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Browser Wars

Posted on 2004-09-25
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Last Modified: 2013-11-19
Well, it looks like Google might be working towards making its own browser: http://www.internetnews.com/bus-news/article.php/3412931

Also looks like Microsoft has started real work on IE7.

The question is this:

For all web developers that know the programming, it's been a real headache with IE that everyone uses it but it doesn't support CSS fully--yet IE does have some useful Javascript features that are not "standard" but of which could provide much more flexibility, and of course, with SP2, it's all been quite a mess. That's where Mozilla comes in with great CSS support, png support, amongst other things. Of course, you'll miss things like onbeforeunload, but that can't be helped,

But it might be possible that in a few years, a new browser war will be started. I'm asking for your opinions on these things:

Some things to consider:

1) What do you make of Google and its "possible" browser? Could it be real competition, or will it fall short of Mozilla's open source model?

2) IE might increase security, will that make it less of a headache? If IE continues to be different from other browsers in support to CSS, etc., but develops better security, there's now a less of an urge to switch away from IE. No one's going to listen to a web developer complain about CSS if IE gets tabbed browsing, etc. amongst other things.

3) Which browser do YOU think you will be using after all the dust settles with the current information?
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Question by:Zyloch
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Diablo84 earned 70 total points
ID: 12151816
Hi Zyloch

hmm Google as a browser, theres an interesting concept and im not sure that its one i like. Google as an ever growing entity will no doubt have the resources to put into a browser project but the question thats on my mind is will they be devoted enough to produce an outstanding browser that can make a name for itself (rather then just depending on the "google" name to get popularity). This quote from the link is a little concerning, "hired a handful of former Microsoft developers who were involved with Internet Explorer", they may have experience in the field but i'm not sure i would want people associated with IE working on a new browser project with high potential. There are plenty of highly qualified programmers in the world who could do the job equally well without taking on Microsofts cast offs. Maybe thats just a bias view, i suppose the inside knowledge may help Google go that one step further.

In my opinion, no matter what Microsoft do to "improve" IE now i don't think it will be competition for Firefox. I can't see that they will have any intention of correcting the many bugs that it possesses because that will mean that every single website that was developed my amateurs or anyone who only tests in IE (and subsequently will most likely have built a site that doesn't meet the standards) will find that their site probably wont look right anymore.

I would really like to think that at the end of the tunnel the browser that pulls through will be Firefox. That is one great browser with great features that is actually standards compliant. And further more it has a dedicated team behind it, if you recall the minor security alert that cropped up a couple of months back they released a fix for it within a week or so. Microsoft on the other hand are not very good (shall we say) at addressing similar issues that have been highlighted.

More casual internet users (as in non-developers) are starting to use alternative browsers, especially firefox, so word is spreading that there are different options available so the competition is very much on. I do think that this area of users will probably be heavily swayed towards the Google browser when/if it gets underway based upon the name factor, Google is a name they will trust.

I will be carrying the flag for Firefox all along the way in hope that many others will in time see what an asset it is to the internet, it would be nice one day to see it as the primary browser for the vast majority of users.
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by:Zyloch
ID: 12151831
Yeah, I'm all for Firefox right now, but you never know, we're all biased in that way, so I'm just going to wait and see.
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by:OliWarner
OliWarner earned 80 total points
ID: 12152031
Not really...
Biased is looking at things without being fair to both sides...

IE is a closed source browser, so whereas people dont have easy access to look for hack for the code, it takes a very long time for people to makes fixes for it.

Firefox and everything mozilla is open source making it really easy for people to contribute their fixes and optimisations. Because of this fixes get done fast.


Now google is going to try and implement a browser off the back of their brand name, which is all very nice but a) they're a very very long way behind b) it sounds like its going to be closed source - which puts a lot of people off...

IE cannot adopt a better security model because if people carry on using windows in their masses people are going to have IE, meaning hackers, virus writers and all that group are going to be writing for that browser. The fact that they're working against a browser that takes months to get fixes out for their browser means that there are always going to be a lot of people suffering because they use IE.

