Tuesday, July 06, 2004

Firefox vs. Internet Explorer

After my home machine fell prey to the remarkably nasty Virtual Bouncer malware, I'm experimenting with a transition to the open-source Mozilla Firefox browser. Experts far-and-wide cite that using Microsoft's Internet Explorer browser on a Windows machine has become tantamount to inviting trouble, and the switch to Firefox has (thus far) been great.

I still will use Internet Explorer to error-check webpages that I build, but I think I'm done browsing with it. If you use Windows + IE, maybe you should consider making the switch.

I'll use the comments in this post to catalog any additional Firefox vs. IE thoughts.


Andy said...

I already realize I'm going to be frustrated by the amount of web code that just doesn't work on Firefox.

...for example, the code behind drop-down menu in the Archive section of this page was taken directly from the tech support people at Blogger; however, it doesn't work on Firefox.

Andy said...


Now the Archive drop-down menus seems to work.

There seems to be a strange latency in web interactions with Firefox that is absent from IE. IE's speed could be a result of that bolted-into-the-operating-system thing that we heard about a few years back. ;)

Andy said...

I feel like I'm using a Mac. (Interpret accordingly)

Andy said...

Tabbed navigation is strange for a furious alt-tabber such as myself.

Andy said...

The last 24 hours have seen Internet Explorer battling back and forth, each trying... no, each struggling to convince my machine that it should be the default browser.

I think I'm going to leave IE as the default browser, as its attempts are just more frequent and more threatening than Firefox's, but I'll continue my standard browsing with Firefox. I feel like a cheating browser spouse.

An unrelated aside: Firefox can be something of a memory hog. I wasn't doing anything particularly fancy yesterday, and I suddenly found firefox.exe was using more than 100 Mb of RAM.

Andy said...

Two months out, I'm back to using IE pretty much full time.The rarely used home desktop that was blighted with July's malware is Firefox only, but I'm almost exclusively using IE on my work laptop -- where I do 99% of my computing/surfing.

This behavioral reversion seems strange, especially in light of the recent press concerning Firefox's gains in market share.

Andy said...

Just a couple days after the comment above, I'm back to Firefox at work.

You see, about 50% of my job involves building fancy java applets, which until recently I tested in IE as I was building them. Once the work on one of these applets was completed, I'd look at them in Firefox to make sure that they looked okay.

Well, installing Windows XP SP2 changed this setup. Now, IE puts on the brakes when I fire up a locally hosted webpage with a java applet, preventing me from loading the dynamic content until after I approve a little security warning.

This small nuisance is enough to push me to Firefox for the part of my job which is browser-dependent... which in turn pushes my casual browsing to Firefox.

...and so the back-and-forth continues...

Andy said...

Back to using IE to look at my homegrown java applets.

The annoying you-shouldn't-be-looking-at-this-active-content-running-on-this-file-on-Your-Computer error I was getting was remedied by toggling an advanced control that reads "Allow active content to run in files on My Computer." How easy.

The only reason I went a-searching for this function is that Firefox's SUN JVM lasts for about 5 control-refresh page reloads before it decides it would rather not work. Too bad.

Andy said...

Though Tuesday's launch of Firefox 1.0 will add fuel to the trend of moving users from IE to Firefox, a largely unknown feature of the Google Desktop Search application has changed my usage of Firefox in relation to IE.

Google Desktop Search makes it effectively impossible to clear your browser history... unless you're visiting the page via Firefox -- a browser not currently supported by Google Desktop Search.

I wonder if Google's engineers are in the process of supporting this browser, or if they still want to keep Firefox unsupported as a means of letting power users continue to surf in stealth mode...