Mink Machine

Unleash Firefox today

A friend asked me why I use Firefox instead of Internet Explorer 6. For a few seconds I was kind of baffled. Is there a reason not to use Firefox? IE is infamous for its inadequate web standards support and it is constantly a thorn in my side, but that’s probably an issue that doesn’t concern end users, only us web developers who have to struggle with it every day. But even apart from standards, there are several things to Firefox that improves the browsing experience.

  • Extensions are the killer feature of Firefox. The browser has superior tools for web development by using extensions such as Web developer, Firebug, HTML validator, Fangs, LiveHttpHeaders, XML Developer Toolbar, Greasemonkey and more. They will greatly reduce the time for creating standard compliant, accessible sites. Easy installation of extensions such as Adblock are essential for the modern browsing experience.
  • Since IE is the most wide-spread web software in history, it has naturally attracted hackers due to its wide user base and poor update frequency. For instance, read the survey from PC World where IE6 voted #6 among worst tech products of all time. Quote: “Internet Explorer 6.x might be the least secure software on the planet”. If you have to use IE, why not go for the Firefox extension IETab?
  • The modern GUI is slick and elegant, as well as offering easy access to tabbed browsing, live bookmarks and several other essentials.
  • The upgrades are very simple and the file-size of Firefox is a third of Internet Explorer. After all, the quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog.

If you’re curious, here is the origin of Firefox. Bear in mind that IE7 is just around the corner and many of these issues have been resolved in that upcoming version, but far from all. IE7 will have improved standards support compared to version 6, but Firefox is a proven technology available today. If you feel lucky, why not try some cutting edge in form of Firefox 2 beta 1, released a few days ago. Also bear in mind that there are competent alternatives to Firefox as well, such as Safari, Opera and OmniWeb to name a few.

Regardless of what browser you use, at least make an active choice based on knowledge and personal preferences instead of simply using the default alternative just because it’s convenient.

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