It’s comes to a matter of what’s more secure, useful, less bothersome, and just overall better. There’s also Opera and Safari, but the big dogs right now are IE7 and FF. (NOTE: This is not a technical review – it’s opinion-based).
Personally, I just use IE7. I’ve really had no problems with it. It’s crashed a few times before, like only 3. The only other thing remotely annoying is the ActiveX prompt. That’s it. I appreciate what it does, and it does it well. It’s not really complicated or anything.
Firefox is cool too. It does offer more extensions (because it’s open source) and freely allows developers to put as many as they want. So that’s cool. Plus it was like the first browser to actually do some good compared to old IE6. But I hate how it’s a real resource hog, and it’s really slow compared to IE7.
Plus I’ve read articles that claim Firefox really isn’t that more advance in security. It’s just the low adoption rate. Although since it is rising slightly, we are seeing more frequent attacks coming. So win some, lose some.
I love the Windows Live Toolbar, because I’m kind of a fan of Live Search and I like how you can add buttons made by developers. I use Wikipedia as my browser search box.
IE7 Pro is also awesome. Many of the pro users use it. It includes some handy features not available in IE7. My favorite and most used is really the inline spell check. It gives a red underline to any misspelled text I put in. Real useful. It also contains a lot of other goodies, which you can view on their site. Free and safe to use.
So my IE7 isn’t really weighed by anything. So it just works and I appreciate it.
So here’s the low-down:
Firefox is great if you can’t get IE7. That’s like on Windows XP SP1, Windows ME, 98, Linux, OS X, lots of systems. Pretty much does anything that a browser should do. Many people appreciate how the stability is compared to other browsers, and the many extensions it offers. Note, it is not any more secure than IE7 based on features.
If you’ve got Vista and SP2, IE7 is a great offer. It works for the most part, and it isn’t as bad as people may want you to believe. I think most criticism of IE7 comes from past users who never appreciated IE6 compared to Firefox, or they’re just simply Microsoft haters, and never even tried IE7. Whatever. It’s just a dumb browser. I could care less.
So that’s about it. That’s my opinion on the browser debate. Safari just sucks, hands down. Opera is noted for it’s speediness and reliability compared to Firefox.
I’m also putting up a simple IE8 wishlist. Here’s what I want:
1. More support for web standards – I’ve heard lots of developers complaining about CSS and that kind of stuff. How it’s harder to work for in IE than it should be. And a bunch of other stuff. Silly really. I mean is it really that hard to support all these web standards? Stop being proprietary Microsoft. Developers want an easy way to do stuff, and making it difficult doesn’t make them happy.
2. Cross platform – Works on any OS. Whether it’s Windows, OS X, or Linux. People want to be free, and I guess as long as their still using your software, you should be happy. No reduced functionality either. We want the real thing.
3. Fix up the UI – IE7’s UI is a mixed bag. It’s ok, but they could have done better. One thing I don’t like, is the zoom level button. I would really love a magnification slider bar, like in Office 07′, instead of the quirky selection option provided.
4. More built-in stuff – How about adding a built-in pop-up blocker? Live Toolbar offers it, yet IE7 doesn’t? I mean a pop-up blocker seems important to me. And how about already supporting the latest version of Flash, or Java or whatever it is. Inline spell check? Maybe an adBlocker (which of course clashes with Microsoft’s adCenter)
5. Better security – IE7 already has some better security within itself (definitely compared to IE6), but it could still work on it. Like installing updates faster? Getting those patches quicker? Make the browser invincible? Just kidding. I don’t know how, but just make it more secure than what it is. Without slowing users down.
6. Pass the Acid2 test – If IE8 passes that, then I’m guessing most people won’t hold a grudge. Of course, it’s said that FF 3.0 is already compliant.
Do all 6 and people will trust you again. Firefox is winning right now with popularity, so if IE doesn’t shape up in the next version, or takes too long, than IE is a lost cause. Microsoft might as well start digging a grave for IE.
Like I said, I could care less about internet browser wars, but it wouldn’t hurt for Microsoft to actually ‘try’ instead of depending on their current marketshare to do it for them.