Case In Point: Multi Browser Man, Editorial By Loyd Case

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News Posted: Wed, Sep 9 2009 6:52 PM

The current crop of web browsers are total crap. Let me explain...

Today's web browsers seem to be still mired in the Internet of five years ago. Back then, the browser wars were in full swing, and different browsers tried to lock you into their view of the Internet universe. Today's web is a multifaceted content multiverse. Yet despite common features like tabbed browsing, today's browsers still try to lock you in. Some sites are only viewable in Internet Explorer. Firefox locks you in with the vast array of cool plugins. Google Chrome grabs you with its integration into the Googleverse, particularly Google Apps. Apple's Safari appeals to Mac and iPhone owners. It's a ridiculous, fragmented state of affairs.

As I write this, I have two different browsers open: Firefox 3.5 and the beta of Google Chrome 3.0. Occasionally, I even fire up Internet Explorer 8.0, whose user interface is arguably clunkier than either Firefox or Chrome. I’m thinking about installing Apple’s Safari as well...


So many browsers, so little time.  Needless...

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3vi1 replied on Wed, Sep 9 2009 8:15 PM

>> Firefox locks you in with the vast array of cool plugins. Google Chrome grabs you with its integration into the Googleverse

Idea 872: Create new Firefox plugin that integrates with the Whedonverse.

Note to self: Blame Marco for giving me the idea.

What part of "Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn" don't you understand?

++++++++++++[>++++>+++++++++>+++>+<<<<-]>+++.>++++++++++.-------------.+++.>---.>--.

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Dave_HH replied on Wed, Sep 9 2009 9:08 PM

I do so hate them all. Firefox is crashing lately on me too in Win 7, IE8 is such a fussy pig. Safari 4 is impressive but does something funky with fonts and smoothing. Opera... don't even go there. Chrome, I gotta take another look but it was pretty slim last I checked.

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1. Loyd Case writing for HH! Big Smile

2. FireFox has been really crashy on my netbook under Windows 7. That and just plain slow. I switched to Chrome on it and I have been relatively happy with it for now. I like the way the UI takes up a bit less space than most. Firefox has not given me many issues on the desktop, but I do have the issue with "FF is already running, but not responding." I have to kill the process under the task manager.

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ClemSnide replied on Wed, Sep 9 2009 11:44 PM

Well, I agree somewhat, but still have to toss my two cents in.

Part of the reason things get stuck in 2001 or whenever is that people get used to doing things a certain way, and really don't want to see alternatives-- just more of what they're used to. There have been plenty of experimental browsers, "new ways to view the Internet," and they've gone nowhere. Being an RPG addict, I bemoan the fact that the supercomputers of today are still running what's essentially the D&D of our grandparents (which is actually true; it's 34 years old). New keyboard designs are met with ridicule and die a quiet death. Face it, people, we're complacent.

It's easy to see why-- without a compelling reason to switch, people won't make the effort. And poor designs (generally choices made by engineers and not Human Factors experts) make it easy to stay with the state of the 10-years-ago art.

Web designers especially need to have a purge, and I mean that in the Stalin sense. I can't find more than a handful of websites where the words (enlarged to a point where I can read them) don't overlap and fail to fit the designer's chosen layout. It's one of the reasons I read HotHardware; the hinky text is at a minimum here. (It's also why I stay with Firefox. The largest text size in IE is still miniscule, same as the largest text size in Windows Help.)

But for my particular area of need, there's hope. As designers age, they'll get poorer eyesight, and will of course design for themselves... which means that low-vision users will get some love. A guy can dream, can't he?

 

I should also mention that Firefox is pretty damn stable for me; I honestly don't think I've had it just suddenly quit, and I cut down on the startup time considerably with a few tricks published in PCWorld. I run without a great deal of AddOns; I'd suspect that one of them was the culprit.Make sure your Adobe Flash player is up to date-- that's one of the leading bughouses.

 

I had a lot more problems with the same version under Vista than under 7 (the Not Responding part especially) so the OS must share some portion of the responsibility. Speaking about doing things the old fashioned way: Until downloading the RC of Windows 7, I was ready to go back to Windows XP. When you get a title bar saying "Task Manager (Not Responding)," you know things are seriously bad.)


"I didn't cry when Bambi's mother was shot... but I cried when HAL was turned off."

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Dave_HH replied on Thu, Sep 10 2009 8:48 AM

Clem, you make very good points about complacency. However, I think what we're seeing now is a race between browser developers to out-do each other rather than battle-test their code to make sure it's stable/compatible. Also, there is little question that making a browser compatible across the entire wild-wild-web, along with various operating systems, is literally a herculean effort. Good luck to them all!

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kid007 replied on Thu, Sep 10 2009 11:07 AM

Dave to answer your last statement, I believe we live in a generation that programmers and developer would be able to meet the demand. and yes right now is not like back in the day when IE, Netscape, Opera where in the market. Obviously I believe that in a short time things not only would change for the better but it would be great change!

Great thing are coming up pretty soon not only because Windows 7 is finally out and what keep hearing is finally something that not only would put Microsoft in the right direction but also Apple is working cool little things that would be interesting to wait for.

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digitaldd replied on Mon, Sep 14 2009 11:21 AM

bob_on_the_cob:

1. Loyd Case writing for HH! Big Smile

 

Agreed I used to love the stuff he would write-up on Extremetech. He's probably going to make some appearances on some revision3 shows too, i can see him on HDNation or Tekzilla.

 

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