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Internet Explorer: Best software ever

I love Internet Explorer for many reasons, but my favorite reason is that it really empowers the developer.  I do not know of any other software that offers such a simple way of building web applications or extending desktop aps. 

Ask Joel, he uses the IE OLE Control in Citydesk and I don't think he mentioned there being a substitute for it besides building your own.

For web applications, what could be easier than data binding or being able to embed some compiled code via Active X?  Java?  Bah!

And for all of you users who messed up your computer by installing a virus or other malware, or by putting your Windows machine directly on the Internet...I don't feel sorry for you.  I've been running the same install of Windows XP for over a year and a half, and because I know what I'm doing, I have no problems.  Same thing for everyone at my company and in my family (I lock them all down, no problems).

As far as usability goes, I'm running Mozilla Firebird right now and as far as I can see, they're trying to look just like IE, except they can't get the toolbars to work right (can't group certain bars together, can't move certain bars like the Google one...).  And the benefits of Tabbed Browsing are questionable at best.

And even if you /think/ Mozilla is more useable than IE, where does this leave the Windows developer?  Using a half assed, unsupported COM control that *almost* lets you extend a Windows app using Mozilla, or just developing a whole app in (chuckle) XUL.

Wayne
Saturday, January 17, 2004

"Ask Joel, he uses the IE OLE Control in Citydesk and I don't think he mentioned there being a substitute for it besides building your own."

The Mozilla browser is also so equipped.

Brad Wilson (dotnetguy.techieswithcats.com)
Saturday, January 17, 2004

Ok, you can sort of do data binding in Mozilla, but it's klunky.

Wayne
Saturday, January 17, 2004

No, I mean for the WYSIWYG editor in CityDesk.  That's only IE I believe.  Unless something changed?

Wayne
Saturday, January 17, 2004

"And the benefits of Tabbed Browsing are questionable at best."

Totally and opinion issue. I'd never again use a browser without it.

My single biggest gripe about MS applications (IE, Word, Excel)is that they litter my screen with windows. Why should every document clog up the task bar? Idiotic! IMHO

Whatever happened to MDI? I liked it!

sgf
Saturday, January 17, 2004

No Mozilla is only on the list of available "Preview Browsers", it's not an integral part of the software.

Yes, Tabbed Browsing is an entirely opinion issue.  I would like all software to be able to switch between MDI/SDI, that would be the best.

Wayne
Saturday, January 17, 2004

Nice troll.

"And even if you /think/ Mozilla is more useable than IE, where does this leave the Windows developer?  Using a half assed, unsupported COM control that *almost* lets you extend a Windows app using Mozilla, or just developing a whole app in (chuckle) XUL."

I will state unequivically that Mozilla is a tremendously more useable browser than IE -- Mozilla empowers the computer user, whereas IE empowers the business partners of Microsoft. This comes through in almost every technical decision made in IE, and most other Microsoft software.

Regarding embedding the browser, I think _EITHER_ option is a shitty option -- If for some reason you need to embed HTML, there are a large number of extremely lightweight, simplistic controls that can render standards compliant HTML perfectly, and don't introduce a slew of security issues or require external dependencies. If you need to stick an IE control in your app because your app is so feature poor and you're hoping to make some money on no technical merits, bravo to you, but don't expect others to support your vacuum of IP.

Dennis Forbes
Saturday, January 17, 2004

I agree with sjf! 

I think the problem with MDI is Microsofts piss-poor implementation of it.  Windows 95 did nothing to improve MDI over Windows 3.1 -- minimizing windows created little taskbar like buttons across the bottom that was some kind of bastard-child mix of 3.1 and 95.

My email client, Eudora, has had it right for a long time.  It's MDI but it has the equivilant of the Windows taskbar inside of it.  It works exactly the same as the taskbar for minimizing or switching windows (or right-clicking to popup a menu w/ the close option).  I currently have something like 20 windows open (messages and mailboxes) -- I would never do that if it spilled onto my taskbar (like Outlook Express does).

If Microsoft had extended the taskbar concept into MDI applications, we might have had tabbed browsing much sooner.

Almost Anonymous
Saturday, January 17, 2004

Sorry, I strongly disagree with you Dennis (on both points), and thanks for calling me a troll, I haven't been insulted yet today.  Sorry, I have an opinion...I'm human though.

What useability features of Mozilla are you referring to, that make it better than IE?

And I think you missed the boat on your comment about embedding a browser.  Simply embedding a browser doesn't mean that an application is feature poor, why do the two have to be mutually exclusive?  I guess you think CityDesk is a feature poor app?  How about the entire Windows CHM Help system?

