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Browser Wars II

When will Microsoft fire it's next (first) shot?  There was a time when the Browser Wars seemed to have ended and Microsoft declared the winner.  Now with the continous releases of Mozilla, Firefox, etc... it seems that the Browser Wars are brewing again.

I admit to using Internet Explore 6.(whatever) and have no problems with it.  The pages display very nicely and everything  seems very fast.  With the addition of the Google toolbar, I pretty much feel my browsing needs are met.

What am I missing by not using Mozilla or the Firefox tech preview?  Tabbed web browsing windows?  Is that it?  That doesn't really seem too exciting or worthwhile of a feature to me...

BTW, I have downloaded and tried Mozilla (I'm using it right now) and it is nice and fast, but it doesn't render the pages in a look and feel that I am used to.  I do like the "Page Info", "Cookie Manager", and all the other stuff located under the "Tools" menu.  Those are features IE should have.  Honestly though I wouldn't use them that often.

Man this reminds me of Netscape!

TedSwanson
Tuesday, February 10, 2004

Don't forget Opera !

Figaro figaro figaro FI-GAAAA-ROOOO !

Kentasy
Tuesday, February 10, 2004

The only thing mozilla has against IE IMO is default immunity against spyware (since nobody uses it, it's not worth trying to poke holes in).

That alone was good enough for me to switch to it for basic browsing.

Aaron Boodman
Tuesday, February 10, 2004

Yes and it is only a matter of time, if they want to overtake IE they will need to support all the same plugins - and when they do that they will also be supporting the same security holes.

The other thing, about tabbed browsing - does nobody have the new MSDN libraries installed? The new MSDN Viewer program supports tabbed browsing plus you get the convenience of having all the pages rendered "correctly" or "incorrectly" as the W3C nutters will state. But like the OP I find absolutely no use for tabbed browsing since they included the "collapsing" task bar in Windows XP.

And on Microsofts next shot - I think that will be the popup blocker and download manager in XP SP2.

Chris Ormerod
Tuesday, February 10, 2004

I noticed Mozilla has a limited IRC client.  I can't really understand why?  mIRC is the best IRC client for Windows hands down. 

I wonder if IE 7 will have an IRC client? :)

TedSwanson
Tuesday, February 10, 2004

What's this about the MSDN viewer supporting tabbed browsing?  I haven't heard of it.  Is it good?

Roose
Tuesday, February 10, 2004

What do you mean by good?

It as useless as tabbed browsing in any other browser. :)

The actual program is called "Microsoft Document Explorer".

If you have one of the newer MSDN Libraries installed (or the .Net framework SDK I think, or VS.Net 2002 or 2003) it is the program that opens when you open the help.

Chris Ormerod
Tuesday, February 10, 2004

Internet Explorer is a dinosaur.  Unfortunately MS could leave it as it is for a decade and the other browsers would still probably make no impact on market share.

monopoly in effect
Tuesday, February 10, 2004

I've found tabbed browsing to be useful in Opera (which lets you dynamically arrange tabs as you go) and basically worthless everywhere else.

Sam Livingston-Gray
Tuesday, February 10, 2004

OK, I've used that since I have VS.NET 2003.  But it's not really like IE, because you probably can't put the google toolbar there, and all that stuff.  It's just like a tabbed interface which happens to have an HTML renderer.

I am happy with IE, but sometimes I do have too many windows open and tabs would be nice.  I don't really like the Window XP taskbar group thing, makes it harder to find things actually.

Roose
Tuesday, February 10, 2004

I use Mozilla because it has built-in popup blocking and
a fairly high level of ad-blocking stuff built in.  Whenever
I use IE, I'm stunned at all the silly ads that I never
see otherwise :)  Another trick I use - that
works nicely in Mozilla and IE too - is to put a bogus
address for ad.doubleclick.com in my system\hosts file.
This kills a good number of ads, particularly of the more
annoying animated variety.

x
Tuesday, February 10, 2004

I love my Opera... I'm not going to try to justify it, I just do...

Jack.

Jack of all
Tuesday, February 10, 2004

I use MyIE2. It's a free, tabbed browser which uses IE as it's engine, so you still get the compatibility.

http://www.myie2.com/

There are tons of tabbed browsers based on IE:

NetCaptor
AvantBrowser
SlimBrowser
Advanced Web Browser

James
Tuesday, February 10, 2004

somehow, after a while, I always seem to get pop-ups already when starting IE. My homepage changes.... all this kind of bullshit which I never have with FireFox. I love it and  it;s getting better every time.