After the dust settles i forsee I will be using Firefox V1.2 or whatever the latest is, and I'm sure I'll be incredibly happy with is, as I am now.


You also have the other problem that I kind of touched upon... People are moving over to linux... Linux doesnt support IE, and probably not the new Google browser, but it does support Firefox...
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by:Zyloch
ID: 12152059
More like Firefox supports Linux, which is good

By biased, I don't mean what you're saying, I mean that for instance, let's say miraculously IE7 suddenly becomes Firefox * 2 or something, then we'd have a harder job of switching to IE since many of us like Firefox and hate Microsoft and IE.

Another point is that let's say Google browser finds a way to match Firefox (I think it's safe to assume Firefox is pretty much the standard to look up to right now), we might still stick with Firefox because we're familiar with it.

Regards...
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by:Diablo84
ID: 12152134
I think the Google browser is going to have to do more then matching the abilities of Firefox, it is going to have to surpass it. That said at this point in time i really cannot see how it can, Firefox has everything i could ask for in a browser and more and even then there is the extensions which can expand its capabilities even further. Do Google really think they can out something into their browser that will make it a serious competitor.

I expect they will be looking to integrate the GMail service into it but other then that i cant currently think of anything Google can do to give their browser the edge.
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by:OliWarner
ID: 12152153
I dont use firefox because i'm forced to, i dont use it because i like the logo's or the ideas...
I use it because IE is **** and firefox is the current best.

If IE7 is the best when it's around, sure I will use that... But only if it IS the best.

Where things match each other as you say... lets say if the Google browser is identically desirable to have then people will go either way... Some will stay with firefox because they're used to it or they use it in a linux environment or they'll use Google because they want something fresh...

Personally i feel the google browser is just a google attempt to stop MS coming back in the seach engine world, because MS are crying that they dont have have enough share of that market... They're proving this by their focus on integrating their own search technology into Longhorn - taking peoples choice away like that is sick... So i dont think people will go for it...

Linux will become more user friendly and companies will switch their workstations over - that's about it... That's the end of MS...
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by:pinaldave
pinaldave earned 70 total points
ID: 12152300
Summery:
1) IE is worst but I have to use IE at my work place.
2) Mozilla is great and I like it a lot. It is very easy and best. I use many of plug ins and it is making my job very easy.
3) google browser will be interesting. Amazon has integreated search engine with Google -- www.a9.com
Regards,
---Pinal
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by:Zyloch
ID: 12152313
Which is better? A9 or Google?
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by:pinaldave
ID: 12152344
A9 is saves your information and that is not good as it saves everything what I searched before.
Well, I feel  like my privacy is taken away.
Talking about google and privacy... it is total long talk...
no idea which is best.
---Pinal
A9.com is better if you use that Amazon will give you pi/2 eq 1.57 % discount in books.
---Pinal
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by:frugle
frugle earned 70 total points
ID: 12152415
google browser is likely to be an offshoot of mozilla.

this has been in the pipeline since April 2004, and discussed a couple of months prior to that.

It is likely to beta to select people who a) have relationships with google (blogger, gmail, orkut?) and b) have experience at filing bug reports properly.

Google will not "announce" anything until they are ready to go public - that way if development slips, they won't look stupid. (take note Microsoft and most game developers...)

It is likely that the gbrowser will have better support for gmail, blogger and searching, and could possibly place google adwords in webpages based upon your surfing habits. I don't know whether this is a good thing or a bad thing...

all the above is speculation - may or may not be true, opinions are mine and not of my company, and I don't like A9 either.

Mike
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by:Zyloch
ID: 12152443
Heh, never heard of A9 before this. Yes, this is pretty much speculation, but it's fun speculation. There's a lot of things gbrowser.com can be, but you never know. Overall, I just got nothing else to do
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by:eeBlueShadow
eeBlueShadow earned 70 total points
ID: 12152875
Think back to Google's Underlying Principle (intentional capitals) - to develop the best search techniques for the Internet.

