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IE Alternative Web Browsers

For convenience, a developer needs a web browser with a little more "bang" than what Internet Explorer has to offer. IE offers the bare minimum, but gets the job done and serves its purpose. A developer needs a little more, an alternative to IE, to make his/her job easier.

Some popular alternatives to IE are Mozilla, Firefox, and Opera. All of these are valuable resources to a web developer and allow them to combine many strong applications into one.

The ideal web browser should be easy to use, built in email client, address book (good for business networking), bookmarks, popup blocker, tabbed browsing, and proper display of web pages. Other features that are often useful are a built in chat client, a note system, spell check, and an image manager. There are other features that are useful for on-the-go developing and business, but these ones prove to be the most useful.

Internet Explorer Is Still Useful

Internet Explorer gets its job done and does it efficiently. Web pages are displayed effectively, although any page will vary from browser to browser.

The problem is Internet Explorer lacks features for a developer, therefore to be a more efficient developer it would be in your best interest to find an alternative web browser. With many more web browser choices you can find a much better web browser to suit your development style.

Internet Explorer is still good and you'll find yourself using it from time to time. Internet Explorer is good for those who just want to view a web page and surf the internet, the average web user. Developers desire/need more tools, which is why you need to advance to an IE alternative.

Mozilla Suite

The Mozilla Suite (often referred to as Mozilla) is an ultimate tool for a developer featuring many attractive features that make it a powerful web browser. Features included in the Mozilla Suite are:

  • Tabbed browsing
  • Popup blocker
  • Image manager
  • Find as you type
  • Built in HTML editor
  • Advanced e-mail and newsgroup client
  • IRC chat client

The built in HTML editor is a feature not included in any other popular web browser, which is a strong point of Mozilla. To download the Mozilla Suite visit its home page (external link).

Firefox: Rediscover the Web

Firefox is also produced by Mozilla. It's a smaller application with less advanced features, but still packs its own punch. The nice features about Firefox is it's more secure than IE, easy to learn (coming from IE), easy popup blocking, tabbed browsing, and it's a compact download.

Recently the Mozilla foundation has released Firefox 1.0, the other versions where beta although quite powerful. Firefox is predicted to gain 10% of the browser market, making it the largest competitor to Microsoft.

Features included in Mozilla Firefox are:

  • Popup Blocking
  • Tabbed Browsing
  • Privacy and Security
  • Smarter Search
  • Live Bookmarks
  • Hassle-Free Downloading
  • Setup's a Snap
  • Developer's Best Friend

The only way to completely discovery the glory of Firefox is to try it out for yourself. The download is free and small, completely practicable. To download Firefox, just visit its product page (external link).

Opera: Web Browser of 2004!

Opera puts up a large fight in the browser world, although lacks a large crowd of users to make it grow. Opera has the most features compared to most other browsers, making it an all in one Internet Experience.

Features Opera includes are:

  • Pop-up blocking
  • Tabbed browsing
  • Increased security and privacy
  • Mouse gestures
  • E-mail with RSS Newsfeed
  • IRC chat
  • Spell checker
  • Integrated Search

I have to admit that I favor Opera over majority of the other browsers due to its numerous features that makes everything 10x easier for myself. I can easily navigate with simple mouse movements and keyboard shortcuts, check my mail, chat on an IRC network, and much more all while remaining in one application.

A problem with Opera is that is difficult to learn when you're switching from Internet Explorer. Figuring out mouse gestures, email setup, spell checker, and other Opera features can be difficult to one use to the simplicity of IE.

To download Opera go to its website (external link).

Summary: Which One?

Stay where you are comfortable, you're web experience will be much more pleasant. If you prefer Internet Explorer, then stick with it. If you feel like a change, for the better, it's probably best to choose one of the alternative browsers.

If you want something simple and similar to IE then Firefox is the easiest path. Its interface resembles Internet Explorer's and is easy to adapt to. If you wish for more features then look into the Mozilla Suite and Opera as they contain the most features.

Additional Resources