Readers smack back on Web browsers

Computerworld readers responded to our opinionated "Browser Smackdown" with some strong views of their own.

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Firefox fills the void left by Safari

While Safari is a good browser, and I certainly prefer it to IE for Windows, most Mac users need a second browser, as Safari isn't perfect and doesn't play well with all sites. Firefox fills that void. Firefox is actually faster than Safari loading some types of pages, and I love Firefox's Live Bookmarks feature.

-- Paul Gorski

Saft makes Safari better

All the features that were requested/pined for [in your Safari review] can be added with Saft, including the ability to restore tabs, rearrange tabs, block what have you, have thumbnails. Pretty much any feature mentioned here in IE or Firefox is implemented. It is $12 and very much worth checking out.

-- Eytan Bernet

FINAL THOUGHTS

One reader suggests a better measure of a browser's worth, while another makes the claim that the hype over tabbed browsing is misplaced.

Web standards matter

How about considering how well a browser adheres to standards for page presentation? As a Web developer, it is frustrating to have a Web page render differently in different browsers, especially when cascading style sheets are being used. Maybe the ability to present a Web page properly should be a measure of a browser's value.

I find IE to take its own approach to even some very common page rendering tags and CSS style specifications when compared to Opera and Firefox. The new version of IE even presents pages differently from the older version, further complicating the life of a Web developer. So I avoid using IE -- I just use it to check how my Web pages are presented.

I haven't used Safari, but I will in the future because I plan to move all of my work over to a Mac. It is difficult to find sanity in today's mainstream desktop computing environment with the continuous rush of viruses, spam, and patches to fix Microsoft security exposures.

-- Albert Allen

What's all the fuss about tabbed browsing?

Let's face it, tabbed browsing is popular because the dominant platform (MS Windows) has a very primitive window manager. If the common computer user could open up more than a small porthole into the GUI world, the glow of tabbed browsing would quickly dim.

Decent window managers permit a dozen or more individual virtual screens, each of which may be populated with several browser windows. I typically run 25 to 30 Firefox windows arrayed across six virtual screens and can switch among them to view air quality, weather, weather models, air quality models, a calendar, and other (un)related sites.

I'd hoped that Vista would provide a competent window manager for the masses but I haven't seen any indication that it has. All that the developers have accomplished is to add bells and whistles to a very crude interface. Adding a new paint job hasn't improved the situation. The critical development is to improve the window manager, not supply a crutch for an aging and nearly useless GUI.

-- Clint Bowman

Have something to add? Weigh in at our Sound Off blog.

Copyright © 2006 IDG Communications, Inc.

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