One of the biggest criticisms of GMail before it went beta was that it was breaking away from their niche of search, this was obviously then shattereed by the revolutionary way GMail works.

Google are going to have to pull something even more special out of the bag to win a browser war, page-side AdSense is acceptable in a web-based email but not in a browser (Opera, anyone?) Apart from something like the Google Toolbar (or the Google capabilities of other browsers) I can't think of any way to bring search to the browser without disrupting my browsing experience. Maybe some mini-Google system operating on cached pages, or what if Google are ready to unleash some new semantic analysis algorithms on the world?

Of course I'll reserve judgement simply as it's Google and they have a good reputation for these things, but I really can't see any closed-source product breaking into a market of people who are either Microsoft users or open-source fanatics.
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by:davidlars99
davidlars99 earned 70 total points
ID: 12153422
Hi everyone,

as a developer I'm very angry, really I don't care if it will be IE, FireFox, GBrowser or any other. None of them are what we really need, all of them have their advantage and disadvantage, for example: at this right moment I'm using FireFox, in about 20-30 minutes I have to get back to my project which I have already tested in IE and needs to be tested in all of them (I hope you guess why...), that's gonna take  twice or more time until I get it done and no matter how proffesional you are you still have to test it and still have to worry and find some either minor or major problems... that being said, I hate to imagine that I'm testing my web apps for new hack "GBrowser", ohh... another headache... I mean come on people, the browser war is not that easy to win, it's not like World War 2 Bill Gates is not gonna kill himself like Adolf Hitler did (who knows maybe he will...), not like same guys sit at Microsoft or Netscape and comming up  with some new strategy for tomorow to attack, No! the real thing is that, possibilities are endless and as long as competition remains number one strategy there's always gonna be better and worse on each side (at least for a while..). There are lots of reasons where I pick IE over the others and also lots of reasons and pretty good ones where I choose others over IE, but now I really haven't chosen "My Favorite Browser" yet...  all that being said, Google has to combine all goods and beds together and make the best, well at least not worse and then ask me which is my favorite... :)
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by:davidlars99
ID: 12153428
hey, I'm not really angry, just a little angry  :)
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by:davidlars99
ID: 12153435
does anybody know the first big disapointment of peolple in when Google first came to the stock market...? I just don't want to go off the topic...
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by:OliWarner
ID: 12153454
David, as a fellow (newly converted) web-standard developer I have to agree I really dont care who does what AS LONG AS they all standardise their ideas on what a border/width/height/attribute counts as...

I've been hacking my CSS for IE for the last 6 hours and I'm still going...


If you feel like helping at all, post back saying and i'll open up a 500p question for some help doing things I want to do in both browsers...
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by:davidlars99
ID: 12153492
OloWarner, it would be nice if you post it here, just for us to have fun with...

> I've been hacking my CSS for IE for the last 6 hours and I'm still going...
I'm going to give you a good logical advice, forget it, leave it for today, just before you close your eyes think about that problem, think about more solutions and tomorow... first thing in the morning I guarantee you'll look back and laugh about how easy it was... :)
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by:OliWarner
ID: 12153524
Well its one thing really...
I've setup a nested selector (i dont know the right names for these things yet)

#subnav dl>dt>a, #subnav dl>dt>a:link, #subnav dl>dt>a:hover, #subnav dl>dt>a:active {}

That give you the basic idea, i've tried, as you can see using the child hack to stop IE using it, and for now it seems to work, but its not what I want...


#subnav dl dt a, #subnav dl dt a:link, #subnav dl dt a:hover, #subnav dl dt a:active {}
that was my original line, but IE was formatting things with this dude's attributes that were actually:
#subnav dl ul li a


Does ie just skip things when it feels like it? it seems to have listened to the first and last thing I wanted, but skipped out the bit where i ask that it only formats things in the dt tags, not in uls...
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by:OliWarner
ID: 12153540
also, IE doesnt align things against my bullet points in my ULs right...
There a fix for that too?
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by:davidlars99
ID: 12153551
is your problem somehow similar to this..?

