Web Browser Roundup

Find the best browser for you with this informative Web Browser Roundup

Introduction

Back in the days of the Browser Wars, it was a battle between two well established titans – Internet Explorer and Netscape.  IE dominated the Windows world largly because it was the default browser for Microsoft’s flagship OS; and it was causing issues for other organizations who were trying to make money via providing a competitive browser.

We all know what happened – Netscape eventually died and Microsoft was put on double-super-secret probation via global anti-trust actions. Today, they still have to present a browser choice screen allowing European users the option of downloading and installing a different desktop browser. Effects of that anti-trust decision have been long reaching.  The browser wars were effectively over more than 10 years ago.

However, IE innovation has been largely stagnant since IE7 was released. IE8 and IE9 provided evolutionary updates, but nothing really to write home about. My wife, upon using IE9 for the first time, wanted to know what else might be available to her, something that she’s never asked for or about…EVER.  Let’s take a quick look at a few different browsers and talk about the ups and downs of each in their own, separate reviews.

Opera for Windows

Its hard, sometimes to get past IE. There’s so much that its done wrong in the past.  Finding a replacement browser isn’t always easy.  This is one reason why I like Opera. It’s a web browsing alternative for Windows. Read more…

Mozilla Firefox for Windows

Directly from the folks who helped bring you Netscape, Firefox is perhaps one of the best 3rd party browsers available for Windows today. Read more…

Google Chrome

The number of people using Google’s Chrome browser has almost doubled in the past year, and most analysts expect it to take over from Firefox as the lead challenger to Internet Explorer sometime in 2012. Why the growth? Well, simply put it just works. Read more…

Safari

If you’re looking for an alternative for your Windows platform, or have made a switch to OS X, then you’re going to want to take a look at Apple’s Safari browser. It’s one of the best browsers around, and like most, it’s free. Read more…

IE 10

Browse the internet with ease with Microsoft’s premier browser for Windows and Windows RT. Read more…

 

Conclusion

While IE 10 isn’t bad, I have an issue with full screen browsing, and despite what you might think, IE really wants to function in a full screen, fully hiding the rest of the OS from the user, especially on a Windows RT tablet. This is a paradigm shift issue with me mostly; but I’m sorry…I just can’t help not liking full screen mode.  I don’t use full-screen mode on my Mac, either.  IE10 runs in full screen on Windows RT machines, and should run windowed on Windows 8 Pro tablets; but again, it wants to run full screen. I prefer a windowed look and the ability to tile app windows throughout.

While IE10 is much faster than previous versions, and there is a Windows 7 version available for download, Microsoft has always had performance issues with retro fitting current version browsers for previous version operating systems. IE10 was written for Windows 8. Expect to see the best performance for the browser on Windows 8.

Its difficult to pick between Opera and Firefox for Windows. They are in many ways, very similar. They’re both based on WebKit; and both perform well and offer what many would consider improvements over current and past versions of IE.

Honestly, it comes down to a matter of personal preference and choice. I use Firefox at work under Windows XP. It’s a great browser, and I am very satisfied with its performance. Its tabs are great, and I like its system of managing plugins and add-ons. Opera offers equivalent features, but it never seemed to catch on as well as Firefox has.  That shouldn’t keep you from downloading and giving the browser a chance, however. Its fast, easy to use, and offers the same value as Firefox, if with a different presentation. Its “O” button at the top left corner of its window is a great way to present all of its menu choices in one easily accessible place.

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Backup and restore Firefox and Thunderbird with Ease

As great as it is to use Mozilla Firefox for browsing the Internet, and Thunderbird for sending and receiving emails, backing them up is quite hard for most of us. I’m talking about all those things you care about: bookmarks, mail, contacts, history, extensions, passwords and so on.

No matter which scenario are you having in mind – you reinstall your OS, your profile file gets corrupted, you move to a newer computer – you’ll want backup and than restore all the those thing you care about related to Firefox and Thunderbird. One of the best tools you could use to automatically back up Firefox and Thunderbird as well as Sunbird, Flock, Postbox (Express), SeaMonkey, Mozilla Suite, Spicebird, Songbird, Netscape and Wyzo is Mozbackup.

