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A Web Developer and Their Browser

There are several web browsers available and if you are a web designer, there is a good chance that you steer away from Microsoft’s Internet Explorer. This is because they have historically had a very poor history of honoring web standards, as well as having a number of gaping security holes.

In the past, Internet Explorer was much more closely tied to the Windows Operating System, meaning that when a vulnerability occurs, it was much easier to maliciously attack the operating system. Vulnerabilities are nothing new and can be found in all web browsers, but this close association with the operating system, as well as so many gaping security holes, made Internet Explorer a popular choice for hackers and other criminals.

Today, Microsoft is getting better, both in regards to adding a layer of abstraction between the operating system and the browser, as well as making baby steps towards honoring the HTML standards. However, it is still common for things to work fine in more standards compliant browsers, such as Firefox or Opera, with a number of silly hacks required to get the same styled output in Internet Explorer.

Also, both Firefox and Opera have several features that make it easier to look at a webpages HTML and inspect the different elements on its page, as well as analyzing forms, viewing headers, and all the other things a web developer needs to do. So, it is no surprise that most quasi technical people, web developers especially, do not use Internet Explorer.

So What Are My Options

There are several web browsers, but Mozilla Firefox and Opera are two of the more popular choices, unless of course you use a Mac, in which case Safari is the default web browser. Opera still lags well behind Firefox, and for that matter most other Browsers, but this is mostly due to people simply not really knowing about it.

Personally, I use Firefox most often, as there are several extensions that I use on a daily basis, most notably Firebug, which lets you inspect a pages HTML and debug Javascript. Opera offers something similar, but to me it is just not as useful and easy to use as Firebug is.

Firefox also has a built in spell checker, so whenever I write something online, I can be reasonably sure that my spelling is correct. The search function in Firefox is also very nice, much more useful than most other browsers, as it allows you to search at the bottom of the page, without interrupting your browsing. This differs from other browsers, in which the search function pops up an extra window. However, the new Internet Explorer, IE8, has now “stolen” this feature and fixed their search a little bit.

With that said, I really like how fast and nice Opera usually renders pages. The Speed Dial, which lets you select your more regularly visited websites is also very useful. I have also found that Opera generally does a better job with password management than Firefox does, as well as being more customizable by default. Another neat feature of Opera is that by default it lets you go backwards and forwards using the scroll wheel, assuming you have a multi access scroll wheel, so you can push left to go back, right to go forward, and up and down to scroll on the page.

The one thing that keeps me from using it all the time is that while you can set up a filter list to block certain content, you can not quickly disable it. Also, the last time I checked you couldn’t white list a website, so the filter option is either all or none. However, this might have changed.

Other than Firefox and Opera, Google recently unveiled their own Browser called Chrome. There are also several open source browsers built on the Firefox Framework, such as Swiftfox, which is optimized for Linux.

Why Older Versions of Internet Explorer Need to Die

I’m sure that the majority of developers will agree with me when I say that one of the most frustrating things about developing a website is cross browser testing. Any developer worth their salt will fine tune the website they’re developing to look near perfect in any browser and I can tell you that from my own experience, this can take time.

When you look at how the Internet has evolved, the number of browsers has grown considerably and the HTML features that they support has equally changed. Whilst there are literally hundreds of web browsers out there, the key players are Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, Apple Safari and the bane that has always been mine (and I’m sure I’m not alone) Microsoft Internet Explorer.

I am an avid user of Google Chrome but whilst I don’t mind the occasional browsing using Internet Explorer (IE), it is always the one browser that seems to throw up most of the issues when developing a website. In past years, I have developed websites where I’ve had to alter something for IE and it subsequently breaks in another browser. This is not time best spent when you’re working to a deadline! In recent years, IE has got a lot better with regard to web support but with users of the Internet still refusing to upgrade from IE6 or IE7, it makes life difficult.

For instance, IE6 simply refused to show transparency on PNG images and would instead show a light blue background calling for the need of JavaScript to come to the rescue. IE7, whilst a step up from its predecessor, still had flaws including a majority of CSS bugs. Internet Explorer 8 can generally be considered the currently most widely used version, but the fundamental flaw with this browser is its lack of CSS3 support. Granted that when this browser was released in 2009, CSS3 wasn’t as big as it is today, but when this browser still has quite a large market share, you need to be catering for these users when developing websites.

I was recently involved with a few other people in working on redeveloping a website that was using a lot of CSS3 and JQuery scripting and so cross-browser testing this proved such a nightmare. I found so many things that wouldn’t work in IE8 which meant that through a company decision, I spent nearly a week going through our massive site to pretty much provide some separate styling for IE altogether. Something that I’d rather was avoided.