> http://www.frozendev.com/temp/css.html
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by:OliWarner
ID: 12153562
no, i dont believe it is...

here's a sample of what its applied to:
<div id="sidebar"><div id="subnav">
<dl>
<dt><a href="#">tool box</a></dt>
<ul>
  <li><a href="#">proxy list</a> </li>
  <li><a href="/tools/ip2isp/">ip 2 isp</a></li>
  <li><a href="/tools/map/">uk mapper </a></li>
  <li><a href="/tools/anonymail">anonymail</a></li>
  <li><a href="/tools/hamster/">insult generator</a></li>
  <li><a href="/tools/momma/">yo momma database</a></li>
</ul>

and here's the current temp location:
http://www.cagedguru.com/test.php

remembering that IE doesnt use the code i want it to yet becuse i protected it, how do you think i can hack it so it doesnt touch the UL/LI and only the DT
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by:Zyloch
ID: 12153736
Heh, don't worry about going off topic, you know me, half the time my head's up in the clouds. Post whatever you like here--only reason I didn't put it in lounge because this could be relevant to anyone who comes here in the future. I won't accept the off topic posts anyways.

I wonder if they're still updating Hotjava lmao
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by:OliWarner
ID: 12153778
Yeah sorry about going OT... But for the record, I fixed my issue... IE has been slain...

Well you know the score as far as things go...

Closed source software just doesnt cut it when there are people that want to hack your software open...
Open Source will always find and fix the bugs before theres a problem...

You should read the page I posted up there earlier: http://www.cagedguru.com/test.php
I had a good rant on there earlier about IE... Plus you can tell me what you think about the design... :)
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by:Zyloch
ID: 12153792
Design looks pretty good. If you need any help with the login, registration, user account stuff with PHP, you know where to ask :)

It's a great design, but I'm sad that you ate all the files I wanted to view. Perhaps you can regurgitate them soon?
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by:OliWarner
ID: 12153816
Heh... its actually a design to replace my current one at http://www.thepcspy.com
All the behind-the-scenes is done... in ASP/ASP.net... but thanks for the offer anyway...

All the text is just dummy text until I get it in place and plug all my code into it...
Did you see how much i reckon I'm going to be saving in bandwidth by using web-standards? ~30 gigs a year... That's just crazy...
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by:COBOLdinosaur
ID: 12155281
Currently the best browsers in the world are built on the Mozilla code.  I don't see anything on th ehorizon that changes that.  If Google builds a Mozilla based browser it won't cut it for the same reason Opera does not cut it. They will put ads on it or charge for it.  Google has to generate enough revenue to keep investors happy.  Mozilla does not ahve to do that.

As for IE, any new browser is going to have the same problems as IE 6.  To support the M$ products and .net, the security model has to be allow easy bondary crossing, and the is the achilles heal that has made IE just plain unsafe to use.

The biggest issue for me is standards.  I work close to the standards.  Mozilla is the most standards compliant browser, and that is why we have moved 60,000 of the 80,000 users we support to Mozilla.  The other 20,000 will be moved by the end of the year.  Most of the code conversions we had to do were to get rid of the IE crap that was necessary to get our apps to look like they were written to standard.

I think Gbrowser is a great idea because it will get us closer to IE be ing history.  In the end open source standards complaint browsers will win.  I don't care if it is Firefox of something else; as long as I have something that consistently follows the standards so I don't have to hack around deficencies.

BTW,

The slopcode developers that have thousands of pages out there that assume IE by using document.all to reference the dom, will not be a problem with the release of Mozilla 1.8 which includes undetected support for document.all

Cd&
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by:COBOLdinosaur
COBOLdinosaur earned 70 total points
ID: 12155307
Oh and the other biggie in 1.8 is the ability to disable CSS for site where the developer is one of those morons who thinks they have to control everything on the screen to impress someone with their design.

