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Browser Survey: Which browser is the best?

Please only answer if you have installed current versions of all the browse

     
2:43 pm on Jun 10, 2004 (gmt 0)

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I know this question has been raised many times, but with some of the recent updates, I'd like to know if I should venture into trying some other browsers (I've only tried IE and Opera lately). Please only answer if you've installed and tried the major browsers and therefore have a basis of comparison.

1. Which browser is the best?

2. Discuss your answer.
Pros and Cons of the different Browsers.

dcrombie

3:27 pm on June 10, 2004 (gmt 0)

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On Mac there is no question that the best browser is Safari (1.2.2). The latest versions of Explorer (5.2.3) and Netscape (7.1) are cruddy and outdated by comparison, while Firefox (0.8), Opera (7.5) and Camino (0.7) still have some interesting quirks and don't fit as seamlessly into the OS. Out of the latter browsers I'd pick Camino for having the least 'clutter'.

;)

3:37 pm on June 10, 2004 (gmt 0)

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I've been pretty happy with Firefox for day to day use.

Opera is a nice browser, but the ads annoy me and I still find the interface to be cumbersome. There are also lots of nice extensions for Firefox (e.g. tabbed is a must, web developer is cool), and it's much easier to play around with functionality myself when I need to. It's far from perfect, but deserves credit for being a fast, free and functional browser.

Internet explorer I only have installed for testing, and even then only after I removed/disabled a lot of the more dubious 'features'. If it wasn't for it's large market share, I wouldn't touch it with someone else's bargepole ;)

3:55 pm on June 10, 2004 (gmt 0)

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FireFox is the best, in my opinion. I have Opera 7.5, FireFox 0.8 and 0.9, Netscape 7.1 and Mozilla 1.7. FireFox wins my vote because of the small, uncluttered interface, extremely fast browsing speed, virtually endless customizing options, security, and the ability to add extensions.

If I feel in a really lean mood, I fire up K-Meleon. Just rarely, though, since it has less functionality than FireFox.

Opera 7.5 is also a great browser. I don't like the interface as well as FireFox, but the Opera panels are pretty cool!

3:59 pm on June 10, 2004 (gmt 0)

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FireFox!

My favorite features:
-Tabbed browsing
-download manager
-developer's toolbar

4:00 pm on June 10, 2004 (gmt 0)

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IE 6.x is absolutely the best browser out there, hands down. Nothing compares to its implementation of standards and global audience reach. ;)
4:01 pm on June 10, 2004 (gmt 0)

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I just love K-Meleon, 'cause it does everything I could ever want (and I can get plugins if not).

Otherwise, I'd have to agree with MatthewHSE that Firefox is one of the best around. Basically anything but IE is a good bet ;)

4:02 pm on June 10, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Nothing compares to its implementation of standards

lol, very carefully chosen words! :)

4:17 pm on June 10, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Firefox without any question, it has the best CSS implementation I can find, more reliable dom support, the extensions already listed, plus tab browser extensions (tried your suggestions to avoid it mathewHSE but had to go back, I use too many of the tab options, speed difference isn't enough to override convenience).

Recent favorite, web developer tool bar's ability to delete all font and background colors with a mouseclick, great for stupid mac designed sites where everything is too dark, dark text on dark background suddenly is black on white, keeps all other css going though so layouts are not broken

the new firefoxes, I think 0.9 or 1.0 will be about 4.2 megabytes download, about the same as opera that is, with speed modifications [webmasterworld.com] in mathewHSE's thread Opera loses its fastest browser edge.

Cons of Opera? consistently weak dom support, eg only in version 7.5 did they get replace() working, that's Javascript 1.1 from 1996 (I think)... Too many sacrifices made to make it a tiny footprint handheld browser, many of these are considered pluses by Opera fans, but I see them as minuses, proprietary file formats etc, 6 had zero overflow:auto support.

Pluses of IE 6, amazing ability to display what you meant, not what you coded, that would be its negative too. IE 5x I still consider a stunning achievement, radically better than any other browser of its time, dugh, since they killed the competition... 6 however showed that MS only does a good job when they are trying to crush competition, IE 6 seems to have almost no li css support that I can find for example.

