Better Browsers on the block
Following the recent release of Internet Explorer 7 (IE7), I thought now would be a good idea to scope the competition, and see what the main browsers have to offer. Will Microsoft dominate the browser market with IE7, or can Mozilla steal the show with firefox 2? Read more to see what I think and what I have found.
The browser war returns
Companies are always battling for dominance over the browser market, its an ongoing battle. However after the defeat of ‘Netscape’ by Microsoft Internet explorer in the late 90′s, things died down a bit. That was until Firefox popped up in 2004, which has slowly been clawing back users from Microsoft, turned by the fact Firefox offered better standards support, and better features. Not to forgot less security loophole.
Not only firefox though, other browsers, such as Opera, have also started to increase in popularity. Microsoft had to do something about this, hence IE 7 is now a lot more friendly.
IE7 turns over a new leaf
Well its here, the final release of IE 7, and I must say, first impressions, I’m relieved. Better interface, better standards support, less bugs. Great.
So whats it got?
- Tabbed Browsing – Actually very easy to use, and the add new tab button fits nicely (see below screenshot).
- Integrated Rss Feeds – Allows you to manage and view your RSS feeds within IE. Easy to use.
- Improved interface – If you like a simple interface like me, its got it. Its a lot cleaner, and pleasant to the eye.
- Integrated search bar.
- Improved security – IE now has built in ‘phishing’ filters.
- Better printing – see what your printing with a live preview. Quite handy for sites with no print stylesheet.
- Zoom function – This is a feature copied from Opera, it allows you to zoom into a site to make it larger. Good accessibility feature.
- Pop-up Blocker – What can I say? About time.
Whats it got that other browsers don’t offer?
- Clear type – smooths displayed fonts, makes a lot of sites look nicer.
Can you see a difference? IE 7 is on the left, firefox right.
Thats about all I could find thats unique to IE, not that I mind, I just care that standards are enforced more in this release.
As with all Microsoft releases there are still a few flaws (this security venerability for example), but still, hats off to the guys for coming so far from IE6.
Does your site work in IE7?
If you made your site standards compliant you shouldn’t have too many things to worry about. I know for my site, all I had to do was tweak the form widths via a conditional comment. I do know however you may have problems if you are using the ‘clearfix’ method of clearing. See this post.
If you want to test without installing IE7 check out this post for a standalone version, I for one prefer running IE 7 and having standalone versions from Evolt however. For details on these, and fixing conditional comments in the standalone’s check out this post.
Firefox lashes out
Mozilla are currently working on Firefox 2, I got myself a copy of release candidate 3 this week and took a peek.
Apart from a sexy new skin, they now offer:
- Anti-phishing – Protection from phishing scams.
- Enhanced search –
Search term suggestions will now appear as users type in the integrated search box when using the Google, Yahoo! or Answers.com search engines.
- Improved tabbed browsing – Tabs now have close buttons on them, and closed tabs are remembered.
- Resuming your browsing session – Tabs are remembered after a crash.
These were obviously added to keep ahead of Microsoft, but in my opinion, both firefox and IE both are behind my browser of choice: Opera 9, which has many, and more, of their new features already.
Opera sticks with a solid offering
Opera, in my opinion, is still tops. After all these new releases, and updates to firefox and IE I sit here thinking, Opera has that. Because it does, Opera is truly a wonderful browser. Rather than go into the features of Opera 9, I will just cover them in the ‘browser comparison matrix’ below.
Browser comparison matrix
|Feature||Internet Explorer 7||Firefox 2||Opera 9|
|Web page Zooming||✓||✓|
|Integrated RSS feeds||✓||✓||✓|
|Integrated view source||✓||✓|
|Color coded view source||✓|
|Integrated speech commands||✓|
|Retrieve closed tabs||✓||✓|
That matrix looks very biased, but I don’t work for Opera, honest. If I HAD to find a thing I didn’t like about opera it would be that there is no Microformats plugins (like Tails for firefox), there happy?
And don’t forget the Mobile web…
For mobile devices their are really only two browsers worth mentioning, IE and Opera mobile. In every way Opera mobile came up trumps, only downside is that is costs £25 gbp. But worth it if you surf the web on the move. I will cover mobile web in a future article.
Any one is minimo from mozilla, but I found this browser too buggy to use on my XDA.
My conclusion, I don’t really know which browser will be the most popular! My mind tells me IE, its user base is already there since it is distributed with windows, and now with the standards compliance I wouldn’t mind if it stayed the most popular. Firefox and Opera however are still my personal favorites, and I hope they continue to improve in the future.
What do you think will be the outcome of this new browser war?