We all probably use Internet Explorer (IE) several times a day. It flawlessly renders our pages while allowing us to seemlessly download helper apps so we can experience sound, video, and animation. It truly is the easiest browser out there. However, I am seriously considering not using IE anymore not because it isn’t great for its purpose but because it makes me so vulnerable to a barrage of online attacks. Almost every single week since Windows XP launched, Microsoft has released patches to keep IE from providing script-kiddies access to my system. The most recent security hole, which hackers to spoof the URL of the current page very easily, is the last straw. No more IE for Trav.
You may be wondering what I’m going to use to acess the Net. The answers are Mozilla and Opera. Mozilla is the free open-source alternative. It has thousands of people around the world continuously pruning its code and finding the security bugs that IE is plauged with. It offers tabbed browsing and a fully-featured email client. Mozilla supports many of the plugins that IE does and it is very standards compliant. Ocassionally, you’ll run across a page that won’t render correctly in Mozilla, but most of the time, it’s not the browser’s fault: Some crappy webmasters worship only at the feet of IE.
The free version of Opera is ad-supported, meaning that there is an ad that always stays at the top with the navigation controls. Opera is absolutely the best for those of use who like to use the keyboard to navigate the web. One key allows me to instantly go back and forth without ever touching a mouse. Opera’s tabs are, in my opinion, better than Mozilla’s because they are easily accessible and opened from the keyboard. Opera also has a “Hotbar.” With the Hotbar, you can visit a site and add notes about it which will become available whenever you access the site they were written from. This is very handy for reasearch. Opera also has a nifty download manager that is a little more user-friendly than Mozilla’s. Opera’s biggest problem is that it doesn’t handle DHTML very well. (DHTML is the technology that allows for some of the neato menus that can be found at many sites.) Its DHTML support has gotten better over the years, but Mozilla is still stronger in this area.