How Many Browsers Do You Have On Your Machine?

(Originally posted 2008-09-20.)

Well, how many do you have?

I’ll admit to 4 on my Windows XP Laptop (and 2 versions of 1 on my ASUS EEE PC, running Linux)…

I firmly believe in having an “emergency browser”. At 0ne time that would have been Internet Explorer – for two reasons:

  • To recover a broken browser. As I mainly use Firefox Nightly builds I sometimes get cases where I need a fresh install of a prior nightly to get me out of trouble. (Nightlies are the bleeding edge in Firefox terms, nice but sometimes too bleeding edge.)
  • To access pages that Firefox has a problem with.

Nowadays, however, there are almost no web pages I can’t read with Firefox. So it doesn’t have to be Internet Explorer anymore.

In fact IBM really doesn’t care what browser I use – so long as I don’t want support. 🙂 (I haven’t wanted support for probably 20 years.) 🙂 Certainly, to be serious, there is strong endorsement by all and sundry for Firefox, even though it isn’t in any formal sense the mandated browser.

So what do I have now?

  • Firefox 3 Nightlies (as I said before) as my main browser. And I occasionally get involved in design or bug spotting discussions.
  • Internet Explorer 6 – seldom used.
  • Safari as my real “emergency browser” at the latest released level. Webkit goes on apace and so I might take a more bleeding edge stance soon.
  • Google Chrome – just out of curiosity.

One thing to note now is that there is a great race going on between the various browsers for speed, especially (this year) in their javascript execution engines.

And the significance of the “javascript wars” is that, through means like Adobe AIR and toolkits such as dojo, the web experience (and perhaps more general application experience) is become increasingly dependent on javascript. And heavy execution at that.

So the browser war may have become dull (or maybe not) but it’s fascinating to see the javascript front open up.

But, finally, in case anyone thinks I’m about to shift browser I’m not expecting to replace Firefox as my main browser anytime soon. I really don’t think Google Chrome is a Firefox killer (or an anything else killer, either).

Happy browsing folks and remember you should have more than one browser – not counting the (perhaps ignored) one that came with your operating system.

Published by Martin Packer

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