Is one browser better than another? Which one is best? Much the same as with most products, “best” is a relative term. To some degree browser choice is a matter of preference, but there are a few things to consider. Web developers often prefer Mozilla’s Firefox because most all new web design techniques display well when viewed through Firefox. For the most part, the same can be said of Google Chrome and Opera. The “odd one out” also happens to be the most popular, Internet Explorer. But does it get a bad rap?
Long ago the number one Internet browser by far was Netscape Navigator. That was before Microsoft started packaging Internet Explorer as an integrated feature with its Windows operating system, for “free.” That began many years of Microsoft domination and numerous versions of IE. That domination motivated the open source community to develop “better” alternatives. Firefox first started to appear during the rise of the open source Linux operating system, but perhaps its mainstream growth of the last few years can be attributed to the failings of IE.
It should be noted that over the years, Microsoft has been unfairly targeted by viruses, and IE has taken the heat. Perhaps due to this, Microsoft has been slow to support many new technologies that allow web pages to display as the designer planned. When designing a site, web developers have to account not only for how IE handles code, but how all the past versions of IE handle, or don’t handle code; the fact that IE has been so prevalent for so long means older versions still exist on enough computers to make them relevant.
To be fair, IE has gotten a lot better over the years, and as of this writing, IE11 does seem to have caught up to HTML5 standards and delivers most sites very well. But mentioning IE11 brings up yet another issue. With each frequent release of a new IE version, many websites have to be adjusted to deal with the new versions. For example, many online banking sites tend to be slow to adapt to new versions of IE. Having said all that, there are many cloud applications built upon Microsoft technologies such as Active Server Pages and .NET Framework that work best on IE, and it should be noted that IE is leading the way in trying to protect user privacy (but that is for another blog post soon to come).
So which browser is best? The answers, as is oft the case, is in the eye of the beholder; however, we can offer a bit of advice: if the site you are viewing does not display correctly, try viewing in another browser and you may be pleasantly surprised. It is always a good idea to have at least two, if not more, browsers available on your computer.
Wait! What about Apple Safari? Stay tuned for another blog post about Apple products.
Free ComBlog Tip: if you have two accounts with the same company, such as Google, and want to be logged into both at the same time, log into each one with a different browser. 5/7/14 Written and Copyrighted by Computer Networks and Design, LLC. ©2014