IE7 Beta Still Can’t Handle Port Numbers

I discovered today that Microsoft had released a public beta of IE7 so I decided to have a look. It only runs on XPsp2, so I applied sp2 to an XP image running under VMWare, which only took an hour and 400 reboots. Anyway, once I got the OS to the proper level, I installed the IE7 beta. The first thing you have to do is prove to Microsoft that you are running “genuine” Windows software. I have no idea what got transmitted to Microsoft when I agreed to do this, but apparently it was enough to convince them.

The thing installed in about 10 minutes and then ended with… wait for it… a required reboot! Who would have guessed? Not me… So after rebooting again, I see a nice shiny new IE icon in my quick launch area. Running it brought up the new IE, fairly quickly. I don’t like the new interface at all, and I’ve found a few quirks (just try adding a new search provider by clicking on the “Settings” button next to the description that says “Add or remove search providers” for an example). But the thing that really stuck out for me is that IE still forces you to enter the http:// protocol when the website you want to visit needs a port number. In other words, instead of being able to just type this

http://www.mymachine.net:8080

I instead must type

http://http://www.mymachine.net:8080

which is insanely annoying since I never type that anymore. (Nor do I ever type “www” unless I absolutely have to because the site in question hasn’t bothered to setup their DNS properly.)

Could someone please explain to me why IE still can’t handle this properly? Firefox can. Opera can. Even Konqueror and Safari can. Heck, even Lynx understands it for Pete’s sake. Why on Earth, with all of the development resources that MS has, can’t they fix this?

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5 thoughts on “IE7 Beta Still Can’t Handle Port Numbers

  1. I agree with you, but in theory IE is more correct. Since www is just a servername it isn’t theoretically enough. Since 80 is an IANA port for HTTP, it is safe to assume it is http protocol. If you specify a different port then IE has no reason to assume that http is the proper protocol to use and therefore they aren’t “wrong” to make you type it. However, that is pedantic BS and they should just assume that HTTP is the protocol unless otherwise specified or the IANA port is known to be FTP.

  2. This is mostly an annoyance for me as I’m developing (JBoss on 8080 locally) and most websites run on 80 so the majority of users never encounter this. But it’s very annoying for me and I’m surprised that IE still maintains this behavior while every other browser I could find does it the “right” (IMO) way.

  3. It means that normal users need to take a computer science course to use IE 7. IE7 is NOT smart. Firefox and Konqueror is much smarter.

  4. I remember when all browsers did this…totally annoying.
    If they are going to argue that it’s more “technically correct” to not assume http, that’s a little inconsistent. It’s not “technically correct” when a user types “foo” into the address bar to first try “www.foo.com”, “www.foo.net”, etc…then give up and send a search for “foo” to MSN or Google either, and they do that.
    It’s a web browser. Pretty safe to assume that the user is looking for http if they don’t specify anything.

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