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Mar 1, 2004 | Browser hunt and comparisons

I’m out on a browser hunt, personally downloading and checking each of the following browsers for accessability and user-friendliness. I won’t add a description of Internet Explorer because most of you out there are reading this site with it. Among the surprisingly good browsers are Firefox 0.8 from Mozilla and Opera, and I’ve classified this list in order of best to worst. But first, according to w3schools.com, as of February 2004,

72.1% of Internet users use Internet Explorer (IE) 6.0
11.5% use IE 5
2.2% use Opera 7.x
9.0% use Mozilla
0.4% use Netscape Navigator 3
0.4% use Netscape Navigator 3
and 1.5% use Netscape Navigator 7.

Lets see how they fit in with what I’ve used and tried:

1) Mozilla Firefox 0.8: Now this is rather phenomenal. It doesn’t have the ads that Opera has, its quicker than Mozilla, and well, its fast! When you download something it automatically starts downloading it with a dialogue box showing how much you’ve downloaded. What’s even cooler is the fact that if you use accesskeys, all you need to go to another page is to press ALT + accesskey, and no enter button! Its startup take as long as somewhere between IE and Opera. Relative font sizes are smaller than in IE, just as they are in Mozilla. It blocks pop ups as well. Well worth a consideration!

2) Opera 7.23: Surprisingly quick and userfriendly, it nonetheless carries ads if you download it for free. However the extent of customizing it and its speed at reaching pages supercedes the annoyance of the ads. Also, I liked the ability of having the new pages in buttons on top of the address bar. When you want to download something it shows you a nifty dialogue box with its type, whether or not you want to open it or save it. Some pages are shown a bit differently, namely forms are squished and scrollbar styles are not supported. Relative font sizes are smaller than on IE. Opera can also load the last page you were visiting when you closed it, which I found pretty cool.

3) Mozilla 1.6: Mozilla isn’t on the top of my list, but it’s okay nonetheless. At least it blocks pop ups well, allows you to block images you don’t want (and thus save yourself a lot of time) and it even has an integrated HTML editor. It sadly takes a long time for it to startup, and it sort of reminds me of Netscape. Also when you try to download an .exe file, it gives you the option of opening it with something or saving it, and that takes time compared to an Internet Explorer window, where it automatically starts downloading/opening/saving and opens it if you want to. Relative font sizes are smaller than on IE, scrollbar styles are not supported, forms are squished, and certain Java scripts are not displayed in correct colors unless specifically mentioned.

4) Netscape 7.1: A sad affair. Okay, I’ll try to be bright about it. There’s Tabbed Browsing, but that’s also in Mozilla and Firefox and Opera. There’s Find as you type, but then again, Mozilla and Firefox have it. Can I be a bit more critical? Like the fact that its slower than Mozilla? Or that I’m still amazed people still rely on it to surf the web? Well I guess now you know why it’s on the bottom of the list, but then again, some people are just unlucky to be stuck with it…

This entry was posted on Monday, March 1st, 2004 at 8:48 pm, EST under the category of PerlBlog Days. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.