IE7 May Beat Firefox

by Preston Gralla

I've been using Internet Explorer 7 in the latest Vista beta for the last several weeks, and here's a shocker: It may be better then Firefox.



I'm a big Firefox fan, and so I came to IE 7 with a chip on my shoulder. "Tabbed browsing," I thought, "big deal. It's just a johnny come lately."



In fact, though, it does a lot of things right. For example, you can view thumbnails of all your tabs with a single click, and then switch among them. You can see them list style, instead, then switch among them.



It also includes a good anti-phishing filter, and a built-in RSS reader that has some nice features, although it could also use a bit of help.



Firefox, though, has extensions, and this is one area where it's far superior to IE 7. But the latest version of Firefox is somewhat flaky, with many people experiencing crashes and other problems.



Unless Firefox fixes those problems, and adds some new features to its 2.0 release, it could find itself falling further behind IE 7, because the Vista version of IE is a very nice piece of work.



What do you think about the IE 7/Firefox ongoing browser wars?


10 Comments

MartinMartin
2006-01-18 14:34:24
Resource Usage Woes
I've avoided using Firefox because about 5% (in my experience) of the sites out there don't work on firefox, and windows media is pretty much a no-go on it (I loathe RealPlayer and, to a lesser extent, Quicktime).


I finally installed it to do some testing and decided to "switch" for a while. A few hours later I look at my task window and i see firefox taking 300 megs of system memory. So... back to IE.

brianiac
2006-01-18 16:53:34
Resource Usage Woes
This is not at all typical, at least in my experience. I've installed Firefox 1.5 on many, many machines, and noticed no leaks so far.


As far as crashes and performance problems, these (at least in my experience) are usually third-party extensions--and Mozilla can't be responsible for those any more than Microsoft can be held liable for blue screens caused by third-party drivers.


I'd also say that Firefox-incompatible public sites long ago dropped closer to 2%, and about half of those are clueless developers using user agent sniffing, which can be bypassed using the User Agent Switcher extension.

m.oreilly
2006-01-18 20:49:21
IE7 is smokin'
yep, very fast. took me awhile to get usede to
the tabs. i haven't been plagued by the FF mem
problems though, but i think MS has a winner here.
paulbrowne
2006-01-19 03:12:30
IE7 v Firefox - everybody wins
With Microsoft behind IE7 (ie Official releases and the Windows update site) adoption of it is going to be pretty rapid - especially if there are continuing security release with IE6.


This is actually good news for Firefox. 1) It means that Firefox developers must 'raise their game' and continue improving and 2) A more secure web for Firefox users with fewer people using vunerable versions of IE.

csgallagher
2006-01-19 07:43:01
IE7 is still lipstick on a pig...
...because it doesn't meet or exceed the extensibility that Firefox enables which has unquestionably become the optimal experience.


To enable people to use the browser as a container to empower one another without requiring C++ skills is where Firefox has become an attractive proposition.


Microsoft is simply changing the color of the lipstick on its pig.

ericlgorr
2006-01-19 10:15:34
Firefox.
"For example, you can view thumbnails of all your tabs with a single click, and then switch among them."


You can already do this in Firefox with the Viamatic foXpose extension found at:



This is a great article which mentions other rather extraordinary extensions for firefox.


The Firefox Hacks You Must Have


It does mention the TabX extension, which is no longer necessary as the most recent version of Tab Mix Plus now has the functionality that TabX provided.


As for leaking, crashes and other reported problems that some people are having with firefox 1.5, I have not experienced any of these problems - although, I do stick with what appear to be the better extensions.

fbg111
2006-01-19 11:59:53
Simpletons
We Opera users smirk at these comparisons b/t Firefox and IE, since Opera invented most of the "innovations" you're talking about, and still does them better. Opera's rendering speed, efficiency (rocker gestures, shortcut keys), and MDI (Multiple Document Interface, eg tabbed browsing on steroids), integrated email tag/label-based email and rss reader, and no-restart skinning, are among the many reasons. I could go on and on. To us, both Firefox and IE are jonnie-come-lately's. In fact, Opera's only disadvantage is that it is not OSS, but as of 8.5, at least it's free.


Having said that, I do use Firefox when I need to use a website that doesn't work correctly in Opera, like one of my banking websites, and I make sure that my web code works perfectly in FF, which isn't too hard since FF and Opera render more similarly than either does to IE. As of FF1.5, FF has become a close second to Opera in terms of features and performance, but the problem is that for FF to match Opera's features you need to install a ton of extensions, some of which have not yet reached the 1.0 release. What the FF team needs is an internal Extension Certification Process that ensures that extenions that are certified are stable, do not crash the browser, or leak memory, and that they are essentially as well integrated into the browser as the Mozilla team could have done if they had written the extension as part of the base code themselves.


As for IE, they're only six years late, which should be reason enough not to use it anymore. After MS won the browser wars and escaped the courts by whining about how they needed to be free to "innovate", they completely stopped innovating. They disbanded the IE team and for 5 years left the world with IE6 and its broken CSS implementation and security model, providing only security updates after vulnerabilities were discovered. Now suddenly we're going to reward them for demonstrating the worst qualities of an unopposed monopoly by lauding the fact that IE has finally caught up with the second best browser on the market, and might have even surpassed it in insignificant ways? Riiiight...

ericlgorr
2006-01-19 12:52:27
Simpletons
oooo...yes, wonderful way to try to get people to support another browser...insult them...unless your actual goal was to scare people away from Opera.


In which case, congratulations, you may have succeeded.

rebroad
2006-01-19 12:53:17
Don't forget K-Meleon
K-Meleon is "leaner" than Firefox. I would be interested to know how it compares against IE7 and the latest Firefox.
mocax
2006-02-02 00:35:04
IE7 may do it
Just installed IE7 on WinXP
The tabs look weird in classic "skinless" theme.
For tab behaviour, it's almost identical to Firefox's, which is a good thing.
RSS newsfeeds look nice and flashy, but I'd like to have the simple menu style of firefox's live bookmarks.
One feature that stood out is the "real" zoom. I'm actually zooming into a webpage instead of resizing text. I've been waiting for this for ages. Though, it'll eat up memory.
The other nifty but resource hungry feature is the quick tabs.


In terms of memory-hogginess, it's slightly less hungry than Firefox on my AMD Duron with 128MB RAM. I'll try it on my high end system when it arrives next week.


I guess Firefox may once again be relegated to the "browser for geeks" niche...