A look at any decent browser stats website will show you that whilst IE8 is the most common version of Internet Explorer in use, IE9 is not far behind it so I’m personally keeping my fingers crossed that it overtakes it soon. One thing that I am glad about though is that I don’t see IE6 on these stats so I really do hope that it has died a death and someone isn’t just playing a horrible joke on me!

So, I feel at the moment it is going to continue to either be a painstaking decision to keep on testing on these older versions (IE6 excluded) or to bite the bullet and take a decision to make sure that any site I’m developing simply just “works” on these older browsers until users finally decide that their browser is long overdue for an upgrade.

Choosing a Browser That Is Right for You

The browser wars are over, but no clear winner has emerged. Instead, consumers are confronted with three competing browsers with only minor difference between them. It would be easy to condemn Internet Explorer in favour of Mozilla’s Firefox or Google’s Chrome, but it’s not really that simple. In the end, it comes down to a personal choice: which browser is right for you? Below, we’ve compared some aspects of The Big Three — you get to make the final decision!

Firefox

A few years ago, Firefox was the coolest of the browsers. It introduced browser plugins, brought multi-tab browsing to another level, and beat the competition soundly in speed tests. Not so now. However, it is still the browser to use if you can’t live without a plethora of plugins. And while Chrome does utilize browser plugins, its marketplace doesn’t have the same breadth and variety that Firefox’s has.

Another benefit to using Firefox is its implementation of an easy-to-switch search feature beside the URL bar. While Chrome allows searching out of the browser, it’s limited to one search engine. With Firefox you can switch which search engine you’re using on the fly. So, if you couldn’t find it on Alta Vista, maybe try Google.

The downside to all of this functionality is that Firefox tends to be a tad slower, and a bigger drain on resources.

Chrome

It’s unclear whether or not Chrome can still hold fast to the title of “Fastest Browser.” Surprisingly, Internet Explorer seems to be doing somewhat better in some tests. However, Chrome is designed to speed up and streamline the user experience, so using it just feels faster. It’s almost minimalist in its design, and that helps to put the focus on what you’re using it for: the web.

The other major benefit to using Chrome is its “incognito mode.” If you’re uncomfortable with sites like Facebook and other social media tracking your information, this might be a way to opt-out. “Incognito mode” removes the tracking capabilities of your browser, meaning your history will not be saved, nor will you be automatically signed in to any accounts. You’re sacrificing quite a bit in usability, but if you want to remain covert, it may be necessary.

But, again, it comes down to personal choice. If you like the interface Chrome provides, you’re likely going to want to stick with it. But if you’re used to Firefox, you may find it jarring at first.

Internet Explorer

While there is a certain amount of social stigma to using this browser, it’s really not as bad as people say. Internet explorer is still living down the horrors of IE 4 through 6, a dark age for the ubiquitous browser. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t any good.

Recently Internet Explorer has gained some attention for breaking Chrome’s record browsing speeds, but of course speed isn’t everything.

IE 10 has made some huge strides on the interface level, finally catching up with Firefox and Chrome in terms of search-implementation and bookmark management. However, it still lacks the all-important plugin market.

It has patched up its shoddy security, but it is still slightly more venerable than the other two browsers. This is because, since it comes bundled inside windows, Malware creators tend to target Internet Explorer more than any other browser.

Explore the Internet in a Whole New Way

For a long time now Microsoft’s Internet Explorer has ruled as ‘King of Internet browsers’. Like many of Microsoft’s products an initially brutal marketing campaign pushed Internet Explorer into the mainstream’s consciousness and from then on it was the logical, default choice. It’s free with the operating system, works well, loads any page and is easy to use. Other web browsers soon faded into obscurity and sometimes even died in the shadow of the new king of the pack. Netscape Navigator, the former ‘King of the browsers’, has now ceased commercial operations and has been taken over by the fan base. Opera is fading into obscurity and Mozilla was facing a similar fate, until recently.

Mozilla Firefox (formerly known as Firebird) is probably the largest threat that IE has faced in recent times. Currently, according to http://www.w3schools.com, IE is the browser used by 69.9% of Internet users and Firefox is used by 19.1%. This might not seem like much, but according to [http://www.nua.ie/surveys/how_many_online/] an educated guess at the number of people that use the Internet is somewhere around 605,600,000 users (or was in 2002, the number will have increased substantially by now). That means that (after some erroneous math) a rough stab at guessing the number of people using Firefox is probably over 115,064,000, which isn’t a bad user base at all.

When a friend of mine from university first tried to convince me to switch to Firefox I wasn’t particularly interested. Basically, IE has done everything that I’ve wanted in a web browser. He went on at great lengths about the security aspects, the in-built popup blockers, download managers and so on, but I’d spent a fairly large amount of time and money on anti-virus programs, firewalls, spyware removers, and my browser was secure enough. I also have a download manager that I’m very happy with and refuse to change from. After much cajoling I finally agreed to try this newfangled software. I’m glad I did too, because now I have no desire to go back.