Furthermore, I suspect that *without* external dependancies, and re-use of existing technology, software wouldn't be built as quickly or with as much quality.  Do you build every widget that you've used to develop your software??

Wayne
Saturday, January 17, 2004

Wayne: you can re-use technology without using external dependencies. Most widget libraries under Unix can very easily be linked staticly, allowing you to use their buttons without depending on the user having any other buttons. The two are not mutually exclusive.

Mike Swieton
Saturday, January 17, 2004

Tabbed browsing is one of those ideas you wonder how you could ever do without it.

The main problem with IE, as mentioned in the previousl thread, is its "integration" into the OS. This decision was made on legal, not technical grounds, and causes all kinds of problems when IE goes wrong, not to mention otherwise avoidable security problems.

Having said that the OP has a point; Netscape basically dug its own grave when it did not allow custom versions of Netscape to be built for client apps. MS, coming from behind, decided to woo the developer community and the policy paid off yet again.

And the main problem with crowded taskbars is that we are all running too many things at once :)

Stephen Jones
Saturday, January 17, 2004

Mike, when you statically link objects like that in Unix, don't you miss out on all the benefits that dynamic linking offers such as shared memory for common objects and such?

I understand that it's got it's advantages...you don't have to test your app everytime a new version of the shared library is released...but I don't think you can eliminate external dependancies entirely if you want your app to do anything useful or meaningful to the user. 

What if the OS changes the way the entire file system works... (WinFS) that's kind of like an external dependancy, same with any other type of protocol... software has to work in /some/ environment, and the environment could change... we're stuck with external dependancies I think, which isn't entirely bad.

Wayne
Saturday, January 17, 2004

sgf,

With WindowsXP you can get rid of the multiple taskbar buttons by modifying the 'Group similar taskbar buttons' option of the taskbar parameters.

Right click on taskbar. Select properties option.

HeWhoMustBeConfused
Saturday, January 17, 2004

First message board troll I've ever seen that had a 100% positive message.

Bored Bystander
Saturday, January 17, 2004

Well.. when IE came out, it was WAY beyond Netscape and anything else!!!

It didn't crash!

All versions of Netscape crashed A LOT, on all operating systems! I used to call it "Netscape Crashigator" or "Netscape Crash Generator".

So, in my humble opinion, the market share of IE is very well deserved.

They made a very solid and stable product which, at the time, was .

It took SEVERAL YEARS for Mozilla to catch up with IE.

Yes - maybe Mozilla is better now - but where was it in the last 6-7 years?

In most of the last 6-7 years, IE was the BEST browser available - had more features, supported more standards, and was a lot more stable than the competition!

Jax
Saturday, January 17, 2004

Also, if you want a quality tabbed browser based on the IE engine, you have a lot of choices:

MyIE2
NetCaptor (which had tabs before Mozilla had them!)
AvantBrowser
SlimBrowser
FastBrowser Pro

All these tabbed browsers are based on IE, are stable and good.

Jax
Saturday, January 17, 2004

I ran both IE4 and Netscape 4 under Windows 95. I had started out with Netscape 2, which came with the ISP, upgraded to Netscape 3, and then moved over to IE3 because my bank offered free internet access. I then used both browsers indiscriminately. I disliked Netscape because of the profiles, and I disliked IE because it mixed up internal and external files in favourites.

To be frank I found little difference between IE4 and Netscape 4. What changed my mind was the advent of IE5 beta in early 98. In fact I'm still running IE5 on my desktop now (though I use Netscape for all except my bank), and my brother's machine is still running the version of IE5 beta I put on in June 1998. Basically though Netscape was out of the market for five years fomr 1998 to end 2002.

Stephen Jones
Saturday, January 17, 2004

"First message board troll I've ever seen that had a 100% positive message."

If the jabs at Mozilla can be considered positive...  I entirely understand this post in light of the other rage-post a little bit further down the list, but weak comparisons to Mozilla were unnecessary and merited the troll classification.

As a sidenote, I use Netscape up until version 4, where I found IE 4 to be superior, and then was an avowed user of IE until IE 6 when Opera 6 came out, offering powerful integrated features like pop-up blocked and tabbed browsing. Eventually Mozilla superceded the featureset of Opera, not to mention that the bloat of Mozilla became a little more acceptable with a GB of memory and tremendously powerful CPUs, and I'm now a very happy user of Mozilla (using the just installed 1.6 right now). I use IE quite literally maybe once a month, and I don't miss it whatsoever otherwise.

