What is your preferred Web Browser? Why?

[b]What is your preferred Web Browser? Why?

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I prefer IE (Internet Explorer) – but not for the best reason. It renders what webpages I’ve made better than the other browsers – this is becuase IE is very ‘forgiving’ of non-strict coding. I cut too many corners for time constraints. Hmnpf, I guess I like it becuase I’m lazy (and self-trained)!

Netscape, in the meantime, is a pain. The webpages I’ve made aren’t terribly sophisticated – low on the Javascripting, more text than graphics – yet NS consistently trips up what extra flourishes I try. Its greatest sin is how it’s mishandling Cascading Style Sheets! I’ve been using these more and more, and trying to make pages that are cross-browser compatible is frustrating and time consuming.

As far as the other major consumer browsers are concerned (AOL, Opera), I worry that they misinterpret even more fundamental factors – like colors(!). I haven’t used Opera, but my experience with AOL as a browser thus far has been disappointing.

For an insightful read into this, read a recent column from my favorite computer columnist, Walter Mossberg. I was happy to see that my feelings were affirmed by his tests Don’t worry, no need to login

I prefer IE for the PC and Netscape for the Mac. Having said this, I don’t really prefer IE at all. I think that many of the problems Gus is having with Netscape is due in large part to the “browser wars.” Netscape is an upholder of standards, whereas Microsoft just wants us all bowing down before King Gates. They are experts at copying other standards and modifying them ever so slightly, and with their market share, usurp those standards as their own, including, but not limited to Java, JavaScript, CSS (DHTML) and so on. Therefore, it would stand to reason that standards-conforming browsers would most likely suffer when crunching “free-style” code. Having said that, the reason I stick to Netscape at home is because Microsoft can’t even create a set of IE browsers that interpret HTML code the same way! Please. Almost all code that looks consistent for various version of IE for the PC and also Netscape for both Mac and PC is somehow tweaked differently on the Mac version of IE. Yes, the interface is slick and probably the coolest of any browser on the planet, but it just can’t render things the same way as its Windows counterpart. It’s like a watch that does everything but tell the time.

[This message has been edited by jeremy (edited 19 Feb 2001).]

I use Netscape Navigator 4.6 for a number of reasons: its stability, my sympathy for the underdog, the “personal toolbar,” force of habit, and because it lets me see the size of everything on pages as they download (e.g. “3% of 60K”). The last trait is important to my hobby of cursing at the astonishing incompetance of most of Taiwan’s websites. “A 400K home page?! Are you out of your friggin’ minds? Do you really think viewers want to wait minute after minute for your ugly, blinking, dancing-Hello-Kitty, poorly arranged mess to download?!” Etc., etc.

Taiwan’s governmental sites are among the worst offenders. This country has more than its fair share of good graphic designers and great computer geeks. So why is it that the majority of major websites are so obviously the products of incompetants with pirated copies of Frontpage? Is it really too much to ask that sites – especially ones that are meant to provide information rather than some entertainment “experience” – eschew gazillions of non-site-related, bandwidth-hogging, ugly, distracting animated GIFs? Is it really too much to ask that the website “designers” (LOL) keep home pages under 100K?

OK, enough of that rant. Now for a different one.

Even though I use NN4.6 I couldn’t agree more with Gus about Netscape and CSS. Netscape 4.x browsers fail miserably to comply with CSS standards. (Netscape 6 is worlds better as far as CSS goes, but the browser still has too many bugs.) This is not a minor fault. Netscape is also worse when it comes to handling higher ASCII. (Curly quotation marks, em-dashes, etc., often come out as blank spaces or Chinese characters.) Netscape 6 doesn’t seem to have fixed this. The situation only gets worse when you try to include Chinese in a page. Once you add “charset=big5”, NN4.x no longer works properly with fonts. It took me ages to come up with a workaround to allow both Chinese and sans-serif text.

Opera 5 is a fine browser for CSS compliance, and I recommend it. The ad-ware version is free.

[This message has been edited by cranky laowai (edited 20 Feb 2001).]

Mark, thanks for the insight about Opera 5’s CSS compliance – I’ll set it up at home after I get my DSL hooked up

Incidentally, if there is anyone who is still using an IE or NS browser older than 4.x, please let me know ( gus@oriented.org) – or, better yet, post here why you haven’t upgraded. I myself was using IE3 up until the start of last year (I think). It would be helpful to get a sense of whether a significant number of ORIENTED visitors would be left out of some (long) planned tweaks to the site.