Plus this: only firefox supports position:fixed AND overflow:auto correctly. Opera 7.5 came close, for the first time, but still lags on the advanced stuff I have been waiting for the browser world to finally support since 2000 now, not to mention a new bug it has with overflow:auto in some circumstances which I've been too lazy to figure out since they weren't there in 7.23, slow down your release cycles and do more testing Opera please....

re development:
firefox pretty much everything works the way I want it to.
IE windows is predictable and fairly easy to correct the bugs and display errors in most cases.
Opera display bugs are very hard to fix or figure out, but not that common, mostly just failures to implement certain css features.
Safari acts sort of like Opera 6 with some 7 thrown in, with dan devines icapture most bugs easy to fix.
IE 5.1 os 8-9, horrible dom, mediocre css
IE5.2 os x, nightmare, let it die soon...

11:24 pm on June 10, 2004 (gmt 0)

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I prefer Mozilla for its overall ease of use.
1:16 am on June 11, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Ditto Receptional Andy, MatthewHSE, Robino, and isitreal.
2:30 am on June 11, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Odd man so far with Opera 7.51. It became my default about 3 days ago after going through the
30 Days to Becoming an Opera7 Lover
tutorial. This is my first move away from IE and I feel like Rip Van Winkle:)
4:22 am on June 11, 2004 (gmt 0)

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The reason you see so few Opera posts is that we already know that Opera is the best and these other people are just deluding themselves...there's no need for us to post.
4:29 am on June 11, 2004 (gmt 0)

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When Opera actually supports the very advanced CSS I use I'll happily consider using it, until then I'll have to stick with Firefox, which despite not being the BEST, for some weird reason does support all the advanced CSS I want to use. Go figure. But I do have to congratulate Opera 7.5 for finally almost getting mouseover overflow:auto scrolling to work, now you only have to click in the space to make it scroll, that's an improvement, they'll get there eventually I guess, just goes to show that best means different things to different people, I look for the best CSS rendering and don't use Opera or IE, Opera fans look for other things that Opera does better, but for me html rendering is the core of the browser.

Opera has a nice user interface, much slicker, no doubt about that, but Firefox has a better rendering engine, just depends on what you're looking for, it's good to have choices, we're lucky to have so many reasonably good ones now, that didn't use to be the case.

[edited by: tedster at 5:38 am (utc) on June 11, 2004]

4:43 am on June 11, 2004 (gmt 0)

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oops forgot to put a smiley on the end of that one...wouldn't want another "my browser is better than your browser" thread to go astray ;)
4:43 am on June 11, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Some of us Opera users (and other browser users) might not answer this question because we've answered it 100 times before. ;)

Jennifer

4:52 am on June 11, 2004 (gmt 0)

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I use Firefox mostly, it is very customisable and has lots of features.
Opera is my second, the webmaster tools beat even Mozilla, it loses points for the ads though, I know they have to support it that way but they put themselves at a disadvantage when all their competitors are ad-free.
Internet Explorer may be way out of date, but I still use it a lot because of PageRank, and recently WebRank, from the toolbars.
5:16 am on June 11, 2004 (gmt 0)

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I prefer IE 6 on Windows, Mozilla on Linux and Safari on Mac :)

However, if Opera had been launched a little earlier and had all those toolbar addons which are currently available in IE, I'd definately go with it.

FireFox is not bad also though..

Sid

6:20 am on June 11, 2004 (gmt 0)

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For normal browsing, my requirements are very simple: the page should load. Therefore, for normal browsing, I don't have any need to change from the default IE6.

Developing is a totally different situation: I develop using Mozilla as I go, quickly checking that all content is readable in NN4, then tweaking layout for IE4&5&6, then tweaking for Opera. Any others have such tiny percentages in our stats that I don't even bother with them.

2:12 pm on June 11, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Just to throw a little something at all the Firefox people...

First, I am using Firefox right now. The only times I don't are 1) visiting the MS site 2) testing. So obviously, it's my favorite browser for the reasons mentioned above.

I also think it has more annoyances than any other browser though.

1. Password Manager is terrible. Sites that work fine in IE, Opera and even *Mozilla* will require you to manually enter you password in Firefox (why did they break the Mozilla password manager)

2. Bookmarks to pages that are in .htaccess authenticated directories are a pain. When you mouse over it, they immediately bring up the login dialog, even if you were just passing over it on the way to something else.

So, yes, Firefox has the best CSS/DOM implementation available, it's relatively small and starts much faster than Opera or Mozilla, it's got tabbed browsing unlike IE, but it also has a lot of annoying little bugs that you will come across on a regular basis, some of which have been in Bugzilla since Mozilla 0.6.