Firefox is very easy to install and use. There’s nothing complicated, you simply download (for free) and run the install file and then when you run the browser for the first time you get presented with the option of importing your IE favourites (a nice feature, with the click of a button everything is moved across to ease your transition) and also the option of making Firefox your default browser. My initial reaction was fairly apathetic; Firefox seemed pretty much the same as IE and in essence, it is. It has all the basic features of IE, but then I discovered it adds so much more.

The first feature to really grab me is the tabbed browsing. Many alternative browsers and even IE plugins support tabbed browsing (where the new pages can be opened in a tab in the one window, instead of filling the task bar with buttons) but Firefox seems to make it so easy and useful. All you do is click a link with the middle button on your mouse (most newer mice have three buttons, the third often being placed under the scroll wheel) and a new tab opens up containing the page requested. Middle clicking on any tab in the window will close it, without having to actually go to the tab and click close. Ctrl-T will open a new blank tab, and Ctrl-Tab will cycle through them (similar in fashion to Alt-Tab cycling through the open programs). What this all leads to is a much neater Internet experience, with you being able to group certain pages into browser windows, leaving the start bar much cleaner and easier to navigate.

The next feature that caught my attention was the search bar built into the browser. It’s small, sleek and simple, built into the right-hand side of the main toolbar beside the address box. You can add many different sites to the search bar and then select the site you wish to search from a drop-down menu. Then it’s simply a matter of typing your query in and hitting enter to be taken directly to that page and your search results. This makes searching Ebay, Google, Internet Movie DataBase, Amazon etc. very quick and easy as you can simply type in the desired search criteria as you think of it and get the results back fast. You can get search bar plugins for IE but they tend to take up lots of room, contain ads, and you can usually only have one site per search bar.

There are more features than I could write about here but I will tell you that Firefox has impressed me greatly. Browser hijacking: the act of a malicious website script changing your homepage or search page (particularly common on IE, sites will change your default search page so that every time you type an address into your address bar their site gets a hit) is now a thing of the past (at least until someone gets vicious enough to work out backdoors in Firefox, an unlikely event for at least a little while given the massive market share still held by IE). Since changing over I have received substantially fewer attack notices from my Firewall. Sites load quickly, and if you get an address wrong you don’t have to wait for a page to load, you just quickly get a message informing you that the site doesn’t exist. Then there are the extensions that can be downloaded to add all sorts of new features to the browser.

The only downside that I have found is the fact that because IE is the dominant web browser, some websites are coded in such a way that they don’t work properly on other browsers. These sites are few and far between, but occasionally you will still need to fire up IE to view a page. The infrequency of this occurring is enough that it doesn’t annoy me too much, but it will be nice when everything works 100%.

A Review of Google Chrome As an Internet Browser

What is internet browser?

You are probably using a browser to read this right now. A Web browser, often just called a “browser,” is the program people use to access the World Wide Web. It interprets HTML code including text, images, hypertext links, JavaScript, and Java applets. After rendering the HTML code, the browser displays a nicely formatted page. Some common browsers are Google chrome, Microsoft internet explorer, Netscape Communicator, and apple Safari.

Competition

Google Chrome is the latest web browser to seriously compete with internet explorer, Firefox and Safari, and is vying to be the top web browser of them all. With added security, tabbed windows and other innovative features, Chrome looks likely to flex its muscles. Google Chrome is a browser that combines a minimal design with sophisticated technology to make the web faster, safer, and easier.

The address bar of the browser serves multiple purposes – you can use it to enter an address as usual, search your page history; do web searches and much more. When you open a new tab you are presented with thumbnails of your favorite pages for quick access.

The Best Browser

The Google Chrome web browser was released in 2008 for Microsoft Windows and soon thereafter for apple Macintosh and Linux systems as well. it quickly grew to become a popular web browser, depending on market share the most popular or second most popular browser, in the world.

A large part of Chrome’s source code was released as an open source project Chromium which Chrome is still based on up to this day.

For HTML5 standards compliance and raw JavaScript performance, no Mac browser beats Chrome. in tests on 2GHz aluminum MacBook with 2GB of Ram, Chrome smoked the latest versions of Safari, Firefox, opera, and Maxton (essentially a Chrome clone) in both categories.

In Google’s own V8 JavaScript benchmark suite, Chrome’s score beat that of every other browser by at least 25 per cent. Even in the Sun Spider JavaScript benchmark, Chrome edged out Firefox for the fastest time, trouncing the others by even wider margins.

Google Chrome released for android and apple’s ioS to make it more for the people’s everyday use.

Google Chrome in Android

Most notably, users can now sync passwords and auto fill data between desktop clients running the same version of Chrome. If you use the browser to store passwords fields should start automatically filling in over the next few days.

