Sunday, December 17, 2006

Web Browsers

Hello world (wide web)!

If you chose to see this page you must use a web browser. So it is natural that the first subject regarding computers is the software that enables us to access the world wide web.

As 99% of you, the first web browser I have ever used was the famous Microsoft Internet Explorer (IE). It is the natural choice for everyone using a Windows OS (Operating System) and it is very good that is present in the default package of the system. However, Microsoft's decision not to make real improvements to IE was a very bad one andthey found out this on the hard way. In time the percentage of people using IE dropeed as competitors made huge progress both in functionality and in security. As a consequence IE6 (version 6 of IE) lost his touch with the competition and became really outdated compared to other solutions on the market.

Regarding me, it was not the security issue that made me switch from IE6 to Opera; mainly because back then I wasn't so paranoid about privacy. To be fair I switched to Opera because of the fresh new look, the futuristic icons and the eye-candy. In time I have come to discover all the functionality included in this program and my switch became a logical one. I have come to use intensily the tabbed browsing and the mouse gestures and I could not live without the session saver feature (loading at the start of the program the pages you had open when you stopped the browser).
Tabbed browsing: Tabs let you open multiple pages in the same window and manage them from a single bar (called the tab bar) pretty much like you manage the windows on you computer with the taskbar. So this solutions makes you save a lot of space and time.
Mouse gestures: are less known to the public. Basically you can execute commands by drawing shapes with your mouse on the screen. (Eg: Keeping your right mouse button pressed and moving the mouse down you open a new tab). Although it might sound difficult it is not and it turned to be very useful in fast broswing.

When Mozilla Firefox came out I was quite satisfied by Opera, but I though to give a try to the browser that had such a great impact on the market. The first time I used Firefox I was not convinced. The first impression I had (and I am sure you all got it) was that it was just a IE with tabs. Maybe this first impression and the resemblance to IE was the reason many chosed it. Opera, although a better browser, had a different look and people were reluctant to learn a new program.

Moving past my first impression on Firefox I decided to use it for one week and see the pros and the cons, to see what's all the buzz with it. It is during this week when I discovered THE EXTENSIONS and the true power behind Firefox. This are small add-ons that anyone can make in order to improve the functionality of the browser. Basically you can choose which features to download and use in your browser and which to ignore. With the add-ons I transformed Firefox into a perfect browser for me, a complete custumisation. I added all the functions I liked in Opera and many more. The truth is that the community behind Firefox is huge and the amount of extensions is overwhelming, so if you want a feature you have a pretty good chance someone wanted it before you and you might find such an add-on. On the other hand, if you have some knowledge in programming you may want to make you own extension(s) and submit them for other people to use it.
In the etensions resides the true power of Firefox and both Microsoft IE and Opera have come to understand this. Trying to catch up they both decided to add this functionality in their new versions of software. The rule that competition is very good was confirmed once more as the latest versions of IE and Opera are very good; Nevertheless they still can't match the community behind Firefox and this is why FIREFOX IS THE BROWSER OF MY CHOICE.

Although the lates version of Opera is very good, it still dose not have all the functions I have with Firefox, and even if IE7 is a great improvement over IE6, from my experience using it I found it lacks the support for so many add-ons and custumization. Maybe in time all this will change, and who knows what new versions are bringing, but for now I chose to stick to Firefox.
So here goes
My recommendation for you:
- Use Firefox as your browser. Try it. If you don't like move to
- Opera as it as has many functionalities and is the most secure web browser I know and if you don't like it
- Upgrade your IE6 to IE7 even if you might find the interface confusing at first it is more secure and faster
-No matter what Do not use IE6 anything is better than it

If I convinced you to download & install Firefox there is a link in the sidebar of this page.
p.s. I plan to publish a list of my favourites extensions in the near furure so if you decide to swithc to Firefox you may ask me for help


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Blogger HaRT said...

This is a cliche by now :P
Opera introduced you to the real browsing and then you switched to firefox...

Maybe you should check some security reports and see that Firefox is sometimes less secure than IE.

12:13 PM  
Blogger MindCrusher said...

I really think IE7 is a very good browser and I know they tried to make security the most important aspect. However in my opinion both IE and FF are on the same level.

Opera has the best security... I think Opera is way under appreciated. I still like it but I am more comfortable with FF.

3:16 PM  

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