Internet Explorer 8 Versus Firefox
Should you use Internet Explorer version 8, or the new Firefox version 3.5? Which is better, faster, easier to use? Read on for my comparison of the latest versions of the two most popular browsers...
Comparing Internet Explorer 8 to Firefox v3.5
The browser wars are endless, as Internet Explorer and Firefox continually improve, add features, crash, and improve again. The current state of things is IE version 8 and Firefox version 3.5. Both browsers take you to the same Internet, and have pretty much the same feature set. Both let you open multiple windows or tabs, both have a "private browsing" mode and each browser has a full-featured set of bookmarking and privacy tools.
Neither can leap tall buildings in a single bound, or stop a speeding locomotive. So how do they compare when it comes down to speed, quality of Web page rendering, configurability, and user-friendliness?
Time Trials: IE 8 Versus FF 3.5
In speed tests, IE 8 is slower than Firefox v3.5, most testers agree. Neither is as fast as Opera or Google Chrome, but those second-tier browsers lack many handy features that IE 8 and Firefox v3.5 pack. However, if you are thinking of upgrading your operating system to Windows 7, you will find that IE 8 renders significantly faster while Firefox actually runs slower than it does under older versions of Windows.
Page Rendering Quality
The quality of Web page rendering can be defined as how faithfully the browser displays what the Web page designer intended. It's partly a function of how good the programmer is, of course; bad HTML renders poorly on any browser. But it's also a question of laziness. Some programmers write and test pages only for IE, ignoring the roughly one-third of users who browse with Firefox.
Firefox has always maintained that pages should render according to the standards established by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). But Microsoft has long been castigated by the Web community for not adhering to those standards. So as long as Microsoft goes its own way, there will always be Web pages that look great in IE and horrible in other browsers, including Firefox. There is a workaround for this, however.
The IE View addon for Firefox will launch IE and display a Microsoftian page in it at the click of a mouse key. You can also tell IE View to always display a given page or all pages from a given Web site in IE. So when something doesn't look or work right in Firefox, try it with IE View and IE 8.
Browser Features and Configurability
Some users like to configure a Web browser exactly to their personal tastes, while others don't want to bother tweaking lots of settings. Firefox has thousands of configurable options, though it works just fine with the default settings. IE is more restrictive; there are things you cannot turn on and off, such as the display of warning notices if you choose to surf with minimal security on.
Another area where Firefox has a big advantage is addons. There is a huge library with thousands of Firefox extensions, themes and plugins, created by Firefox users. These addons enable new functions that are not available in the base product, and are extremely important to the success of Firefox in the marketplace.
IE8, on the other hand, has Accelerators and Web slices, two new features not found in Firefox. Accelerators can speed up certain tasks, and Web Slices will automatically notify you if content you're keeping tabs on has been updated.
Some people prefer Firefox, simply because it's not a Microsoft product. I share that feeling to a certain extent, but mostly I feel more secure with a browser that's not so closely bound to the operating system.
Tell me which browser YOU like best, and why. Post your comments below...
This article was posted by Bob Rankin on 27 Oct 2009
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Article information: AskBobRankin -- Internet Explorer 8 Versus Firefox (Posted: 27 Oct 2009)
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved