Working with Pre-Release Browser Versions
By Keith M. Swartz on Jul 21, 2006
[Editor Update May 21, 2008: Keith has moved on to another team within Oracle and, sadly, is no longer an active contributor to this blog. Feel free to direct any questions about his posted articles directly to Steven Chan, instead.]
Editor Dec 14 Update: IE 7 is now certified with the E-Business Suite. See Microsoft IE 7 Certified with Apps 11i.
Like Steven, I'm rather particular about the web browser I use every day. (Pick up a copy of O'Reilly & Associates' Firefox Hacks and scan the list of contributors in the Preface -- you'll see just how strongly I feel about it.) Since the majority of my working time is spent there, new features and improvements are often a strong motivator to experiment with beta and pre-beta test versions of new browsers. But being early releases, one must use caution and discretion before throwing them onto your primary machine, and especially before using them in any kind of production setting.
Still, that shouldn't keep us from looking, right?
Welcome (to) Bon Echo
Last week, Firefox users were treated to the first official beta release of Firefox 2, which had previously gone by the codename "Bon Echo". The new major version -- which is really somewhere between a minor and major release -- offers several valuable new features, such as:
- Safe Browsing (built-in anti-phishing protection)
- tabbed browsing enhancements (such as reopening closed tabs)
- inline spell checking for text boxes
- better support for reading and subscribing to RSS feeds (like this one!)
- session restore capabilities
- Microsummaries (bookmarks with dynamic titles updated in real time)
- a search plugin manager
The final release of Firefox 2 is expected in the third quarter of this year, and will support a wide variety of operating systems, including Windows 2000, Windows XP, Mac OS X, and Linux.
Not to be forgotten, the behemoth of the web browsing business is also getting ready to release a new version.
Internet Explorer 7 Beta 3 is the final beta release of Microsoft's first major browser update in nearly five years, and adds significant features that bring it more in parity with the other leading industry browsers.
The new IE brings to the party new features such as these:
- improved security features
- tabbed browsing, including "Quick Tabs" preview and auto-restore
- new streamlined interface
- improved printing support
- support for RSS feeds
- instant search box
Internet Explorer 7 is expected to ship later this year, and will only support Windows XP Service Pack 2 (and the forthcoming Windows Vista operating system, but that's a topic for another posting).
The Support Folks Make Me Say This
Unfortunately, Oracle does not support beta browsers when using our products. So please do not use any version of Firefox 2 or Internet Explorer 7 with Oracle E-Business Suite (or other Oracle products) in production use until we have announced certification for the final versions of these browsers, which will hopefully happen sometime shortly after their release.
Now That Your IT Manager Has Left the Room...
Okay, so certification and support notwithstanding...if you're like me, you're probably eager to try out the new version anyway. So what can you do?
The answers will be coming soon. I'll be writing a couple of "HOW TO" posts that will tell you how to gain some familiarity and experiment with these pre-release browsers safely, and without interfering with your certified and supported production browser.