Pop-up blocking - Numerous programs are available for IE that can do this quickly and easily, as well as provide a multitude of other features. The Google Toolbar is probably the best.
Search on Navigation toolbar - Google Toolbar does this too...
You're probably correct there. IE does have pop-up blocking through third-party software.
Tabbed browsing - Uh, yeah, woo. So the open pages appear below the browser's toolbar instead of on the taskbar. Why is this considered such a great feature? IE does the same. Additionally, if you've got lots of pages open, Windows XP will collapse them into only one taskbar button for you, from which you can select which window you want to open. MDI is dead -- get over it.
Thank you for your informed opinion. I've tried taskbar collapsing, and it just isn't the same as a tab-bar. I find tabs much, much, much better; so much so, that I can't use IE without growling in frustration every-so-often.
It's tricky to explain why tabbing is so good. Certainly everyone I know adores the feature. Let me try and point out the benefits.
Generally, it's much more convenient. I can see what windows I have open, their page titles, and their favicons. With IE, all the windows are cluttered up on the task bar. It's far easier to find a tab you want than it is to find an IE window you want. I shouldn't have to spend a good few seconds searching out which one of the minute IE's in the taskbar I want. With tabs, it all there right in front of me.
The whole collapsing into a task bar entity thing is even worse. It's a poor substitute for tabbing. For one, you can't see what's there at a glance; you have to click first. For another, you have to click twice to select, which takes more time. And third, it's a lot smaller and more fiddly.
The final argument is that I, and everyone else who uses tabbed browsing, uses it because they say it's much better. After using Firebird and Mozilla for so long, IE's lack of tabbing is physically painful.
Download window - I don't want a single download window, that sucks. Status windows for each window are much better. If you seriously have trouble remembering where you saved things then you probably shouldn't be attempting to install a new browser.
Your opinion, not everyones. Having all your downloads in a single place makes it easy to keep track of things. And as for remembering where you saved things, perhaps that's just because you don't download a lot. If you have several thousand files in a selection of download directories, then even if labelled and neatly sorted, it's still tricky to keep track.
Themes - IE supports theming -- in fact, you can take its whole engine and use it in a browser of your very own (see: Crazy Browser, MyIE2). IE also supports toolbar backgrounds and you could probably skin it easily enough using something like WindowBlinds if that's really your thing.
Furthermore, custom CSS can be implemented over the top of pages, so you can pick and choose what's displayed, and what's not. So far, it's been pretty good at getting rid of ads, but the potential for the technology is, well, very impressive.
Extensions - I'm sure you'll find many, many more extensions available for IE than for Firebird, both freely and commercially. As the world's most popular browser, it makes sense that people will develop any web browsing extension available for it. IE is the standard.
I'm fairly sure it would be a closer run thing than you think. Firebird and Mozilla are far, far, far, far easier to extend than IE is. That's a fact. So there are a hell of a lot of extensions availiable.
Firebird currently has 151 extensions. Can you name that many for IE? I'm not talking about plugins, I'm talking about applications like the Google toolbar. Personally, I think IE actually has much less extensions than Firebird.
Firebird often crashes, and it's slow.
Often crashes? Firebird crashes for me less than 10 times a year. I can't remember the last time it crashed, and I certainly know it hasn't crashed so far this year.
As for slow, well, if you set Firebird up to be memory resident, like IE, then it's pretty nippy, and there certainly isn't a real noticable difference. IE is fast because Windows keeps most of its components loaded up in memory.
It doesn't work with every page you'll come across, unlike IE which obviously will (because they were designed for it).
I find that 99.9% of the web works fine in Firebird. Besides, you can't really blame Firebird for not beign able to parse HTML written by an idiot. Firebird interprets standard HTML. Web pages that will only display for IE are unfortunately written by morons. There's not a lot Firebird can do about that.
In fact, Firebird renders HTML far better than IE does. As far as I'm aware, IE doesn't even support the HTML 3.0 standard correctly, let along HTML 4.0, XHTML 1.0, CSS1 or CSS2.
Anyway, that issue aside, I find that the 0.1% of badly designed sites that can't be displayed in Firebird as worth the extra features and stability that Mozilla brings. If a page is so fucked up it can't display in anything but IE, then I rarely need to visit that page anyway.
Firebird's UI is clunky and non-standard (on Windows at least), as it doesn't use the normal Windows toolset.
Huh? Firebird DOES use the native Windows GUI toolkit. I think you're thinking of Mozilla, not Mozilla Firebird.
I personally don't like IE. As an occassional web designer, IE irritates me so much. I create a page of standard, simple, HTML. Every other browser renders it cheerfully. IE, of course, has a really really bad rendering system, and can't accurately render standard HTML. So my current development cycle goes as follows:
IE is a really, really bad browser. I find the lack of features in it irritating when I browse the net, but it's nothing compared to how bad it is at rendering standards.
- Create HTML.
- Check it validates as standard HTML.
- Note happily it works in Firebird and Opera and (to a lesser extent) Konquerer/Safari.
- Note that IE can't render standard HTML, and curse repeatedly.
- Fiddle the settings around for the next few hours until IE renders it properly.
Or look at it another way; if IE wasn't the dominant browser, then web page technology would be far, far in advance. IE doesn't even suppose CSS1 right, let alone the niftiness that is CSS2. Nor does it support standard DHTML, instead having it's own way of doing it. If it supported all the features in other browsers, web designers wouldn't be constrained as much.
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