Tom

2:19 pm on June 11, 2004 (gmt 0)

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>>Password Manager is terrible

It's definitely a lot worse than the Mozilla one. Not had too many sites that cause real problems though.

>>Bookmarks to pages that are in .htaccess authenticated directories

I wasn't able to make this happen, although I've been mousing-over htaccess bookmarks like crazy ;)

2:20 pm on June 11, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Actually, I've been using FireFox almost exclusively since 0.6, and haven't found any of the little annoyances you mention. I've found it actually very simple; the interface is, in my opinion, the best of any browser out there and the features intuitive and easy to use. Like I said, though, just my opinion! ;)

dcrombie

2:41 pm on June 11, 2004 (gmt 0)

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They just released FireFox 0.9(Mac) - huge improvements over 0.8
3:17 pm on June 11, 2004 (gmt 0)

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MatthewHSE,

I agree RE the interface. That's why I put up with the annoyances. I think that once a certain stability is achieved, the interface is a lot of what makes a browser appeal to a given individual and that is just taste.

The annoyances, and many more are real though. I don't have the bugzilla numbers, but the ones I mentioned and more are in there. I would say I've come across half a dozen bothersome behaviors and they're all in Bugzilla and some have been there for years (pre-Phoenix)

>>Password Manager is terrible
>Not had too many sites that cause real problems though.

It causes problems on sites I use daily, including one for which the login is a relatively random 11-digit number that I have taped to my monitor. The main culprits are any sites that have a password field above a userid field, rather than the reverse.

>>Bookmarks to pages that are in .htaccess authenticated directories
>I wasn't able to make this happen

I'm not able to make it not happen! The bookmarks in question are for a certain webhost to get access to the control panel and they have favicons. I think, since Firefox favicon support is terrible, it tries to go get the favicon, for which purpose it needs to get authenticated. It's such a pain.

Actually, to answer the original poster. I have IE6 and Opera 7.5 installed as well and often toy with the idea of switching back to Opera (which was my default browser for a long time, but I found it annoying too). I guess I'm just easily annoyed. For the record, I find MS Word, Outlook, Eudora... oh hell, pretty much all software annoying. Just had a birthday. I must be getting old ;-)

Tom

Tom

3:41 pm on June 11, 2004 (gmt 0)

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The best current browser is without question Dillo [dillo.org] 0.8.1.

Of course, this question has been asked many, many times before, and there is no right or wrong answer, because everyone's needs are different. IE doesn't run on my system, Safari doesn't run on my system, Dillo doesn't run on Windows, I like speed, others like features, some hate Microsoft, some only use open-source...

I find all current browsers awful. I use Firefox, but that project has been terribly damaged by poor decision-making and extreme lateness to market. They've been through three names already, they've run with a default theme for three versions (0.6 to 0.8) without noticing that the licence was incompatible until a few months before the supposed 1.0 release, the implementation of the browser extensions has led to a security hole almost as big as IE's ActiveX (click to install extensions with no verification, from any old site, and which can seriously damage the installation, no uninstall option. They're implementing a whitelist, but it looks like an afterthought.). They started marketing at version 0.8 rather than waiting for 1.0, so anyone non-technical who was tempted then tries to upgrade to 0.9 or 1.0 gets broken themes, broken extensions, no import of bookmarks, meaning that they are likely to write it off and switch straight back to IE. Of course, in order to stay in the race, Firefox should have been ready, say, four years ago...

3:48 pm on June 11, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Bookmarks to pages that are in .htaccess authenticated directories are a pain. When you mouse over it, they immediately bring up the login dialog, even if you were just passing over it on the way to something else.

Yes, it appears to be getting the favicon from the server. Each time.

Either Firefox can't cache favicons from behind .htaccess-protected directories, or the favicon is cached but somehow required the password to be read from the cache. You don't even need to mouseover, you just need to open the dropdown list of bookmarks and the prompt appears.

The bug has hung around since 0.5 at least, and there's no sign of a fix yet.

Sorry for the double-post!

4:08 pm on June 11, 2004 (gmt 0)

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So it seems like you can't ask what browser is best, but you have to break it down a little more. If you want a pretty elegant user interface, with very few bugs on the stuff around the rendering engine, without the kinds of problems Firefox has, and if the best CSS performance isn't a priority, you have Opera 7.5, if the best CSS rendering is a priority, you have Firefox, if you want the IE thing of extreme error forgiveness adn generically decent, non geek interface, adequate performance you have Windows IE.