Guyon Morée
Tuesday, February 10, 2004

Don't forget Avant browser. Nice, tabbed browser with popup blocker.

Free /donation requested software.

The real Entrepreneur
Tuesday, February 10, 2004

I am a fan of MyIE2, http://www.myie2.com/

Before that, I used (and purchased - it was shareware) NetCaptor, http://www.netcaptor.com/.

However, I notice that the Mozilla engine is faster - pages render faster.

Also, the program seems cleaner than MyIE2.


One of the features I like in MyIE 2 is the fact that if I close a tab by mistake, I can press the undo button, and it will open the closed tab again.

It works even with multiple tabs.

Is there a way to do this from FireFox?

Also, is there a way to save a group of pages as a bookmark, like in the MyIE2 "groups" feature?


Thank you!

MX
Tuesday, February 10, 2004

I use Mozilla flavored browsers since 99. I am using its light version since Phoenix and now I am very happy with FireFox, thank you.
Of course sometimes I use IE for some broken sites, but the differences in look&feel aren't enough for me to use IE, I guess it's because I am used to viewing the web thru other browsers.
"Browser Wars II" is better defined as "Browser battles here and there", as there was only one "war" and netscape was defeated.
(OT. I am posting this from a newly loaded knoppix linux with kernel 2.6 with mozilla 1.6 and the whole system seems more responsive than with kernel 2.4)

Dewd
Tuesday, February 10, 2004

It would be a little tricky to undo a close tab in Mozilla/Firefox, it might be possible by picking up the history and re-rendering it.

I'd guess that's how MyIE2 (such a horrendous name puts me off completely) does it, either that or a close tab isn't a close at all but a hide.

Simon Lucy
Tuesday, February 10, 2004

As always, the next salvo in the browser war will be IE specific code that won't render in any other browser. Something every webmaster will have to have because it's functional and 1337.

Didn't Joel write an article on this? How Microsoft plays the game of constantly causing the competition to have to scrable to catch up?

My guess is it will be some nifty technology that's traditionally thought of as Windows only being added in to IE, though it seems Macromedia seems to be firing the first shot here with Flex, it's only a matter of time before Microsoft does it bigger and better.

However, they can't get too carried away because without IE on the Mac or Linux, those operating systems will be excluded from using certain sites... Or maybe that's the point.

www.MarkTAW.com
Tuesday, February 10, 2004

MX,

Firefox does let you bookmark a group of tabs - it's a checkbox on the normal bookmark option (bookmark all tabs in a folder), and it creates a new folder in your bookmarks list.

Once you've got a folder in that list (regardless of how it got there), you can open everything in it at once by right-clicking on it and selecting 'open in tabs'.

Ben Scofield
Tuesday, February 10, 2004

There is no Browser Wars II, it's not about brand or market share.  This is like saying Emacs is set to kill Vi.  People are starting to find that certain browsers fit them better and make their lives easier.  Good for them, choice is always a good thing.

Lou
Tuesday, February 10, 2004

I gave Firefox a try last night, after using IE for years.  Really, the only big differences are tabbed browsing and pop-up blocking.

There are lots of smaller differences, which are nice.  There are better shortcut keys.  You can right click on an image and say "Block images from this site."  The preferences dialog is MUCH cleaner and simpler than in IE.  This alone is enough to make me consider switching.

Junkster
Tuesday, February 10, 2004

The centralized and extensive Extensions library is the primary reason I use Firefox. There are tons of incredibly valuable Extensions that are either not available for IE, or you have to dig around to find them. I can't tell you how immensely useful the "Live HTTP Headers" extension has been for debugging web work.

Brad Wilson (dotnetguy.techieswithcats.com)
Tuesday, February 10, 2004


I use Opera 7. Tabbed browsing, advanced popup blocker, mouse movements, completely useless mail client. :)

Flasher T
Tuesday, February 10, 2004

I jumped ship from Opera 7 to Firebird and don't regret it. Firebird/Mozilla has mouse gestures as an extension, but Mozilla's "Find link as you type" and "Find text as you type" features make the mouse largely redundant. Bliss!

And yes, it's a shame about Opera's email client because they've got some really nice features, like virtual folders.

Go
Tuesday, February 10, 2004

Agreed Brad.  I also think I'll find much use out of the Javascript debugger.

GuyIncognito
Tuesday, February 10, 2004


We can argue endlessly about whether particular features (tabbed browsing, gestures, etc, etc) are good or not, but the real point is that all new features ideas are coming from people other than MS, and that's the problem with the IE dominance.

