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Old 22nd Oct 2005, 17:22   #1
John Self
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Default Browsers

Like most non-techie people, I tend to stick with what I get in terms of PC features, so I've always used Microsoft Internet Explorer for all my web-browsing needs. However, conscious as I am from more technically minded folk like Wavid and Blixa that it is, apparently, completely shit, I decided to switch over today to Firefox.

And now I'm wondering why I bothered. Presumably there are lots of great features but I haven't found them yet. I've also found several minor niggling things like...
  • some pages and images take longer to load than in Internet Explorer
  • There's no audible click when you click a link
  • the bizarre Favourites toolbar along the top which does things strangely - some Favourites appear in it while others don't, and if I click my Palimpsest favourite link, it splits the existing broswer window and only opens Palimpsest in the left hand side, leaving the old webpage that I wanted to click away from, still open!
  • Floating text when you hover your mouse over an image doesn't appear
  • The 'tab' function is of no more useful than opening another browser window, and when you have two or more tabs open, you then have four or five rows of toolbars etc above the browser window, making the visible area smaller than it would be on Internet Explorer
So what exactly are the advantages? I know there are security issues etc. but as I'm fully tooled up with Norton I'm not terribly worried about them.
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Old 22nd Oct 2005, 17:51   #2
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Default Re: Browsers

My reasons:
  1. It renders Cascading Style Sheets properly;
  2. Bookmarks make your favourite sites only a click away;
  3. Viewing the source of a page colour codes the HTML;
  4. It keeps a better history of visited sites than IE;
  5. Tabbed browsing allows all web pages to be in one window;
  6. Being modular so that I can install extensions to improve my FireFox;
  7. The status of multiple downloads appears in one window;
  8. Advanced dealing with popups, ActiveX components, etc.
  9. I think it looks better;
  10. And, most importantly of all, it has people continually developing it

I hadn't noticed about the click or some tooltip text not appearing on mouse over events but, to be honest, I don't see it as a great loss.
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Old 22nd Oct 2005, 18:54   #3
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Default Re: Browsers

Just for example, here's a view of my FireFox window with my three extensions:
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Old 22nd Oct 2005, 19:38   #4
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Default Re: Browsers

Internet Explorer is rubbish. Just for starters, before XP Service Pack 2 came out last year, IE hadn't been updated for about 3 years. 3 years! So Blixa's point 10 is pretty important. Firefox, being open source, is being constantly updated and upgraded, keeping ahead of security problems and keeping in line with proper web standards.

Lack of image tooltips is actually lazy web design: using just alt and not title tags in the HTML. I have know doubt that the sites I maintain are guilty of this, before anyone says anything!

Tabbed browsing is brilliant and after a while you won't believe you lived without before, seriously.

I think after a while, once it has had a chance to build up a reasonable cache, you will notice it is a lot quicker at loading most websites than IE.

Your favourites issue can be solved with a bit of organisation, mate. To get the icons in the toolbar the bookmark needs to be in the Bookmark Toolbar Folder. I never use bookmarks anyway, I tend to just use Google.

On my setup, I four tabs open as homepages: Google's Customisable Homepage, Palimpsest, Gmail and my blog. Then I have the Google Toolbar installed, and the top right search box searches Wikipedia.

When I use IE at work I get seriously frustrated with how un-intuitive it is.

So give it a few weeks, John, and I guarantee you won't go back to IE.

What other browsers do people use? I know wshaw uses Safari on his Mac, and Max has mentioned she uses Mozilla - though I hope she is referring to Firefox, because the last I heard the original Mozilla suite was a bloatfest from hell. Any Opera or Netscape users about?
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Old 22nd Oct 2005, 19:45   #5
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Default Re: Browsers

I also have Opera and Netscape - as seen on my desktop - although, like IE, I only use them for testing webpages when I'm using CSS.
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Old 22nd Oct 2005, 19:49   #6
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Default Re: Browsers

Yes, Netscape is quite useful for testing in that you can swap between the IE and the Firfox rendering engines.

Opera's rubbish, though, isn't it?
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Old 22nd Oct 2005, 19:51   #7
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Default Re: Browsers

Yes, it is. It's supposedly good for phones but I've got an antique mobile so it's no use.
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Old 22nd Oct 2005, 23:06   #8
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Default Re: Browsers

I use Firefox. But as I am a web designer (60% of job) I also use IE, Opera, Netscape and Avant to check.

But I quite like the other Freeware browser, Avant http://www.avantbrowser.com.

It seems to run and use some of the IE's setup, but has tabbed browsing. It also comes packaged with a RSS reader. You have to install this feature for Firefox.

If you are looking for a change from IE it is probably a softer landing than Firefox. That said I use Firefox, as I came across if first.
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Old 23rd Oct 2005, 0:47   #9
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Default Re: Browsers

Don't believe the hype JS.

I'm techy, or i should be; i'm in the biz. I don't like Firefox either. I expressed this opinion to one of my converted colleagues three or four days ago and he looked at me like i'd broken into his house at Christmas and pissed on his kids (to borrow a Peter Kay expression).

As JS pointed out, I don't like the decreased viewable screen space associated with Firefox's tabbed browsing. I've been opening links by 'open[ing] in a new window' for years now and this is effectively tabbed browsing in itself, and you get a nice full page layout everytime. The tabs/new pages are just relegated to the taskbar - where they belong.

You can get those button favourites in IE, very useful.
You can get Google toolbar in IE, very useful.

So Firefox is more secure, mmmm, there's the trade off though between that and the indefinably 'looking shit' quality of Firefox. I take IE every time.

I rarely use 'History', and when i do, it's perfectly adequate.
Most of those modules are just a bit of a waste of time, c'mon, let's be honest. They clutter the desktop with superflous information and clutter the mind - clean desk policy gentleman, you know it makes sense.

I tried it, and i really tried to like it, i really did; i just don't.

I may be proved wrong of course - it's happened before, rarely. The next iteration of IE has tabbed browsing built in apparently - we'll see.
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Old 23rd Oct 2005, 8:37   #10
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Default Re: Browsers

Not wanting this to turn into a holy war or anything, but button favourite and the google toolbar are both there for Firefox, and as for the looking shit, well, it can look like whatever you want it to look like - there are thousands of skins available for it!
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