Weighted Grade Average: A
|PROS:||Includes several enhancments that make browsing the Web easier; available via download for free|
|CONS:||Download from the Internet is time-consuming and unreliable|
Regardless of what has been said amid the legal battle surrounding Microsoft Corp.'s business practices in the browser wars, the developer has produced an exceptional product with its latest version of Internet Explorer. From a feature-set standpoint, Internet Explorer 5 has surpassed Netscape Communications Corp.'s Navigator.
While on the surface Internet Explorer 5 resembles its predecessor, the enhancements quickly become apparent.
Topping the list is the new AutoSearch feature, which makes looking up information less of a chore. Users may select and prioritize search engines from a list. Clicking the search button allows for more than just locating Web sites, however. Users also may find E-mail addresses, Usenet newsgroup postings, stock quotes, maps or items from an encyclopedia. Each type of information sought has its own list of search engines, which can be customized. Internet Explorer also will store the last 10 searches.
With version 4, Internet Explorer introduced an AutoComplete feature that saved time when typing in commonly used URLs. The latest version sports a major enhancement aimed at assisting users who frequently access password-protected Web sites,and have forgetful memories. Once a user starts typing, a window pops up with a list of possible entries. A user also may press the down arrow to bring up the full list of all entries that were typed in that box.
The most promising aspect of Internet Explorer 5 is that it may be customized by third-party developers through an extensibility feature called Web Accessories.
Web developers will want to install the View Partial Source feature from the Web Developer Accessories package. This allows developers to highlight a particular portion of the Web page and have the HTML code presented to them.
The CRN Test Center installed the browser as well as several components via the Internet. The entire download process took longer than expected since the connection to the host was lost several times throughout the download.
Fortunately, a shortcut is temporarily placed on the desktop, allowing the download to be resumed from where it left off. Considering the interruptions experienced throughout the download, the Test Center recommends using the Download Only option while running the initial installation program and installing the program from the local hard drive. This will expedite subsequent installations. Once downloaded, the installation went off without a hitch, and all previous settings and bookmarks were retained.
Also useful for resellers is the Internet Explorer Administration Kit. Through wizards, resellers create and deploy customized Internet Explorer configurations. Resellers also may designate specific configurations for certain users and user groups. Once the configuration is set, Internet Explorer 5 can be transparently installed.