Comparing Internet Browsers

You may wonder at times, especially if you are new to the internet, which is the right web browser for you. There are at least three options to choose from and this can sometimes make it difficult to know the benefits of each one and the differences between them. Chrome, Firefox and Internet Explorer are the most popular of the web browsers used by many people online. All three of these have both disadvantages and advantages, and some are more popular than others. The choice was much clearer in the beginning than it is today because people already knew the browser which was superior to the rest. The playing field has leveled today leaving many to wonder which browser would best perform for their work. The following is a breakdown of the three most popular web browsers to give you a better glimpse into the advantages and disadvantages of each.

Chrome
Chrome is increasing very quickly in popularity with users of the internet. It was designed by Google, is very easy to use and has an interface that is consumer friendly. Similar to Firefox, Chrome has a fast and huge support of HTML5, and as a result allows web pages to load quicker and without design flaws. In addition, Chrome offers an app store, which incorporates web apps and local apps making this browser very customizable for most users. Probably the biggest difference with Chrome is the relation that it has with Google. There are a number of web apps Google has like Drive, G-mail, etc. People who use these and others of Google’s web apps, find that using them with Chrome is much more seamless.

Firefox
Designed by Mozilla, Firefox has for a long time been a well-loved favorite with computer experts. Due to recent design changes, Firefox is starting to become appreciated more by consumers as well. Firefox is constantly enhancing its design. Different from Internet Explorer, the URL address bar is below the tab bar making for a less-cluttered feel. Out of the three browsers mentioned here, Firefox is known as one of the fastest, and functions exceptionally with HTML5 support. Firefox security is also very strong, plus there are lots of add-ons making for a more customizable experience for the internet user. Even though most web browsers offer a few add-ons, Firefox can offer more of a variety and functionality.

Internet Explorer
At one time, Internet Explorer was the only go-to web browser for most people. Microsoft designed, a lot of people hailed Internet Explorer as the superior web browser. The times have changed and now, Internet Explorer has the worst reputation out of the three mentioned here. To begin with, it is cumbersome to use, the tabs go alongside the URL box and stack side by side. When there are multiple windows open, this makes the screen feel cluttered when compared with the design of the other web browsers. In addition, the functionality is not good and it constantly ranks slower than both Chrome and Firefox. Even though strides are being made with Internet Explorer’s latest version to incorporate better HTML5 functionality, it is still way behind its competitors. Making it appealing to a few people are the few unique features such as the privacy tools that are enabled by default, and something called tab-pinning, that allows you to pin certain websites to the toolbar you visit the most.

Introduction to Web Browsers

Web Browsers have come a long way from the days of the first internet web browser, Mosaic and the like. The monopoly of the Microsoft-authored Internet Explorer has been decisively broken and terminated possibly, forever. Web browsers today have progressed from being a mere internet-exploring tool to being a multi-purpose, multi-pronged application that brings several advantages to the web visitor. A web browser is defined as a software application, a typical HTTP client that helps the internet visitor to interpret the HTML documents and display the content from web servers or in file systems.Today there are a variety of internet browsers available. The prominent browsers available for personal computers include Microsoft Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox Opera Netscape and so on. A browser is the most commonly used kind of user agent. The largest networked collection of linked documents is known as the World Wide Web.

Web browsers communicate with web servers primarily using HTTP (hyper-text transfer protocol) to fetch webpages. HTTP allows web browsers to submit information to web servers as well as fetch web pages from them. The most commonly used HTTP is HTTP/1.1. Web Pages are located by means of a URL (uniform resource locator), which is treated as an address, beginning with http: for HTTP access. Many browsers also support a variety of other URL types and their corresponding protocols, such as ftp: for FTP (file transfer protocol), gopher: for Gopher, and https: for HTTPS (an SSL encrypted version of HTTP).

The generally accepted file format for a web page is usually HTML (hyper-text markup language) and is identified in the HTTP protocol using a MIME content type. Most browsers certainly support other technology formats in addition to HTML, such as the JPEG PNG and GIF image formats, and can be extended to support more through the use of plugins. The combination of HTTP content type and URL protocol specification allows web page designers to embed images, animations, video, sound, and streaming media into a web page, or to make them accessible through the web page.

In the beginning web browsers supported only a very simple version of HTML. The rapid development of web browsers led to the development of HTML into a more complex avatars. Modern web browsers support standards-based HTML and XHTML which should display in the same way across all browsers. Web sites today are designed using WYSIWYG HTML generation programs such as Macromedia Dreamweaver or Microsoft Frontpage. There are continuous development activities in developing standards, specifically with XHTML and CSS (cascading style sheets, used for page layout). Some of the more popular browsers include additional components to support Usenet news, IRC (Internet relay chat), and e-mail. Protocols supported may include NNTP (network news transfer protocol), SMTP (simple mail transfer protocol), IMAP (Internet message access protocol), and POP (post office protocol).