Personally, I don't think any of the current choices out there are awful, they are just different approaches to the problem of programming a user agent for the needs of the end users. I like the dynamic feel of a thriving open source project like Mozilla/Firefox, it tends to fit my needs because it's developed by people who seem to share my feelings in what is important and what isn't, so of course I'll feel it's the best product out there, with the caviat, the best browser for my needs.

I think we're extremely lucky that Opera, Mozilla, Safari/Konqueror are active thriving projects, obviously each project successfully meets the needs of the people who use it, and all of them can be improved, and will be improved. If it hadn't been for a relatively small group of people who cared enough about these issues the story could easily be IE only as a real browser.

Ergophobe, I've experienced many of the issues you pointed out re firefox/firebird, but considered them irrelevant to my main goal of displaying my CSS correctly, but to someone else those bugs and problems obviously make it not worth the headache, while to me the bugs and problems I have consistently seen from Opera 5 on re DOM and CSS support have made it impossible for me to consider using that as my main browser.

4:42 pm on June 11, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Ergophobe, I've experienced many of the issues you pointed out re firefox/firebird, but considered them irrelevant to my main goal of displaying my CSS correctly,

Me too, but that's a designer or programmers's perspective on a browser and somewhat internalist. You want it to show *your* CSS correctly.

If you're just surfing, you usually don't care about your CSS, but everyone else's and the chances are that IE will get you closest to the designer's vision.

As for the things I mentioned, I find them only mildly annoying, while I find the lack of, say, tabbed browsing in IE incredibly frustrating and limiting.

Tom

4:57 pm on June 11, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Firefox 0.8 and IE6. I've still never been impressed with Opera, just something about it seems bulky. Even without the ads.

My reason for liking IE6 is because of its popularity. Pretty much everyone tests their sites in Internet Explorer, even if they don't use it, because they know the majority does. If a site doesn't look right in IE, the designer will usually fix it till it does.

I really like FireFox and use it more than any other browser, but being realistic lets face it - no other browser gets as much testing on websites as Internet Explorer. If you're browsing with IE, it's a safe bet that the site is going to look the way its supposed to. Yes I know this goes against those of you "code nazis" who think all pages should validate and blah blah blah, but I could care less. I'm not the code police, that's not my job - all I want is to be able to see the content I'm looking for and I have a much better chance of doing that with IE than with any other browser.

5:00 pm on June 11, 2004 (gmt 0)

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that's a designer or programmers's perspective on a browser and somewhat internalist. You want it to show *your* CSS correctly.

It's not so much 'my' css, but pushing css itself to find the limits of rendering engines as they interpret CSS, then finding the bugs the user agents have in achieving that rendering. I've always liked pushing products to find these limits, it helps me establish a baseline I can use to put out somewhat stable CSS, ignoring IE 5.2 of course. I've found that when the browser programmers opt for a small fast rendering engines, the failure points are very similar, Safari and Opera have failure points so consistent that I've often wondered if a key Opera developer worked on the KHTML project, or if you simply need the rendering engine to be bigger to handle more arcane CSS methods.

If you're just surfing, you usually don't care about your CSS, but everyone else's and the chances are that IE will get you closest to the designer's vision.

Microsoft's focus on achieving the designers vision has since IE 4 been far ahead of all other browser makers, I think it comes down to having massive resources to do boring things like endless focus groups, programming for the end user that is, and they do that very well, whether in Windows, Office, or whatever. This is a weakness of all other browser projects, and of the W3C standards in general in my opinion. For example, I would have much preferred the quirks MS box model to the W3C box model, it makes far more intuitive sense from a design perspective than having to add up all your elements to create the box.

As for the things I mentioned, I find them only mildly annoying, while I find the lack of, say, tabbed browsing in IE incredibly frustrating and limiting.

To me they are also only mildly annoying, and, what's more interesting, I've gotten some of my non tech aquaintances to try firebird/firefox and they seem to have no real issues with it, since they don't use the features that cause the problems.

To be fair to IE, there are add ons available to create this functionality for IE, but I've never been interested in checking them out, I prefer to leave my IE installations in their default condition to match the average end user's IE setup. But once you've gotten used to mouse navigation and tabbed browsing, it's not possible to use a browser that doesn't have them.

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