Disclaimer: I wrote this post after I looked at the results (see below) of a project I'm working on. IE did not preform well.
I make no secret to my dislike of Microsoft's Internet Explorer. It is, in a word, primitive. IE has made some great strides recently, but it's still lagging behind the rest of the market. If I were rank my favorite browsers the order would be thus: First place: Google Chrome. Tied for Second Place: Apple Safari, Mozilla Firefox, and Opera. After that, there's no one worth mentioning. Of course, if you look at the market the order would be Microsoft Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome and Apple Safari (pretty much tied for now), and then Opera.
So why my acidic review of IE? There’s a few reasons. First and formost is because when developing web sites all of the different browsers look alike (or at least mostly alike) until you get to IE. IE is a pain to develop for while keeping all of the other pages pristine. If you’re using IE, then you probably see a great big gaping error on this page which I haven’t gotten around to fix yet… someday. Anyway, compare a recent screenshot of IE compared to the exact same code as rendered in Chrome.
Now I will admit that I used a lot of CSS3 code which isn’t officially supported by a few browsers, but you can see that IE will be causing me a lot of work that I won’t have to do with the other browsers. I estimate that it will probably take be about five times as long to work out the solution for IE than it took for me to write the code for Chrome. I’m convinced that Internet Explorer (or at least its programmers) enjoy inflicting pain on developers.
Of course, I have other reasons why I don’t particularly like IE. It’s slow. It takes up my precious screen real estate. It’s not very customizable (meaning it forces me to work the way it wants me to rather than the way I want to work). Oh, and there’s the fact that a lot of websites only work for IE and since I’ve been a Linux/Mac guy for a while now, it’s rather frustrating when I can’t view a page.
I would call it poor practice to only support IE, but well, let’s face it, almost everyone in the industry uses Windows and uses IE and even if they do use another operating system they probably have Windows too. So I completely understand why companies develop exclusively for IE.
Will I stop developing for IE? I’ve thought about it, but there’s that whole 60% of the market thing. Will I ever succumb and make IE my default browser? Never!
What are your thoughts on different browsers? Why do you prefer your browser of choice or dislike another? Have you noticed the same issues I’ve had?