Browsers

february 10, 2004

">Get FirefoxWho said that the browsers have become a stale commodity? Looks like browser development is still a hot thing. With the makers of the Opera browser ready to go public and the continuous development at mozilla.org it looks like browsers are anything but stale -- of course if you look at Microsoft, they seem quite happy with IE6 (they don't expect to release any new browsers for the MacOS X platform ever again and a new IE for the Windows platform is expect when Longhorn is released. There are lots of new features that have cropped up and many of them quite useful. If you are still using that clunky and security hole riddled IE on your Windows machine just because it is there, you are sadly missing out on a lot of stuff. Tabbed-browsing is one of the coolest new features around (Firefox, Safari and Opera have it). Instead of opening up multiple windows for browsing and filling up the taskbar in Windows, tabbed-browsing allows for multiple tabs inside of one window to be opened. It might not sound like a ground breaking feature, but once you get to using it, it is really useful. Another feature that is cool is the built-in search bar (Firefox and Safari). By default Firefox and Safari have a box to the right of the address bar and you type what you want to search for in it. Hit enter and they return the search results from Google. If you don't like Google, then in Firefox you can have it add whatever search engine you want as a default search engine there (like Yahoo! or Alta Vista). Very handy also. One thing that is not so obscure is pop-up ads. Yes, those annoying things suck big time. And all new browsers have that built-in. Block any and all ads. Let the ones from specific places come up if you want (like login boxes) and block the rest. Very helpful. And with the help of the ad blocking css file from texturizer.net, you won't see annoying ads on any webpage ever again (that css file blocks some 98-99% of the ads you will see normally). So, if you are still using IE, you are truly missing out on some cool, useful and productive tools. Mozilla Firefox is free at mozilla.org. Why not give it a spin. Try out tabbed-browsing, try out pop-up blocking, and try out ad blocking. Give it a week of use and I promise you that you will not want to go back to that old ricketty Internet Explorer. Firefox is consistently updated and if you are the adventurous type then try out the nightly builds and help out with the testing. Otherwise, stick with the milestone release build for some stability. See what you are missing! Btw, I had switched from Mozilla Suite 1.6 to Camino then from Camino to Safari and now I am back to using Firefox on my iBook! There are just too many choices!