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Internet Explorer vs. FireFox

Until recent I had never used FireFox (FF) because Internet Explorer (IE) was good enough for me.

I don't do much web page development and because I own licenses for Visual Studio (VS), HTTPWatch and IEWatch (tried the Internet Explorer Developer Toolbar but it keeps bowing up and killing IE and I've seen Nikhil Kothari's Web Development Helper installed and doesn't work well when non US English characters are displayed) I never needed anything else.

Over the years I've seen all the campaigning against IE and promoting FF as a better, more standards compliant, more secure and what else.

A few days back I had to do some work with ASP.NET validation summary and validators and needed to check if it worked on FF.

Talk about disappointment:

  • FireBug is by far no better than the tools I've been using.
  • FF needs its own proxy configurations - For me, any application running on Windows that needs its own proxy settings it's just a badly developed application.
  • (I'm sure I'd find much more if I used it.)

IE isn't a good developer tool yet (not even in IE8 at this time [^]) and it should have been for a long time. Or, at least, VS should have better support HTML and CSS debugging.

But, on the other hand, Windows Internet Explorer is just another application built on top of the Web Browser Control[^] (which is part of the IE installation, but can be used by itself). You can build any Windows application that uses a Web Browser Control (I've built more than one). Looks like the same is not as simple with FF [^].

I don't intend to start a web browser war. I just wanted to state my disappointment. I guess FF fans set my expectation too high.


  • Check out Maxthon 2. Uses either the IE engine, but offers application functionality similar to Firefox.

  • "I don't do much web page development" and "I'm sure I'd find much more if I used it" say it all.

  • >Joe Chung

    And that makes FF better that what I have with IE how?

  • Because IE's CSS support is miserable. That's why.

    Although FF's CSS support isn't anything to write home about either, it's still miles ahead of where IE7 is.

  • To your Joe comment, I tell you how: if you haven't done much web development I'm sorry but you don't know what you're talking about. After you start hitting the idiosyncrasies of IE, the endless bugs and quirks, and learn how to navigate around them we'll talk. I mainly use IE for development only because VS doesn't play nicely with FF (or plays half way nicely).

    You're comparing a $300 product to a free ad-on? And what exactly didn't do that you would have liked it to do? From my experience you have to play a bit with Firebug until you learn all it can do.

  • Firebug is quite useful when you need to experiment with CSS because you can immediately see the result. That is primarily what I use it for. Expression Web removed the Preview tab that was in FrontPage so now I can't preview web pages without a complete browser launch or page reload.

  • >foobar

    That's more what and how you can do it than how you debug it.

    On the other hand, each browser's implementation of CSS is probably due to the fact that standards take longer to approve than to implement. See the case of OOXML - it's already a standard and there's no fully compliant implementation. Not even by Microsoft. :)

    If this doesn't change, in the future, that will negotiated between browser "vendors" and W3C wil just be a recording institution. I wouldn't like that.

  • >Peter

    The fact that I haven't done much web page development (there' more to ASP.NET and web than just pages and controls) doesn't mean that I haven't worked in close proximity with those who do.

    I'll have to admit that I used FireFox 2.0 with FireBug 1.1 Beta (because "Firebug 1.1.0 has had many beta tests and is the version recommended for Firefox 2" - http://www.getfirebug.com/releases/) and FireFox 3b3 with FireBug 1.2. And, in both cases I got exactly what I paid for. One thing that I couldn't do was adding watches. Some times I had to kill FF because I couldn't do anything with FB. Breakpoints and stepping in code stops somewhere and not allways where expected or on the code that will be executed (specialy on if or while statements where the condition evaluates to false).

    I admit that I had my expectations set to high. Never said that IE was even good (I have to many hours interoping with IE to know better). FF+FB just isn't that much better.

  • >Robert S. Robbins

    Expression Web and Visual Studio 2008 do a fair work of calculating the style of an element, but the rendering of the preview is just bugged. I probably could have done better by just hosting the web browser control in the preview pane.

  • >Warrie

    What version of IE + JScript are you comparing against? JScript 5.7 is more performant than previous versions. IE8 is supposed to be even faster but IE is a few years behind FF on this. Will IE be able to keep up with FF now?

    Are you talking about this?

    It doesn't seem to have any javascript features. It's just for working with the HTML document, right?

  • This same discussion is also going on here:

  • One of the projects I work in is a smart client application that has a menu with the web applications employees use.

    There's some interopping between these web applications and the smart client and this is easy with IE.

    This started with IE and the migration from Win2000 to WinXP. Because over the years applications have been counting on some of IE's "features", changing to IE7 would imply certifying all web applications (you just don't risk business continuity because of these geeky stuff).

    No one knows when IE8 will be out. Probably by the same time as FF4. I think it would be best patching IE7 along the way to IE8.

  • All I gotta say is... Firefox and IE 7/8 both suck I have installed firefox like 2 times and gave it a chance I uninstalled it both times.

    Google's Chrome is the future!! Much better UI you get rid of all the useless menues. Much faster javascript engine.

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