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Microsoft to Update IE7 for MIX Confab

With Beta 2 still a couple months away, Microsoft plans to issue an updated preview build of Internet Explorer 7 at next week’s MIX 06 conference in Las Vegas. The interim release will be what Microsoft calls “layout complete,” which means developers won’t have to worry about future changes breaking their sites.

An IE7 Beta 2 Preview was made available at the end of January with a number of improvements including tabbed browsing and increased security. While Microsoft considered the build to be largely complete feature wise, developers said it required “additional fit and finish work.”

In a February interview, Director of IE Product Management Gary Schare told BetaNews, “There are certainly some changes in the CSS platform and security that will force some level of change.”

The special MIX 06 IE7 release will be distributed to attendees, but Microsoft has not committed to making the build public or available on MSDN. MIX is designed to showcase Microsoft’s renewed investment in the Web through development of new technologies and programs.

Windows Live, Internet Explorer 7 and Windows Vista will all play a central role in the conference, which is targeted at both the entrepreneurs, or strategic thinkers, and the “implementers” — a group that includes developers and designers.

“There will be layout complete version of IE released to the mix attendees well before it is released to the general public. The important thing about this release is that no further layout changes will be made for IE 7.0,” said IE developer Cyra Richardson in an Expert Chat last week.

“The attendees at MIX will receive several items (tools & builds) at the show that will allow them to better test IE compatibility. We will be striving to allow attendees to start testing with the layout complete version of IE7,” added Richardson.

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