24/7/dev&coffee

simply me

Why is IE going down so much?

Having enough of problems with IE, I'm switching to Mozilla Firefox today.

Why?

First, there are all those security problems. Last update to ADODB.Stream seems to be only a quick-fix for particular problem and it isn't even trying to address many other, *known* issues with ActiveX security - for example with much-discussed Shell.Application component (more info here). There is even example exploit ready - opening harmless command prompt, but it is only a matter of time, when somebody find some more “practical” use of that technique. On abovementioned site you can find also an instruction how to patch registry to disable this component, just in case.

Second, features. IE was for some time beautiful in its simplicity. Now it looks only outdated. Popup filters and download manager? A praised features of upcoming version, while other browser have it for ages. Tabbed browsing? Nope. Mouse gestures? No way. Zoom? Are you kidding? Extensible support for search engines? No way, and probably it will never be included because MSN tries to build on search now. Etc.

Third, web standards. Yeah, I know it is vague. But just try to make XHTML+CSS complaint site, which will look the same in all browsers. IE always goes in the way. Just look what it means: IE, which was always feature-rich for developers, now is the most annoying browser for the same people. Statistics show that IE is losing users, but the loss of developers is the crack that will be most difficult to fill.

To summarize: IE guys, you have to get out of year 1999 as soon as possible. When people say Microsoft, they think Windows and IE. This is the most common. Losing IE for Mozilla or Opera you are giving away a lot more than some small percent of users - you're giving away a lot of brand recognition. How can anybody forget about the first and most used application of his clients? Is this arrogant or just overlooking? How can you say you want to provide the very best experience to users when the most important tool, an icon of our times, browser which is the very first computing experience of many people, is so broken?

So, make me come back to IE. Or maybe nobody cares?

Posted: Jul 09 2004, 01:38 PM by michu | with 13 comment(s)
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Comments

Frans Bouma said:

I'm a firefox user myself for a long time now, but also mozilla has its exploits (discovered yesterday, 0.9.2 has the fix). The difference is however that fixes for exploits are available the next day and are easy to install (no reboot)

However I think that MS simply doesn't care much. IE is still in the 9x% usage range, so why bother?
# July 9, 2004 7:53 AM

Aidas said:

totally agree with author
# July 9, 2004 8:08 AM

Karsten Samaschke said:

I agree in every single word!
# July 9, 2004 8:18 AM

Fabrice said:

"So, make me come back to IE"

What for?
# July 9, 2004 8:28 AM

Michal said:

Marcel,
It's the last moment. I hope they will do something with all those issues.

Fabrice
There are some reasons. First, I like IE. I have been using that program since I don't know when. Second making it better will make computing more seamless for beginners. Making it standards complain will make developers' life (and mine) easier. They have resources to do this good, so the question is - why not?
# July 9, 2004 8:33 AM

Scott Galloway said:

I'll put on my mystic hat; well, it's also partly from reading Joel Spolsky's recent essay slightly differently from other seem to have: as Firefox gains popularity, Internet Explorer development will take off again - similarly, as the Longhorn release date nears we can expect IE releases to restart. Why? Simple, it's pretty obvious that once Microsoft won the borwser wars it was decided that this free product just wasn't worth progressing with (the 'free' bit being the big decider IMHO, Office for example has had no MAJOR improvements for about 8 years, yet regular as clockwork we get a new version). As Joel says, Microsoft has no major need to support standards or make their borwser more extensible etc...because they wouldn't make any more cash out of it. What does raise profits (and share prices!) is encouraging the development of applications which run on an operating system that they themselves sell - or by extension apps which run on servers which they sell and run *best* on Internet Explorer - which in itself is predominantly run in OSes they control.
# July 9, 2004 8:38 AM

Marcel said:

Michal,

Even if Microsoft does address all the issues we are currently experiencing with IE what makes you (us) think that the exact same thing won’t happen again in the nearby future.

Microsoft does have a tendency (so it seems) to not fix or update certain projects once they have been released. I have been waiting for ages for .NET Framework 1.1 SP1 and now I am finally able to download a technical preview version. Which still isn’t to clear about what exactly has been fixed (links to missing kb articles).

I mean I can understand that Microsoft wants to make sure that patches they release for software don’t cause any problems. But leaving us waiting for such a long time is inexcusable.

Furthermore, I do wish they would have a more accessible bug repository ? Searching for cryptic keywords like “kbNetFrame110preSP1fix” just isn’t logical.

-- Marcel

# July 9, 2004 8:50 AM

Paul Gielens said:

Why even bother using IE, there are enough suitable alternatives.
# July 9, 2004 9:55 AM

Scott Galloway said:

Paul...no choice...especially for Web Developers, IE is not standards compliant to the only way to ensure stuff works in IE is to use IE...of course Microsoft products like Outlook Web Access and Windows Update only really work properly in IE :-(
# July 9, 2004 10:11 AM

Michal said:

Why using IE?
Because it is included in the system. For most people it is enough reason.

To make Internet a better, safer place, the IE team have to make it better and more secure - by design and by default. I can imagine spambots installing on users' computers through flaws of IE. Maybe there are some by now. It has to be fixed, way to many people is using IE. I'm not talking only about you and me, because what happens with other Intenet-connected computers can affect all users.

And Scott is right - in many situation there is no way to avoid IE absoultely, unless you're using Linux. But I don't want to use Linux as primary system - I make a living from Windows/Web programming using MS technologies.
# July 9, 2004 10:18 AM

Michal said:

Yes I know - but it is a lot closer to Nirvana :)
# July 9, 2004 11:14 AM