It’s hard to say when the actual development for Firefox (FF) 4 and Internet Explorer (IE) 9 began. One can probably presume, though, that it began as soon as FF3 and IE8 entered the beta stage. However, without interviewing every employee and every concept contributor, it is impossible to say when any particular feature and idea implemented into FF4 and IE9 originated. Put simply, determining which browser implemented which features first is hard to say.
Checking up with Facebook, I noticed an ad for IE9, so I decided to see what features it offered vs. IE8. I use FF4 and have been using Firefox since shortly after the original was released. But I keep IE because some sites don’t work as well or at all with FF, especially for my wife’s work (also, the print page feature in IE works better than FF, since FF cuts off one to two lines when it goes to another page, a problem I can’t seem to resolve). But overall, I like Firefox better.
When I upgraded to FF4, the first thing I noticed was a brand new look, most notably the tabs being moved to the very top. As I watched the video promoting the new features of IE9, I noticed that they, too, have moved the tabs toward the top, similar to FF (though in IE, they are still below the “title bar” which includes the minimize and X buttons; in FF the tabs are at that highest level). Despite the small difference, the location of IE9’s tabs struck me as interesting. I believe IE9 was released after FF4, and this new tab location was being promoted months ago by Mozilla.
Is Microsoft merely copying their competition (there’s been allegations that their Bing search engine copies the results from Google)? Maybe. But again, how can we know for sure who came up with any particular feature or idea first? I’m sure Firefox 5 and Internet Explorer 10 already are on the drawing board, and many new features they will incorporate might have been proposed months ago. To me, this is another chicken-or-the-egg debate (though personally, I think the chicken came first).
Now, which browser is best? Below are links to multiple tests done on Internet Explorer, Firefox, Opera, Safari, and Chrome. Those who love one or the other will probably never be convinced to switch, and each browser offers their own unique features and tastes (though I’m sure Mozilla would argue that point regarding IE). My advice is not to use IE simply because it came with your Windows system or has the largest market share. Just because it’s built in doesn’t mean it’s ideal for you; and the market share dominance is related more to IE’s inclusion with Windows than with their browser’s quality. Instead, check out the tests below and decide which browser best suits your surfing needs. Then, sit back and enjoy the newly revived “browser wars.”
Here’s a list of browser tests by those with more experience in browser, web, and computer technology. One is from CNNMoney, which though not a tech site, does its own analysis (on a side note, since all the browsers are free, why is CNNMoney looking at them rather than CNNTech?).
- “Browser Speed Tests: Firefox 4, Internet Explorer 9, Chrome 11, and More” – by Kevin Purdy, Editor, Lifehacker.com
- “IE9 vs Firefox 4 vs Chrome 10: In Depth: Three new versions of the three big browsers face off” – by Gary Marshall, TechRadar.com
- “IE9 vs Chrome 10 vs Firefox 4 vs Opera 11.01 vs Safari 5: The BIG browser benchmark!” – by Adrian Kingsley-Hughes, ZDNet
- “IE9 vs. Firefox 4 vs. Google Chrome 10 vs. Opera 11 vs. Safari 5” – by FavBrowser (Vygantas)
- “New browsers offer tons of improvements” – by David Goldman, Staff Writer, CNNMoney.com
- “Is IE9 a modern browser?: Let’s compare IE9 to Firefox 4” – by Paul Rouget, Mozilla Tech (includes links to his sources)