Monday December 11, 2006
I just installed Internet Explorer 7 on my work computer, and it made the bullet points on the CM navbar lists disappear (this after all the hoops I jumped through to make CM look reasonable under IE6). I have no intention of upgrading on my computer at home, so the odds of this getting fixed are pretty slim.
IE users, listen to me — you’re perpetuating bad stuff by not switching to Firefox (on Windows). There’s a reason why the phrase “internet explorer is evil” returns more then a million hits on Google. Switch to Firefox. You’ll be doing right by yourself and by the whole world. Feel free to use the comments section to tell me why you don’t want to.
Let me just dispel one misconception: it’s NOT Firefox that’s messing up websites.
We have these things called standards, which are a consistent set of rules for how a web browser is supposed to work. Smart people from all different places put them together. You’ve heard of a “standards compliant” browser? Firefox is one (it’s not perfect, but it’s 99% right). Safari is one. Opera is one.
With Internet Explorer, Microsoft chooses another way — to do whatever the fuck it wants. Accept some of the rules, ignore others, and implement still others in a way that’s deliberately different. There are ways to make a website look right in all the browsers, but they require workarounds, hacks, and other standards-violating tricks on the part of web developers.
Any internet search on this topic will bring up thousands of rants by people who build web sites about how terrible this is, the “evil” link above is just one extreme example. Putting these workarounds means that building a website that looks good in the major browsers can take twice as long as it otherwise would or more.
So, web developers are unhappy, but regular people don’t need to care, right? We can just use whatever browser’s best for us, right?
No. This hurts everyone, because it raises the bar to putting something on the internet, and keeps information away from all of us. To the extent that it’s difficult to build a good website, it’s largely Microsoft’s fault.
There is a slight learning curve for someone switching to Firefox, but it’s worth it. And not just because you’re supporting the people who are doing the right thing, and snubbing the people who are doing the wrong thing: Firefox is a better browser, too. It’s more secure, and it has better features — as evidenced by the fact that Internet Explorer 7 “borrows” many features from Firefox (and still doesn’t implement them very well).
I would suggest that when Windows asks you to download IE7, you download Firefox 2 instead (use the link above).
Microsoft can get away with this because a lot of people use Internet Explorer, so web developers have to cater to it. But fewer people are using it every day. In the comments, R. links to a usage graph for Europe. Above is a graph for Critical Miami so far in the month of December. I say everyone else should consider getting with the program.comments powered by Disqus