Mozbackup is a light tool which makes the process of backing up all those programs a stress-free experience. Without further introduction, lets start backing up Mozilla Firefox and Thunderbird. Before launching MozBackup, make sure both programs are not running in the background. Now launch the application. Choose “Backup a profile”, select Mozilla Firefox from the list and click Next to continue. In the next step, we’ll have to choose a profile from the list and the backup location. If there is only one profile associated, click default. After this, MozBackup will offer you the option to password-protect your backup file, why not choose ‘yes’ – just in case. In the third step, choose which elements you want to back up and click Next to begin the process.

The same procedure goes for Thunderbird or any other supported applications. In case you want to restore your Firefox profile or your Thunderbid emails using a backup, launch MozBackup, choose “Restore a profile” and click Next. In the next step, select the profile you want to restore. An important thing to remember is that the profile you select will be overwritten by the contents of the profile that is backed up in the backup file. If you do not want to overwrite any of the profiles listed in the MozBackup screen, you should create a new profile by clicking on the “New Profile” button. After that, select the backup file that contains your backed-up profile. When done, click next to begin the restoration process.

Download Mozbackup

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Edit the code of your web pages with Firebug

Firebug is a surprisingly powerful add-on for the Firefox web browser. Aimed at web developers, Firebug lets you examine and edit the code of your web pages in your browser window. It also allows you to examine

Firebug lets you view HTML, CSS, and JavaScript components of your web page, so if something isn’t displaying properly — an element is in the wrong place, text doesn’t appear the way you expect, or a piece of JavaScript doesn’t do what it’s supposed to — it’s much easier to work out what’s gone wrong and fix it.

The add-on comes into its own with CSS in particular. Firebug lets you see at a glance which rules of CSS apply to a particular element. Testing different rules no longer involves laboriously changing code in an editor, uploading it to your web space and refreshing the page every time you want to try something out. You can input the new code in Firebug and immediately see how it will affect the page you’re working on.

Despite being an add-on itself, Firebug is meaty enough to support its own add-ons, expanding its functionality — providing information specific to a package such as Drupal, for example, or adding reference materials.

As well as being a development tool, Firebug can also enhance your understanding of web programming by allowing you to view the code of any exiting website in detail. Unlike the “View Source” command, which only gives you a limited glimpse into the underlying workings of a web page, Firebug supplies considerable detail about each element so you can quickly gain an understanding of how a particular look or function was achieved.

read full review | download Firebug

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Mozilla Firefox 9 – one of the best alternative web browser for Mac and Windows

I remember the big Microsoft Antitrust Trial and shake up back in the 1990’s. Everyone got their undies in a bunch because it was thought Microsoft making and integrating their own internet browser into Windows created problems for other browser vendors, some of whom tried to sell their browser rather than give it away. Thankfully, we’re well beyond all that, and end user choices – good ones – remain available. This is one of the reasons why I really like Mozilla Firefox, and it’s available for both Mac and Windows.

Mozilla Firefox is an advanced web browser, based on the Mozilla Open Source project. It’s got multiplatform support and a great many features that make it a great choice for the default browser on a computer near you. Chief among those is its advanced, efficient interface.

With Firefox, you can get to your sites quickly, even if you can’t remember the URL’s. Its Awesome Bar allows you to type a search term within it, and the autocomplete function will include possible matches from your browsing history, bookmarked sites and open tabs. Its adaptive technology learns your browsing habits over time, and will continue to offer better fitting matches the more that you use it.

Above the Awesome Bar, Firefox supports tabbed browsing; making it easier to focus on the content of the sites you visit. You can browse multiple sites at once, simply and easily. Each site appears as a new tab within the current browser window and can be accessed in one click. If you use browser based apps, like Gmail or MS Office 365, you can take these sites off the tab bar and give them a permanent home in your browser.

There is a great deal of information on the internet and Firefox makes it easy for you to find what you’re looking for. Its Integrated Web Search makes searching for information easy. The search box, located just to the right of your location bar allows you to select the service of your choice and enter your search terms into the box. The box width is even adjustable if you need more space. As soon as you start typing in the search bar, it will prompt you with a drop down of filled-in suggestions. You can also use the search bar as a calculator, converter and more.