As far as what features Mozilla has that IE doesn't, invariably this will lead to the classic "Yeah, but, with plug-in XYZ and the app ZYX and the hack ABC you can do that!". A couple of obvious ones are pop-up blocking, intelligent form filling, tabbed browsing, an excellent download manager, and of course a history of excellent security (versus dozens of IE exploits that Mozilla users have been impervious to). If you're a "web developer" Mozilla offers _incredible_ features that actually work, like script debugging, object inspecting, etc.

Dennis Forbes
Saturday, January 17, 2004

A killer Mozilla feature for me is the "block images" feature. I can right click on a banner ad and block images from that server. After using that for a few days I hardly ever see banner ads.

I used to accomplish the same thing in IE by adding banner hosts to my etc\hosts file, but it's so much more convinient to do it with one click from the browser.

Matthew Lock
Saturday, January 17, 2004

..another killer Firebird feature. Typing in a phrase on the address bar does a Google "I'm feeling lucky" search and displays the site straight in the browser. Once you get used to it, it's *so* much quicker to find things on the web.

Matthew Lock
Saturday, January 17, 2004

Mozilla is a disaster simply because of the whole skinned interface thing.  I believe Joel went into this in a previous JoelOnSoftware post, and I agreed (and still do) with him 100%.  Even when you use the default Windows-like skin for Mozilla, the look and feel similarity is very superficial and annoyingly falls apart for those used to using common keyboard shortcuts, etc.

Mister Fancypants
Sunday, January 18, 2004

You should see Mozilla Firebird, it's keyboard shortcuts pretty much behaves exactly as you'd expect in IE. Even Joel agrees:

"After downloading virtually every Mozilla release over the last three years, this is the first browser I'm actually going to make my default web browser. All the little problems are fixed. It loads fast. It's not ugly and clunky. My beloved Alt+D/Ctrl+Enter work perfectly."

http://www.joelonsoftware.com/news/20030601.html

Matthew Lock
Sunday, January 18, 2004

I agree.  Thanks Wayne.  Mozilla is nice too--almost at IE's level--and already above it if you're debugging javascript :)

Tony
Sunday, January 18, 2004

I forgot to reply to this last night.

"Simply embedding a browser doesn't mean that an application is feature poor, why do the two have to be mutually exclusive?  I guess you think CityDesk is a feature poor app?  How about the entire Windows CHM Help system?"

CityDesk is one of a very few applications that actually works with web files as its core piece of functionality -- leveraging the IE controls in such a case, presuming that cross porting isn't a requirement, makes total sense. When I talked about apps embedding a browser I'm talking about the thousands of completely non-web replaced applications that for reasons unknown stick a browser (or rather "form with the IE web control") in them all to portray the idea that this massive part of functionality is a part of the application. Probably 99% of the apps that embed IE have nothing to do with web editing or content, but damnit there it is.

Dennis Forbes
Sunday, January 18, 2004

I've seen what you speak of...the form with a web control for no reason other than the developer couldn't figure out how to shell the command out.

We use IE in our application to handle custom data entry screens that most of our clients need.

BTW, I'm curious as to whether Mozilla has a "Break on Error" mode that will stop and highlight the line of code that the error ocurred on?

Another question for those of you who like Mozilla's Javascript debugger... have you ever used Microsoft's debugger?  You can do step into/over/etc. and object inspection, I don't understand how you do this in Mozilla.

Wayne
Sunday, January 18, 2004

"I don't understand how you do this in Mozilla"

Tools | Web Development | Javascript Debugger

fool for python
Monday, January 19, 2004

...and some links:

Learning the JavaScript debugger Venkman:

http://www.svendtofte.com/code/learning_venkman/

Debugging JavaScript Using Venkman:

http://www.webreference.com/programming/javascript/venkman/

The Venkman page:

http://www.mozilla.org/projects/venkman/

fool for python
Monday, January 19, 2004

I heard that the only thing Big-M ever created was "clippy", and that everything else they either bought or stole. IE is only used widely because Big-M forced computer manufacturers to put it on their computers.  The early versions had such security problems - it was incredible. BTW - where is Big-M's JavaScript  client side debugger? I have yet to see one.  I use and write content for IE because so many idiots out there use it. Otherwise, I'd use Mozilla excluseively. It has problems, too, but it was out there first, and is now supported by developers for developers. I'm kind of liking XUL right now, and I'm a Big-M certified professional developer, with all the latest and greatest stuff. LongHorn, Yukon, Virtual PC, you name it.  I think all the Big-M products are suck-holes carefully engineered to drag customers into needing more and more Big-M products.
Screw IE and Big-M. I'm tired of having to re-write stuff because they obsolete versions so frequently.  I'm sick of having to re-learn where they putt all the OS-calls this time around, and buy all the special books to figure out where they've hidden what I need in their new Object model.