Cd&
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by:Zyloch
ID: 12155846
Well, M$ say they only hire the best--I'm willing to bet the IE code is a force to be reckoned and would take all those smart people to figure it out. Any jump start on IE7is bound to take awhile while they sort out the code so it shouldn't be a problem--IE just has to fool the relatively computer illiterate fools out there who can't tell a small increase in security to total security.

The good news is that if IE gets tabbed browing in its next release, we can feel good that they're copying from Mozilla, Opera, and about every other browser that has tabbed browsing =)
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by:frugle
ID: 12156166
and are m$ ever going to release a browser which features ad-blocking routines? with the amount of money MSN rakes in from ads, I doubt it.

Mike
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by:OliWarner
ID: 12156219
In SP2 IE blocks popups...
But that's about it...
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by:Zyloch
ID: 12156695
Disabling IE is so hard. I try to make batch file that will start Firefox everytime my icon is pressed. Deleted the iexplorer.exe but it keeps friggin coming back dammit
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by:OliWarner
ID: 12156702
You cant remove IE from windows...

Explorer and Internet explorer are joined at the head and there's no chance of separating them...


What you can do is only use explorer for doing windows nonsense, and set firefox as your default browser...
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by:frugle
ID: 12162252
Go into Control Panel, Add/Remove Programs, Windows components.

uncheck Internet Explorer

This removes access to IE via the startmenu and desktop.

Launch firefox and make it the default browser

Place a shortcut to firefox on the desktop, rename to Internet Explorer and change it's icon to the blue E from c:/prog...iexplore.exe

copy this shortcut into your startmenu.

Gotta love lUsers

Mike
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by:Zyloch
ID: 12163994
Bahahahahaha lol, thanks frugle heh
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by:davidlars99
ID: 12190913
I've got some  good news here people, Red Hat bought Netscape from AOL, but I don't think that they bought the whole company, I think what news said this morning was that, Red Hat bought Netscape Security and I'm a little confused what thry mean by that... BTW, I really didn't like to see netscape in AOL's hands. :)
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by:frugle
ID: 12191344
Redhat have entered into a definitive asset purchase agreement with AOL - not bought them completely...

The products to be acquired are derived from the Netscape Enterprise Suite and include Netscape Directory Server and Netscape Certificate Management System. Red Hat plans to start marketing these products as part of its Open Source Architecture over the next 6 to 12 months.

What this means for Microsoft's stranglehold on ldap and certification I have yet to find out, but anyone taking anything off a company like AOL has got to be buying a lemon - I can't see them giving up anything of value easily.

Mike
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by:davidlars99
ID: 12191864
yeah that's right, AOL paid 10 mil. for whole netscape and sold only part of it for 25 mil. yeah... I would say so too...
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by:OliWarner
ID: 12192596
But netscape (navigator) is just a poorly modded version of mozilla...
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by:Zyloch
ID: 12194398
NN is definitely NOT a poorly modded version of mozilla. Mozilla is just an exception version of NN :)
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by:Zyloch
ID: 12194401
Ah, oops, I meant exceptional
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by:frugle
ID: 12195284
I bought a PC from PC World a couple of years ago for £1000 - I'll sell you the hard drive, power switch and internal speaker for £250,000.

Mike
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by:Zyloch
ID: 12195313
Hmm... How much will they be worth in 30 years? As much as my silver penny?
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by:Zyloch
ID: 12208584
Well, this discussion looks like it will be coming to an end :) Time to award points
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by:COBOLdinosaur
ID: 12208692
Thanks Zyloch.  It was an interesting thread. :^)

Cd&
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by:pinaldave
ID: 12208922
For sure Zyloch,
It was great thread.
Thank you,
---Pinal
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