Saturday, February 19, 2005

Web Browsers

A Web Browser is a computer application that allows you to read web pages. The Internet Explorer (IE) is Microsoft's web browser.

Microsoft has embedded IE into their Windows operating system. An operating system (OS) is the core system that lets you interact with the computer. Windows XP is an operating system, as is Linux, Apple Mac OS X, and others. Microsoft decided that the internet was so important that it linked the IE web browser into Windows. This was a controversial move when it happened, but that is what happened. The result is that many web site designers designed their web sites to work well with the Microsoft IE browser. Some (but thankfully not all) will only work with IE.

Therefore, you need to have IE installed and regularly updated if you plan to use the web. The current version is version 6.0 with a large number of security patches added to it.

IE is the de facto standard for browsers because Windows is the de facto standard for operating systems -- almost everyone has IE, and no one can get rid of it. However, it is good software. You could go on your merry way and use IE and be happy, as long as you update it diligently.

But, you are not limited to using IE.

A few months ago, the Mozilla project released Firefox 1.0. Since I tried it, I use it for all my web browsing except where I must use Internet Explorer.


It is fast.

It is written with security in mind -- no "pop-up" ads unless you want them. Easy to manage security settings.

It allows "tabs" for browsing, in which you can open several web sites and easily move from one to the other by clicking on its tab.

It allows for better organized bookmarks of your favorite sites, and "smart bookmarks" for bookmarking and automatically updating your news feeds.

It has a clean design. It is easy to use.

It does not have the vulnerabilities IE has to viruses, if only because an army of hackers are more focused on IE.

Check it out. Highly recommended.