What about browsers then.............

  Forum Editor 12:33 03 Jan 2005

What's so good about Firefox, or what's so bad about Internet Explorer? No anti-Microsoft rants please, let's stick to facts.

As usual, I might want to quote your opinions in the magazine, so if you don't want to see yourself immortalised in print say so in your post.

If there's another browser you think is the best thing since Sandra Bullock then tell me that too.

  smokingbeagle 13:02 03 Jan 2005

for about two weeks. Excellent, user friendly features especially the tabbed browsing but it slowed down gradually over the two weeks so that pages took a longish time to load. Tried everything, I could think of - clearing temp files etc. but no good. I 've gone back to IE.

W2K, dual P3 1Ghz processors with 1G Rambus.

  thms 13:13 03 Jan 2005

Tried Firefox and couldn't see any difference.
More bells & whistles maybe,if you like that sort of thing. Back to plain old IE for me though.

  Taran 13:39 03 Jan 2005

The one feature of Firefox I like above all others is its tabbed browsing, and while I know it isn't the only browser to offer that it does it so well.

The security argument is relative - once any browser becomes more popular and gains market share it starts attracting the virus writers, so this time next year it will be interesting to look back and see how Firefox is faring, given that the way in which it works (no ActiveX etc) is its main method of avoiding many of the known (potential) security issues. Having said that, any web application that relies exclusively on ActiveX controls is goosed to a certain degree if you turn up using Firefox.

I like its ability to handle CSS well (mostly) and it JavaScript handling seems reasonably efficient - better than Opera in my opinion, but still behind IE.

I think its greatest strength could be in its OS support - the latest version of Internet Explorer is Windows XP SP2 only as far as future browser upgrades are concerned. The standalone IE 6 installation may offer (slightly) better support for older operating systems, but if you aren't on at least Windows 2000 or preferably XP in the future it seems likely that IE 7, if and when it appears, will not support your OS. Firefox, on the other hand, works on everything. I have it running on two of my Apple Macs, three Linux machines and several computers ranging from the last Windows 98SE machine I have through Windows 2000, XP Home and XP Pro.

Once more plugins become available for Firefox this will help expand its appeal and abilities, but you already have a great many plugins to choose from including excellent support for Flash and JavaScript, plus the ability to 'skin' the browser and theme it to your own preference. This customisation is certainly a very real strength. There are a lot of people who enjoy creating their own themes or configuring things on their system to look just so. While IE has third party products of varying capability which can skin the browser, having this built in by default is certainly a winner.

The trouble with IE and one point that many people may simply not be aware of is that certain elements of it are crucial to how your PC interacts with data; not just online data either. I doubt that in the near future Microsoft will achieve (or even want to achieve) an effective split where they can separate the browser from the operating system since IE is, in fact, Windows Explorer to a very large extent.

I like a lot of things about Firefox but the mere fact that it is easy and small to download and install, simple to use, has excellent Bookmark (favourites) management and that wonderful tabbed browsing must surely give it a bright future. It even handles the online banking that I've had problems with using other browsers.

As long as security issues are effectively patched as and when they are found and future releases build upon the already strong foundation I think Firefox will come on in leaps and bounds and gain a great deal of market share. Taking into account how neither fish nor fowl NetScape has become, it seems ironic that Firefox is enjoying such success when it shares the same roots, however distant. There seems little to stop it really and I am looking forward to the developments its popularity will bring.


  mbp 13:47 03 Jan 2005

Little to add to Taran's elequantly stated post which I fully second.

  Taran 13:58 03 Jan 2005

I should really have added that the one thing I wish all browsers would concentrate on is correct interpretation of CSS standards, XHTML and even HTML.

Given the fact that CSS is right at the fore of web design, not only for design flexibility but also, crucially, for accessibility issues, it seems ridiculous that no single browser can live up to its claim to fully support any of the CSS specifications.

All browsers claim CSS support to a high degree, yet all of them fail miserably to correctly interpret even CSS1 properly all of the time. Given that CSS 2 has been an approved specification and in use for so long and that CSS 3 is knocking on our virtual doorsteps as I am writing this, I wish that all browsers would concentrate on getting at least all of the basics right all of the time instead of building in bells and whistles, much as I like them.

I'm sure I am not the only commercial web designer who is heartily sick of writing browser specific code hacks or layout styles to try and display a site consistently over all mainstream browsers.

IE/Microsoft is as guilty of this as any other software application - it really is amazing to see the vast differences sometimes on the mainstream browsers rendition of a web page. In this day and age of coding standards, accessibility legislation, presentation issues and so on, wouldn't it be a fine thing to have a collection of web browsers from any software company that could all display the common, day-to-day code used in displaying web pages ?

Choice of web browser is all well and good, but how about all web browsers providing a consistent and accurate base from which we can all operate ?

Dream on...

  Kase 14:32 03 Jan 2005

Who's Sandra Bullock? (I am glad my typing hand is working well today!!). I thought you said " stick to facts" and here is you going on a tangent in the third paragraph.

  stalion 15:07 03 Jan 2005

Always been on IE no problems and will continue to use

  Belatucadrus 15:08 03 Jan 2005

Always a sucker for testing alternatives, I'd tried most browsers, Netscape, Mozilla, Avant, Green, Opera but always ended up reverting to Internet Explorer. Until I tried Firefox, I know some people have found it slower than IE, but on my PCs it's always been measurably quicker and yes I did compare them. It's also stabler in operation than IE, it rarely if ever locks up. Combine this with the tabbed browsing that I find very useful and the security advantages and IE has been relegated to Microsoft updates and those increasingly rare sites that give Firefox problems.

I've nothing against IE, it works very well, but I think that comments from Steve Vamos, Microsoft Australia's managing director, who "does not believe IE's market share is under attack following the recent high-profile début of the Mozilla Foundation's Firefox browser" are extremely complacent, especially when later on in the same statement he admitted he'd never used Firefox. OK so the browser is freeware and part of the Windows package, so perhaps there isn't much incentive to develop it. But the world moves on and sitting on your laurels pretending that everything is fine is short sighted.

click here for some alternatives if anybody feels the need to experiment.

  Taw® 15:09 03 Jan 2005

Use Avant and Firfox and ocassionally IE. Running 1.4 AMD 512 RAM XP pro. When I first downloaded firefox it gave me a terrible time, shutting down on it's own and causing errors etc. Have only started using it this week again (seems to be ok) fault may have been with graphics card will see. However I much prefer Avant as that is what I am comfortable with, however firefox does appear the quicker. I have still noticed that on some sites to get all the features on the site I need to open IE. particularly travel booking sites. What i also miss from IE is I have a canon toolbar installed from my printer making printing from sites an absolute doddle. For some reason Avant does not pick it up.

  octal 15:11 03 Jan 2005

I've been using the then Firebird now Firefox so I've seen it evolve. It still doesn't seem to render some pages as the author intended, but that could be the web authors fault with poor code. It has a good range of extensions and tweaks you can apply to make it highly configurable. I use I.E.6 at work and it seems well passed its 'sell by' date in comparison.

One thing does concern me is it appears to be catching I.E. in popularity if the PC Advisor poll is anything to go by, how much longer will M$ allow that without buying them out, after all, everyone as a price!

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