Anyone who knows me knows that I’m a big fan of the IE front end called Avant Browser. Apparently, I’m not entirely alone. Microsoft itself has included a link to Avant Browser to the featured add-on section of the IE7 Web site.

And you can’t get much higher praise than that. It’s tantamount to admitting that Avant Browser (AB) knows how IE really should be done. That’s evident when you compare the ‘bare’ version of IE7 with Avant Browser installed on top of IE7. Of course Avant Browser works just fine with IE6 and adds all the glam of IE7 to that tired software.

Now, I’m not going to write a full review of the software. I’ve done that before, so search back. Instead, I’ll cover the general things. Avant still has all its easily accessible security features, like popup blocker, Flash animation blocker, and image blocker. It also keeps the tabbed browsing, built in RSS feed reader, and RSS link bar that it’s had for over a year. It gains new page load progress meters on the individual tabs and the simple ‘Close Tab’ X button on each tab that has shown up in IE7.

Speaking of add-ons, we can’t ignore other categories. It’s something seldom mentioned by a lot of other browsers or front ends. What they won’t tell you without a lot of digging (or at all, in some cases) is that some popular add-ons aren’t compatible. Avant Browser, though, has some high-level support. You’ll find that Google’s toolbar is right at home in AB. The same holds true for RoboForm, which is actually bundled with the AB download, if you need it. I’ve also found that GetRight download manager has no problem with the IE-AB combo. I used to run ‘that other’ IE front end, but found that I had endless problems getting any of the popular download managers to work right. There were problems of missing download hooks, which is terribly annoying to me. Transparent action is my mantra. Do it right without pestering me or get out of the way :).

I could go on for pages about the mouse gesture controls and the specialized controls for handling web graphics, but I’m getting tired of typing and breakfast is a fading memory. Suffice it to say, Avant Browser is worth investigating. It knows how to do IE right!

[tags]ie 7,browser,microsoft internet explorer 7,avant browser,ie front end[/tags]