July 01, 2003

Browser Wars are back

For years I have been using IE as my only browser - I never touched Opera, Mozilla or Netscape unless testing websites. This has changed with Firebird, it's finally a usable alternative to IE that has popup blocking and works with most of the sites I use.

It's not perfect, here is a list of things that are currently irritating me:

  1. Tabbed browsing is cool, but I keep accidentally closing eight web pages at once by clicking the close button. It needs to warn me if I click close with multiple tabs open.
  2. When you switch away to other applications for a while and then come back to Firebird, it takes forever to come back - not sure they can fix that.
  3. The google bar isn't as good - it just feels unresponsive.
  4. The most irritating thing is that the combo-box for URL entry doesn't support my most common mouse movement. I tend to click at a point in the text and drag to the end to select part I want to delete. This works in all standard windows controls. In mozilla, it just results in the cursor being placed where I first clicked. This is infuriating.
  5. The CodeProject forums are a bit funky in Firebird - they work, but if you click on any forum link before the page is fully loaded (Dynamic HTML is used to hide/show posts in the forum) then the page reloads from scratch, and the reason you notice this is that Firebird takes forever to render the forums.

These things are enough that I certainly won't be switching from IE completely - I use a hybrid now. Firebird when I want tabs, and IE for quick browsing and CodeProject. It also still feels more natural to reach for IE to go to a website.

IE has also just got a lot better (IMHO) with the release of a new beta Googlebar: http://toolbar.google.com/install-beta. This adds popup blocking and form-field auto-filling to IE. Excellent stuff.

I note that standalone IE development has ceased at Microsoft, this tells me that it may not be long before I permanently switch to Firebird or some mozilla based browser. Ah well, the fun ensues.

Posted by Simon at July 1, 2003 05:31 PM
Feedback

Take a look at www.avantbrowser.com. It works really well with the google toolbar and is skinable. Also has the tabbed IDE you are speaking of.

-rls

Posted by robjessica at Jul 1, 2003 5:36 PM

What's wrong with Mozilla? It has all the features you like (pop-up disabling, direct google searching, tabbed browsing etc.) Besides it's faster than IE. And contrary to bloated (by AOL) Netscape - it's quite small.

Also Firebird (the name will be changed in afuture as it conflicts with other opensource project) is just a branch of Mozilla. Based on the same rendering engine but mostly unstable as it is still quite new.

Posted by Alex at Jul 23, 2003 8:35 AM