The Other Side of the Apex

Album Cover: Icky Thump

"You can't be a pimp and a prostitute, too."
White Stripes / Icky Thump

Posted on July 10, 2004 3:38 PM in Browsers
Warning: This blog entry was written two or more years ago. Therefore, it may contain broken links, out-dated or misleading content, or information that is just plain wrong. Please read on with caution.

Anyone who has read my blog before knows that I am a big fan of Firefox. The people I know personally who stop by my site often make fun of me, wondering why on earth I post so much about this browser that they've never (or hardly) even heard about.

The truth of the matter is, I am obsessed with web browsers. It isn't just a Firefox thing. However, the reason I post so much about Firefox is because it happens to be my favorite web browser. This wasn't always so. Afterall, how could it be? Firefox (aka Phoenix and Firebird) hasn't even been around for very long. For a very long time I was a full-on Internet Explorer fan and supporter. If you'll believe it, I even used to deny one of my former co-worker's claims that Mozilla was a better browser than IE. Afterall, tabbed browsing made absolutely no sense! ;)

So while you might expect me to sit here on the side of those Firefox fanatics who absoltely despise Internet Explorer and quickly bring up things like lacking PNG support and pop-up blocking while bashing Microsoft's dominant browser, you'd be wrong. Just as quickly as I turned into a "Mozillian," I could turn back into a Microsofti...um, Explorerian...um...Internet Explorer guy. All they have to do is compete like they did back in the days of the first Browser Wars and they'll quickly have my attention.

The thing about Microsoft's Internet Explorer team is that they've been a sleeping giant for a very long time. You can think of them as the football team that goes up 56-0 in the first half and doesn't want to completely trounce their opponent in the 2nd half for fear of looking bad. Then again, we are talking about Microsoft here. Okay, so maybe they do want to trounce their opponent, but they have next week's game to think about so they're taking it easy. Yeah, that analogy fits a little better, I think.

So now here come Firefox the backup quarterback (Mozilla, the starter, went down at the beginning of the 3rd quarter) and Opera, some unknown halfback who all of a sudden is running through holes that weren't there in the first half. So what is Microsoft doing? They're pulling their starters back off the bench and saying we need to compete with these guys again or they're going to send us home with a loss. So that is exactly what I think is going to happen (and perhaps already is happening).

After showing its first market share decline in over 4 years, the Internet Explorer team is starting to respond to criticism and actually make changes *gasp* to their browser.

There are a lot of smart people at Microsoft. As long as they follow the specs (like they used to in the days of the first Browser Wars) and listen to their customers, I believe they can once again leave the other browsers in the dust. And if you're reading this and shaking your head because you have a bad case of Firefox tunnel vision, just remember that it is innovation and competition that will contribute to a better browsing experience for everyone. As a web developer I can appreciate the idea of IE catching up with the times, because it means I'll be able to design and develop to spec again (using, let's say, the latest CSS spec) and know that a majority of my users get to see my site(s) the way I intended.

If that's not exciting enough to support the advancement of Internet Explorer, I don't know what is.

Comments

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