Real Browsers for the Web

The web has change greatly compared to when Tim Berners-Lee created the web, over 20 years ago. Since then, you can share what your doing with friends or the entire world (Twitter, Facebook, etc), watch high definition video, communicate with friends half way around the world, and access all of this anywhere and anytime. When the first web browsers were released in the mid 1990’s, the web was just a collection of static documents, now sites change depending upon what users are doing and what is happening now. Today sites are using dynamic scripts, plugins, video, audio, and other technologies to provide a very interactive web. However, the web browser – the window people use to go online – is one of the most neglected pieces of software on computers. Most people do not realize the importance of the web browser on their computer, until it doesn’t work.

What is a Web Browser?

To describe what a web browser is in easy to understand terms, watch the following video:

Video Courtesy of What Browser

So, What Can I Do?

If you want to upgrade to a real browser, below are four mainstream web browsers you can download to upgrade your web experience.

Mozilla Firefox

Mozilla Firefox

Firefox is the most popular web browser on the market – out side of Internet Explorer. However, compared to Internet Explorer, Firefox is the clear winner in features and web standards. Firefox has an add on repository that adds functionality to the browser. It includes many new features of HTML 5 and CSS 3, so web designers can make the web look and feel better without hacks. And finally, Firefox has a fast JavaScript Engine to make your web experience faster than Internet Explorer.

Dowload Mozilla Firefox »

Google Chrome

Google Chrome

Chrome is a relative new entry in the browser market, released in September of 2008 by Google. Chrome’s features include fast start up time, standards compliant, and very fast JavaScript engine. It also includes many features of HTML 5 and CSS 3 like Firefox.

Download Google Chrome »

Safari

Apple Safari

Apple’s web browser for the Mac and now Windows, has implemented many of the features of HTML 5 and CSS 3 into it. Safari is powered by the WebKit rendering engine which also powers many other browsers, such as: Mobile Safari (iPhone & iPod Touch), Google Chrome, Android’s Web Browser, and many more. And with features such as: cover flow for web sites, excellent font rendering, fast JavaScript execution, and many more.

Download Safari »

Opera

Opera

Opera is an innovator in the web browser market, their browser includes many features, such as: Speed Dial (get to your favorite sites with one click), visual tabs, built in IRC client, download manager with BitTorrent, and many more. On the HTML 5 and CSS 3 front, Opera is planning to implement some of the elements of these technologies in their upcoming release of Opera, 10.5.

Download Opera »

Internet Explorer

If you noticed Microsoft’s Internet Explorer is not on this list. The reason Internet Explorer is not on this list is with all its security exploits and lack of web standard support, we could not call it a real browser. Even though Internet Explorer controls 63.62% of the browser market, we believe that the above browsers are much better than Internet Explorer, at this time. Also, with the fragmentation of Internet Explorer’s market share, it makes it difficult to design web sites and make sure they appear correctly across so many versions.

Internet Explorer Market Share

  • Internet Explorer 8 – 19.34%
  • Internet Explorer 7 – 16.86%
  • Internet Explorer 6 – 22.08%

Internet Explorer 6 has the largest section of the Internet Explorer market share, and the problem with that is this browser is nearly a decade old (August 2001), has numerous security problems, very slow JavaScript engine, no tabbed browsing, has poor to support for web standards, and no support for any HTML 5 or CSS 3 technologies (I know that HTML 5 and CSS 3 was still in the planning stage when this browser was release). So if your reading this and your running Internet Explorer 6, either download one of the above browsers, or at least go to Windows Update as soon as possible. I know in some corporate environments end users are not allow to update or install software, however you could ask your technology department when or if they are upgrading browsers.

So Please Help Advance the State of the Web by installing a modern web browser, and if you use Internet Explorer – please remember to download Windows Updates.

Full Disclosure: This article was written and posted using Mozilla Firefox 3.5.6. I run a mix of browsers: Firefox as my default, Google Chrome, Opera, and Internet Explorer 8 – for development purposes and IE only sites. I will be adding Safari soon to this list.
• Market Share Numbers are for the Month of: November 2009 from Net Applications
• All trademarks mentioned herein belong to their respective owners.

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