The inevitable has happened. Microsoft released Internet Explorer 7 Release Candidate 1 late last week. This is the final step before Microsoft pushes IE7 on an unsuspecting public... I mean, makes IE7 publicly available. No other release candidates are planned. If that news hasn't shaken you, get this: Microsoft intends to "distribute IE7 as a high-priority update via [Windows] Automatic Updates" near the end of this year. A Blocker Toolkit is available to block automatic delivery of IE7, but I doubt many people outside IT will even know about it. Designers, beware! Like it or not, IE7 is almost here. And it's arrival will be quick and widespread. By the end of the year, a huge number of users will be browsing with it. Even if you've already downloaded a beta version, now is the time to install IE7 RC1 and see what havoc it's going to play with your sites. You may be unpleasantly surprised. One of my sites looked perfectly fine in IE7 Beta 2 (and every other browser), but was seriously broken in RC1. If you're like me and still want to test in IE6 on the same machine, don't despair. Go ahead and install IE7 RC1. Then visit the very excellent browser repository at Evolt and download the IE6 standalone version. I'm running both on my Dell PC without any serious mishaps. The time has come. Good luck, troops...er, fellow designers, that is.