We’ve all seen the “If Browsers were…” cartoons comparing Internet browsers as a variety of nouns. In “Modes of Transportation”, Internet Explorer is represented as a dead horse, and in “Women” IE is touted as an easy girl that spreads VD. However, they’re all subjective and weighted heavily by the opinion of the artist. So, to illustrate this silliness, I’ve made my own cartoon entitled “If Browsers were Cats with Guns”.
Despite my attempt at humor (as well as everybody else’s), let’s see what I really think:
Internet Explorer: My #1 browser. I like it and it does everything I need. It’s a good standard built on solid technology.
Chrome: I’ve never touched it, but I plan to soon. I’ve only seen the commercials and read what everyone else thinks. So how can I form an opinion and make a cartoon about it? That’s the point I’m trying to make here. The cartoons are worthless beyond their humor. Don’t take my word for it, go find out for yourself.
Safari:It’s “Ok” but I hate it. Before the iPhone came out, Safari was used by less than 0.2% of my audience. But now because of the iPhone, it’s a significant 7.6%. Also, I hate the closed system Apple has used to force iPhone/iPad/iPod owners into using Safari. Apple should abandon Safari and use FireFox in its place. Never the less, I can not ignore 7.6% of my audience, and when I create websites, I now have to take Safari into consideration.
Opera: I tried the PC version a while back, and I just didn’t like how it worked. However, I hear that it’s mobile version is pretty cool. I’ve never tried the mobile version, and I don’t care to. Recently, Apple allowed Opera Mini to be installed on their portable devices probably in an attempt to beat the “closed system” rap. Maybe it’s good, but I really don’t know.
America On Line: Not really a browser, more of a system of accessing the Internet. AOL used to have it’s own browser, then it bought what was left of Netscape and used it. Now, I don’t know what they’re using. AOL is considered by most IT professionals as “not the real Internet”, and I agree. It’s a left over dinosaur of dial-up internet that needs to die. There’s absolutely no good reason to continue using it. However, I happily support my customers that still prefer to use it.
Other Browsers: Learn about them at the Alternate Browser Alliance, a group dedicated to the idea that competition between browser forces leads to innovation and a greater Internet experience for all. There are a lot of browsers in existence that most have never heard of.
However, I do not agree with their ideal. I remember coding for many different sub-versions of Netscape, Internet Explorer, and a few others during the browser wars. Every time a new browser sub-version (or revision) came out, it would break something on my website, and I would have to spend many hours fixing it to work once again with every browser on the planet. I drew the line at Lynx, I would not code for a text-only browser.
Are they Lying to Us? When I look at the statistics for this website (hilltopit.com) versus the data reported by w3shcools.com, I see a gross mismatch. Here’s what my statistics engine reports:
Note that it shows IE at 77.8% and FF at 10.8%. But if we look at the Browsers Statistics page at w3schools.com for April 2010, we see IE at 33.4% and FF at 46.4%. Also notice how they’ve cleverly broken IE into three separate numbers by version (smaller numbers), but they lumped all the FF versions into one big number. I suspect they want to beat down Internet Explorer, which seems to be a common theme among all these browser reports, statistics, and cartoons.
Despite my personal preference, everybody should use whatever gives them the best experience.