1. Alternative Browsers

    jake on 2004.07.16
    at 05:54 pm

    I've been trying to wrap my head around this all day. Wired has an article touting the changing of your browser. With all of the security problems out there for Internet Explorer it makes sense not to use it. There are other reasons, since I'm a designer (and not a writer) I'll touch on those aspects in a second but let me start with security.

    The article lists off five alternatives. Two of these recommendations are flawed. iRider and Deepnet Explorer are shells that wrap around Internet Explorer. They add a bunch of functionality and with things like pop-up blocking are arguably more secure. But they are still running IE under the hood and therefore are still perceptible to not all, but some, if not many vulnerabilities. The real kicker is that iRider has a walkthrough to make browsing with their software more secure. But all the settings you are changing while going through the process are actually Internet Explorer settings. You are actually making Internet Explorer more secure, which is a good thing, but things they mention, like running Windows Update, should be happening anyway.

    Both of these browsers (yes I downloaded them) add a lot to the browsing experience and iRider has a tabbed interface similar and beyond Omniweb's (for Mac), which I love. But if you want to actually be more secure I'd go with one of the other offerings mentioned, like the Mozilla Suite, Opera, or Safari (only for Mac).

    The other big gripe I have with IE wrapping browsers is their inherent lack of standards support because of IE's crappy standards support. In not updating IE since 2001 (besides security issues) Microsoft has left what was once the king of standards to stagnate. Now many of the hacks and workarounds that web developers used to have to do with Netscape 4 we have to do for IE.

    It also can not display PNG image files correctly. So many of the nice things like million colored icons with full transparency, something many WindowsXP and OS X users take for granted now on their desktops, can not be translated to the web.

    Many end users don't really care about making developers like us happier just because we would have an easier time with making web sites. But I implore you to think about the other things. If all you want to do is make your browser a little more secure and get some nice new features then go get one of the two wrapper programs mentioned above. They'll give you some nice new features and if you follow that security page you'll be a little safer from jerks out there. Just don't forget they're wrapped around an unsafe browser to begin with. If you want something completely different go get Mozilla or Opera and browse away to your hearts content.

    Remember it's basically impossible to actually remove IE from your system so if you come across a page that says it's IE only then open up IE and just go to that page. Just don't use it for everything.

    Posted in: Service Announcement · Software · Standards


    Comments (1)

    1. treego said on 2004.07.18 at 11:02 pm

      Opera is my choice!

      Opera is awesome! I love it! The best out there and the Suite of features is awesome!

      I can even use Opera IRC to chat with other IM protocols by using public servers of BitlBee.

      The keyboard shortcuts, mouse gestures, etc….. wow!

      39 minutes into the show … interview with Opera CEO:


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