That Browser War

When I got my new laptop with Windows Vista, I decided I was going to try out as much of the built in software as made sense to me. In particular, I thought I’d try Internet Explorer 7 and see if it really was a decent competitor to Firefox. My initial impressions were good:

  • It had tabs just like Firefox.
  • It seemed nice and fast.
  • I liked the look and feel, and how they had minimised the space used by the user interface in order to maximise the space used to display the website.
  • The search bar worked well and was easy to configure.
  • It seemed stable, and the times that a website did get bound up I could kill just that window without losing all of the others.
  • It didn’t do that incredibly annoying thing that Firefox does when it steals the cursor focus on a screen where you’ve already started typing stuff into the form fields.

However, while the IE7 core browser was better than Firefox there were some features that I missed:

  • Web Developer – an amazingly useful extension if you’re ever doing any web development work. The in-place CSS editor has saved me countless hours tweaking and reloading style sheets, and that’s only one of the features.
  • AdBlock – Web based ads never used to worry me too much. I’d ignore them most of the time (often without even noticing that they even existed) and very occasionally I’d even click on one if it looked interesting. Then came the ads that covered the webpage or had audio/video of music or people talking. Something had to be done and AdBlock just cleaned all that crap out.

I used IE7 for a while but then I had a development project – and suddenly I had to install Firefox so I could use the Web Developer extension. And day by day those damn ads were annoying me more and more and finally I installed AdBlock in to Firefox and switched to using it as my default browser.

That was about a month ago and so far it’s been going well. They seem to have got the instability and memory leak issues under control in the latest version, and using AdBlock has made reading material online much more enjoyable. Firefox is still the best option as far as I know.

I find it interesting that the Firefox browser wasn’t as good as that in Internet Explorer, but that the quality of the add-ons more than makes up the difference.