Don Juan
Friday, January 23, 2004

Okay, I've been a long time user of IE until I met Mozilla. It's simply superior by far.

First of all, the crash-count is wa-a-a-a-ay down. Finally, some stable software, rather than M$ crap.
Second, it quite wonderfully imported everything for me, so I could go on using it right where my IE usage left off.
Third, it replaced both IE and OE with superior software, and it even threw in a really nice IRC client years after I removed mIRC(right after installlation, it was that bad), and went to seek a suitable replacement, but to no avail, until now.

It's security tools are by far superior. I can't believe you actually hail IE for it's ActiveX support, or as I like to call it "the feature that lets porn popups install dialers and trojans on your computer without you knowing, like comet cursor". If you haven't already set all the ActiveX options in your IE to "Disabled" then you're just asking for a net-based harddrive format.

Now if you really must have a web-baed application that's beyond HTML+JS+Server side scripting(or just ASP .Net which does all), I would strongly recommend Java, if only for it's sheer compatibility. Although really, there's nothing I can think of that can simply be done with JS and a couple of tricks.

If you still think you need something you can't accomplish with JS, there's always Java, which is far more portable, and far superior to any other web-programming method. In fact, MS are now trying to catch up with it using their new Longhorn and .Net and manged code technologies, but with the backwards compatibility of Java, and the fact that it can do everything a client-side software could do without breaching security(unlike ActiveX which is client-side software and breachs any known level of security), there's simply nothing that can be done now to surpass it. For advanced web applications, especially ones that require real-time communication with the server, Java is the ultimate answer, and the amount of applet chat-clients and internet-games(3D shooters no less) should speak for themselves. Besides, it's real easy to code in.

As for XUL, at least to me, it doesn't seem more powerful than JS with some built-in ActiveX components. Just more complex. It does have the extra capability of non-reload server communication, though, which you don't get with normal JS code.

Explorer does have a couple of advantages over Mozilla:
* A is 1 key away from Alt button, B is about 4 or 5. They should have made it "Bookmark&s"
* IE(as of 5.5) has run-time editable HTML. It's a neat trick, but one should really find better more compatible ways to create an editor. Ironically, neither has a RichText edit control.
* IE has universal scroll.
* IE has necessary OS components, although I wouldn't really call it a plus, just a reason to have it installed.

On the other hand Mozilla has:
* Stability and Security(Without using Windows Update, woo!). I could elaborate about ActiveX components, or programs in IFrames, but what's the point? There are already enough web-sites describing IEs yet unfixed security holes.
* Ability to navigate through EVERYTHING using tab, rather than being tab-stuck on the first embedded flash.
* A better download manager(Although with some room for improvement).
* Viewing page sources larger than 32K without having WordPad installed
* Viewing in-frame sources.
* Better frames handling.
* Enhanced visual HTML editor, with manual tag optimizing capabilities.
* Accessory programs to replace your mail client and IRC client while you're at it.

So for people using IE and/or OE or even mIRC, I have to recommend Mozilla as the natural upgrade. With the exception of your IRC settings(Actually, I'm not really sure about it not applying), it would import all of your settings and data perfectly.

SlugFiller
Friday, February 06, 2004

http://smalldesk.sourceforge.net/robin/

Go there with a Gecko Based Browser (K-Meleon, Mozilla, Firefox, Galeon, Beonex, etc).  This is what XUL W/Javascript can create.

I truly love Firefox.

Amos Vryhof
Wednesday, March 10, 2004

How far can stupidity can go?

Windows isn´t the only OS in the world.

Filipe
Friday, June 25, 2004

>> Well.. when IE came out, it was WAY beyond Netscape and anything else!!! It didn't crash!  <snip>
>>So, in my humble opinion, the market share of IE is very well deserved.

If you follow this line of thought you also agree that Mozilla Firefox now deserves the biggest market share. Since nowadays it is firefox that is the stable answer to MSIE's instability.
And please don't tell me msie doesn't crash and is stable. I work in support.

>>Yes - maybe Mozilla is better now - but where was it in the last 6-7 years?

Who cares? Where was IE when Netscape was still the leading browser?

>> In most of the last 6-7 years, IE was the BEST browser available
True. But lets not start on how they made it that way. And now there are better browsers available.

>> had more features
This was once true. Not anymore.

>> supported more standards
ROFL! You have got to be kidding! They don't support standards. They just take what they can use and make up the rest.

Simply put: the strong points of MSIE diminish as the version numbers increase. A bit like the whole Windows OS actually.

liezie
Monday, July 12, 2004

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