it on your hard drive and it does all the download work for you. You get the choice though of downloading like seven megs for only the browser and the required components. Or you can choose the 16 or so meg download that includes everything you need to pilot the Shuttle, I would assume.
The interface (look of the browser) is not all that different from what I had before. Now, remember that I installed this myself and told it to keep my current IE settings so that may have a lot to do with it.
The first thing I noticed was the scroll bar. Thats a dumb thing to notice, I know, but it looks a lot nicer than it did. Now it has sort of a 3-D look to it.
I have the Word 97 suite on my system. The 5.0 browser put the Word logo icon right next to the other navigation buttons so I can actually edit pages in Word instead of in Notepad. I do kind of like that.
The "Internet Options" panel that I actually use a good deal has been shuffled in the menus from VIEW to TOOLS. The panel still looks the same though.
There are a few new little text phrases that appear down in the status bar. The one that keeps popping up is "Opening Page..."
The FAQ page about the new browser states that it allows pages to come in faster. If it does, the speed difference isnt yet overly noticeable to me at least.
This is also a silly thing to notice, but when you download something, which I do quite often, IE in the past used to show the download dialogue box and then an alert box would pop up that read "Download Complete". You had to click on it to make it go away. Well, apparently users didnt like that. Now the downloading dialogue box just sits on the screen until you make it go away. Plus you have the ability to check a box that tells the browser to just erase the dialogue box at the end of the download. That new little feature I like alot.
Internal function is where this browser really steps forward. Not only does the browser incorporate HTML 4.0 but also allows the full range of DHTML, dynamic properties, and also XML for those of you interested in playing with the new language.
IntelliSense is Microsofts main selling point for Explorer 5.0. Heres the basic concept: the browser "remembers" and anticipates what you are going to do. Youve seen this feature to a point in the location bar. Have you noticed that on the 4.0 version on Explorer and Navigator that you can type in only part of the URL and then the rest just magically pops up? Whats happening is that the browser is keeping an eye on your history file and if the URL you are putting in exists down the line, then the browser suggests it.
Imagine that, if you will, to the N-th degree. The location bar no longer just suggests by popping up a URL, now theres a whole show that goes on where as the location bar drops down to reveal something like the top three URLs that you might be putting in. You can click on the URL or drag down to it and click the GO! Button on the side. Its actually a little annoying.
But it goes farther than that. If you repeat a task again and again, like filling out a form, the browser will also remember what you type in there. It somehow does it by the type of text box it is, or by just trying to guess what youre trying to write. The Microsoft Excel program does that too. If you type in some text that already appears in the column above, then the text the program thinks you might be typing pops up. It drives me up a tree. I am actually programming the browser to stop using the forms based IntelliSense.
Who knows, I may grow to like it but right now its a little different and kind of gets in my way. But Im sticking with the browser. I want to start playing with 4.0 level HTML full time.
Hey, if you decide to go and grab the beta version and you find something new that I havent listed here, let me know. Also let me know what you think of it. All in all, it isnt a giant step up in looks. Where this browser gets to claim a new version number is in the internal applications you get to help you surf faster and with less effort.
There you go. Another newsletter goes in the can. Hope you enjoyed it. Id tell you what Im going to write about next week, but I truly dont know. Sometime between now and seven days from now a good topic will pop up Im sure.
Thanks for reading...
Joe Burns, Ph.D.
"And Remember: The Indiana nickname 'Hoosier' came from an early pioneer greeting that went 'Whoshyer?' Roughly, it translated to 'How are you?'"