Wednesday, January 09, 2008

The browser wars reignite

Database News : Thursday December 06, 2007


The browser wars reignite

Just a few comments on Wanda Sloan's recent article about Microsoft Internet Explorer: "Microsoft took over the browser market away back in the last century with the terribly unfair ruthlessness of a Japanese car company - that is, by making a better, cheaper product."

I'm not sure about Japanese car companies' marketing but I'm sure they make better cars than Americans. However it's a common fact that Microsoft does not make better, cheaper products. Definitely not better. Try a simple GIF animation regarding a single pixel that changes colour, use this as a background for an HTML page and watch IE bog down after a couple trippy seconds. And cheaper? IE is free. There is no price comparison here. If you want to compare prices, Firefox and Safari are both free too. Cheaper?

Tell that to someone who's lost data through an IE security hole.

"Meanwhile, back in the real world, most people use a Microsoft browser because they want to, they have to or they can't see any reason to switch. Many still use Version 6, which is what comes with Windows XP. (We will get to the spiffy and very excellent IE7 in just a few paragraphs.)"

Actually, most people use a Microsoft browser because they are ignorant to the fact that others exist, or because they're too lazy or illiterate to download and install a simple file, or because they can't be bothered to switch because they think that what they have is what they should have.

"A wonderful addition for me is crash recovery, which opens all previously open web sites if there has been a problem. The ad-blocker is good, but the Proxy Switcher gives me one-click changes from my office to my home to my Ratchada khao thom network settings - and is worth the whole IE7Pro right there. Plus you can have precisely the same user scripts with IE7 as with Firefox and Greasemonkey."

And Safari has had all these features (except crash recovery) built-into it since oh let's see... a couple years back? The latest Safari now has "crash recovery" though and it runs circles around IE6 or IE7.

In your article you fail to mention one point that has made IE6 such a dangerous web browser, and that is it's integration with Windows XP. Now here's a question for your section in the Bangkok Post: Does IE 7 integrate itself with Vista or is it separate (which ultimately means you can trash it without affecting the OS, unlike IE6)? What about IE6 users in XP? Do they upgrade IE6 to IE7 or is IE6 forever locked onto the system and an "upgrade" simply means installing IE7 somewhere else on the hard disk?


Database replies: Wanda Sloan replies: In the 1990s, Microsoft took over the Windows browser market from Netscape.

At that time, IE was a superior browser and as you note it has always been free, which was cheaper than Netscape. There was no Firefox, no Safari, and Opera was just getting started with a very expensive product that was difficult to buy.

I hope this clarifies what I thought already was a fairly clear statement.

Just one other thing, though, and I really feel strongly about this: I don't believe Post Database readers in general or the ones who read my column are ignorant, illiterate, lazy or incapable of installing software.

Printing web pages

One answer to Larry Wilson's query about printing from the Internet (Helpdesk, November 14) would be always to look for a "Printer Friendly Version" button somewhere on the screen. Not all pages have them, but he says he is trying to print airline tickets and I would expect this kind of page to have a "Print" or "Printer Friendly Version" button.

For pages that don't, you can set the page to print landscape, which uses more sheets of paper but does usually get the whole width of the screen on. I've also tried screaming in frustration and breaking down sobbing, but these are less successful.


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By : Bangkok Post

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