CSS3 Rocks! Please use latest browser version.
Welcome to Walter Moore Canada's Blog. These comments are strictly opinion. You can disagree!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Which Browser to Use?

Updated 2010-01-21
Well things have really changed but then again it has been 7+ years since my last update ;) . The desktop has a smaller market share. With 3G/4G finally getting rolled out smart phones are quickly becoming the surfing method of choice. Everyone uses the custom browser that their smart phone comes with. On the desktop there are now 5 main competitors(what a change from the 1-Microsoft-in 2002). In my opinion... 

  1. Chrome is best for personal use.
  2.  Safari is best for developers/designers and people that want the absolute best graphics(more failures than Chrome in my experience).
  3. Firefox is a close 3rd.
  4. Opera has some interesting otions(like voice)
  5. Have to wait for IE9 to see if it is going to catch up with the rest;)
What’s next? Who knows on this one. I would expect that voice will finally start to gain ground but people won't adopt technology that doesn't work near 100%. For sure CSS3 will be widely supported since virtually all browsers(even IE9) support at least 95% of the standard. Standards are really starting to win because of the number of vendors. Now that is a surprise... Usually standards are the first thing to get sacrificed in competition but in this case all the vendors have committed to them so it is difficult to back out and the group force everyone else to support the standards.
Updated 2002-12-17
Most Netscape(NN) supporters have not backed version 6 thus NN is stuck at version 4 and has fallen out of favor. Meanwhile IE has now gobbled up 80%++ browser share. Wireless devices are rapidly taking market share from both browsers but these devices aren’t ready to be smart clients yet. They are advancing quickly however and are great where screen space is not important.  There is no doubt the “browser” issue has now become even more complex with many new devices supporting only XHTML, WML or proprietary languages.  NN is now relegated to the “Other browser” category for most sites that attempt to support multiple browsers… You know, basic web site with no advanced features… Like this site. Future updates will probably deal more with wireless devices like phones and PDA’s than NN. At less than 10%(for all versions) NN is no longer worth supporting a customized site.

Updated 2000-09-02

A new Netscape is in town. It is going to shake things up a bit. It might even take some market share away from IE(not much). Anyone that hates Microsoft will for sure use the new version. But much more important is that developers embrace Netscape’s guts to really attempt to support W3C/ECMA standards. I have updated this site and know both IE and NN6 enjoy the same experience. Let’s not kid ourselves. IE is still a better browser but Netscape V6 is a real step forward. I want to ensure that IE isn’t the only browser in town. I just don’t want to write 2 sites to support each browser.

Updated 2000-03-26

Well IE 5.0 has been released(with patches) but where is Netscape(NN)? Since AOL took over the browser it has gone to never-never land. Comparisons between the two browsers shows NN is starting to fall behind Opera(browser) in standards support. When looking at DHTML or CSS Netscape falls way short of meeting the standards. The object model is much more difficult and limited. The browser crashes repeatedly and I even found a JavaScript bug that corrupts Netscape. That’s right, you would have to re-install to get it to work again. It looks like AOL purchased the browser to ensure it gets buried…..But I could be wrong. Around 75% of traffic seems to be using IE4.0 or better at this time…..My how things change…..Just not as fast as I would like.

Updated 1999-02-25

Both Netscape and Microsoft say they will support the W3C DHTML spec. Ya, right… Anyway, IE 5.0 Beta has been exceptionally stable. Matter of fact it has been more stable than IE 4.01. I really like the auto-fill capabilities but from a user perspective that is about all you notice. It does load certain pages faster if they are built for IE 5.0. For some quirky reason I have to start it twice before the browser will display on one of my systems. Once it goes to a full release I would get a copy, but wait till then.
As for Netscape….I have not tried the 5.0 version so I can’t comment.

Updated 1998-08-23
Microsoft has all but closed the doors on Netscape. It is no longer a question of which is better. IE4.0 comes with Windows 98 and is integrated into the system. Businesses will use IE because it will require less administration and integrates into IIS servers easily. Critical mass has built up on the client base for IE. Soon Microsoft may have to support Netscape like Apple just to ensure they don’t get those nasty law suites. It would be strategically sound for Microsoft to throw away a few mil. As for the active desktop you can install it but make sure you do not select the option to show window contents while dragging. This option only creates a lot of overhead for your system and no real gain.

Updated 1997-11-01 originally published 1997-09-25

With IE4.0 released and NN4.03 you can upgrade both but do not install the Active Desktop(IE4). Both are as stable as previous versions(yes, they still crash). The advances made with DHTML take browsing to a new level and are definitely worth the upgrade. Even if you surf strictly for content you get advantages. The ability to hide and display content dynamically in itself gives great advantages.
Both browsers support Cascading Style Sheets(finally) and DHTML expands CSS capabilities. The differences between browsers referencing CSS will probably be resolved with a little from both sides(not exclusively one side). JavaScript has become the standard scripting language and with DHTML extensions is going to create havoc on Java’s future. Many things you just can’t do with JAVA can be done easily with DHTML. Securing scripts from the client is still a major stumbling block for scripting languages(You can’t stop clients from stealing code). Layer technology will not likely survive standards committees. VBscript will not survive as a client scripting language unless Netscape® adopts it or Microsoft® create a free plug-in(to bad). Netscape®has new life(for now). NN4.03 is not as good as IE4.0 but is very close. It has a prettier interface than IE4.0. This has become more a personal choice than ever.
Actually, the browser war is over, Netscape® just doesn’t know it yet;)
There are really only two browsers, Netscape® Navigator(NN) and Microsoft®Internet Explorer(IE). I know about Lycos, Mosaic, etc. but they are so limited in usage that it is hard to count them. At this moment use BOTH(Netscape® and Microsoft®)! But use V3.*, neither has a stable V4 yet. I suspect that IE4 will be stable but let’s wait till October 1st and see.
If you have to choose I would recommend Microsoft®’s Internet Explorer(particularly on Windows95/NT). Microsoft® has the standards, the money, and a free browser. Not to mention I personally think the capabilities are far superior to Netscape®. By no means is Microsoft® perfect. I have several issues with things they do(you might see a few on different pages), but they have the best browser.
Netscape® makes a very good browser. They used to be first by a long shot. Now they are a close second. IE Version 4 will shut the door but it will take years to take effect. Remember….this is today, tomorrow an even better browser could pop-up(but would it be good enough to buy it?). IBM® will probably buy Netscape®’s browser before Netscape® gives up(they need A browser for junk OS/2).
As a technician I cheer for Netscape®’s cause but as a business owner I buy Microsoft®.

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