Once MS eliminated it's enemies, it basically just stopped working on IE. (Sure, they've made some small incremental improvements and some bug fixes, but nothing significant, I'd argue.) Particularly because they don't make any money directly off IE, so they don't need new feature lists to get people to upgrade (cf. Office).

So the point of supporting competative browsers isn't that IE is bad, per se. It's that without some competition to light a fire under it, MS just sits on its ass.

Bill Tomlinson
Tuesday, February 10, 2004

Sure MS has not done much to improve IE.  But I think it is because for the majority of users there is nothing wrong with it.

All us developers are praising the benefits (rightly so) of the other browers but most people don't give a damn.

Microsoft develops for the masses,  not for a small segemnt that wants the extra features.

DJ
Tuesday, February 10, 2004

Oh, I dunno about MS sitting on it's ass. They've already announced that they won't make a standalone browser anymore, and I'm sure we're gonna see some interesting stuff in Longhorn, but I think I've already made my thoughts on the matter fairly clear.

www.MarkTAW.com
Tuesday, February 10, 2004

NOTHING WRONG WITH IT!?!?!?

1) incomplete support of CSS.  There's a ton of CSS stuff that would make web-dev's lives much easier that IE doesn't support.

2) Horrible, horrible security problems.  I understand the marketshare argument has some validity to it, but I find it insufficient to fully explain all the security problems IE has had.  MS has been playing whack-a-mole with the security problems instead of refactoring the architecture to fix the core problems.  As evidenced by the latest "disable feature" method of closing security vulnerabilities, the development of IE is in trouble.

3) A few UI problems.  Microsoft Office comes with a script debugger.  Users install office and now get pop-up errors every time there is a frigging javascript error on a web page.  Why isn't there a "disable script debugging" checkbox on that popup?

I loved tabbed browsing.  I use it in conjunction with the XP taskbar grouping to organize my browser windows.  Related items go in the same window in different tabs.  Different groups of items get their own window.  Keeps the ALT-TAB list manageable with lots of pages open and reduces the need to use the back/forward buttons.

Mozilla is also much nicer to use with web development (ASP.NET development even more so, ironically).  Live HTTP Headers, DOM Inspector, Javascript debugger, syntax-highlighted View Source, View Selection Source, better favelet support ("test styles" rocks!).

The big thing that makes Mozilla a million times better for my ASP.NET web development is actually a little thing - more correct caching.  IE will cache a page based on the URL.  In order to get a new version of the page, you have to change the URL.  Refresh won't do it.  Hitting Enter in the address bar won't do it.  Since ASP.NET involves a lot of pages posting back to themselves, it's harder to see the changes in IE when doing development.

So yes, the browser wars are on again.  MS still has marketshare, but their morale is buckling.  Mindshare is shifting away from them.  They obviously want to turn MSHTML into an upgrade incentive like Apple is doing with Safari.  "If you want to see all the new web pages as they're supposed to be, you have to upgrade Windows".  If Windows v.Next doesn't come out soon enough, this could be a very bad move for MS.

Richard P
Tuesday, February 10, 2004

I forgot to add that Firefox is noticibly slower than IE 6 on my old machine.  On a modern machine, I suspect the difference isn't noticible.  But for me Firefox takes longer to start up and longer to render pages.

Junkster
Wednesday, February 11, 2004

the "undo close tab" function is one of the many features of the tabbrowser extension (TBE).

Martin
Wednesday, February 11, 2004

Junkster - that's interesting. Firefox is way faster than IE6 on both my work and home machines (and no, I don't have loads of cookies installed for either of then ;-)

I know it's been said before, but the EditCSS plugin for Firefox completely rocks when you're doing web dev (using css :-P). Doesn't help much with IE though, since it barely seems to support css :(

SteveM
Friday, February 13, 2004

personally I would prefer Opera, very advanced browser, check out the "zoom" option.
Opera.com

and if anyone interested to buy inkjetcartridjes at a very discounted prices
here you go
http://www.fitsout.com

glebster
Monday, February 16, 2004

http://www.inkjetfinder.net - Epson, Canon, HP, Lexmark, Brother, Xerox, and Brother replacement inkjet printer cartridges.

zaza petrovitsky
Thursday, March 18, 2004

Seems like everyone's complaint re. IE seems to be lack of a popup blocker.

HINT: www.google.com  Download and install the google taskbar which also blocks popups.

To me this is great because I use Google for my seach engine anyway and I also use Google Groups whenever I run into a brick wall when developing.  I don't think MS have done the wrong thing by not including a popup blocker - I actually like ability to choose which blocker I want to use in my browser.

Rob
Thursday, May 20, 2004

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