Read full review | Download Firefox 9 for WindowsDownload Firefox 9 for Mac

 

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Mozilla Firefox 8 cannot surpass Google’s Chrome

Lean, mean Mozilla update brings welcome improvements and enhancements.

Mozilla Firefox 8 is the latest major update to the popular web browser and includes a wealth of new improvements and features. Add-ons have long been a hallmark of the Firefox experience, allowing users to customise their browsing experience to their own preferences. The update has made a few improvements to the add-on system, including default disabling of add-ons installed by third-party programs, and a new system for managing installed add-ons. Twitter has been incorporated into the search bar in a particularly handy fashion. Tab organization has also been updated with a new preference allowing the loading of tabs on demand. This feature also helps to speed up start-up time.

Beneath the hood, the update has added in better support for HTML5, although Firefox still lags behind Chrome in this regard. Overall the update offers better performance and memory use than previously with increased graphics acceleration as well. On the downside Mozilla Firefox 8 features no built in PDF reader, flash or instant page view as can be found in Chrome, and the HTML5 support is behind Chrome. It is said that the startup speed has improved but it still lags behind that of IE9 and Chrome.

download Mozilla Firefox 8

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Internet Explorer drops below 50% of Web usage

Even by the most generous estimates, Microsoft’s Internet Explorer is used by barely 50% of Internet users worldwide, meaning that we are approaching or even past the point where most people aren’t using the browser. It’s been a shocking decline from the mid-1990s when as many as 95% of people were on IE. But the big story now isn’t Microsoft’s losses, but rather that it’s Google picking up much of the slack.

It’s important to note that the methods used to create browser market share figures vary from source to source. Most involve using website traffic logs which record the browser used by each visitor to a site. Some of the leading market share figure reports come from web analysis companies who get data from hundreds of thousands of clients, making a reasonably representative sample of the entire web, but this can vary. Still, even while the figures vary (and most sources already have Microsoft below 50%), the pattern is consistent.

For the second half of last decade, it looked as if the company’s main challenge would come from Mozilla’s Firefox browser, but Firefox’s market share has largely flatlined for the past couple of years. Instead it’s Google’s Chrome that is on the ascendance, with its market share almost trebling in three years and the browser taking the number two spot in some measures.

Why the trend? Well, in Microsoft’s case the fact that it’s the default option has finally come back to bite it. Simply put, while more and more people are experimenting with alternative browsers, few people switch to Internet Explorer. Meanwhile Microsoft’s in-built advantage of being the default option on most computers (which was the subject of a European Commission investigation that’s led to users being actively offered a choice of browser while installing Windows) is becoming less significant as more and more people use smartphones and tablet devices.

As for Chrome picking up the slack, that’s largely because of two main advantages from a “sandbox” system that means each open tab is treated as if it were a separate application. That means that if there’s a problem with one tab, the others continue to work without slowdowns or crashes; meanwhile any infected webpages are ring-fenced so that they can’t damage the rest of the computer.

Perhaps even more amazingly, there are even predictions Chrome will take the number one slot by June 2012. That’s based on the simple logic of taking the growth or decline of each browser across the first half of 2011 and working on the basis that market shares will continue to grow at the same rate.

Whether that’s really going to happen on such a timescale is a little more debatable. Many of the people who’ve switched to Chrome are “early adopters” who are more prepared to try out new things, while those remaining on Internet Explorer may be much more wary of changing. That’s likely to mean Chrome’s growth rate inevitable slows down.

That said, the pattern is clearly there and not only does it seem conceivable Internet Explorer will one day lose its crowd, but Chrome seems by far the most likely successor to the top spot.

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Safari for Mac and PC: fast and elegant

While Internet Explorer may hold the top browsing seat in the Windows environment, it’s not the only browser choice available.  The browser wars may or may not be over, and choices now abound. If you’re looking for an alternative for your Windows platform, or have made a switch to OS X, then you’re going to want to take a look at Apple’s Safari browser. It’s one of the best browsers around, and like most, it’s free.

While many web browsers may seem similar, Safari sets itself apart. OS X has multi-touch gesturing built in, and Safari fully supports it.  With Safari and OS X you can tap, scroll, and swipe your way around the web. With two fingers on the trackpad, you can swipe to go back and forth between web pages. They slide in and out of the Safari window as you swipe. Safari supports an easy way to zoom in and out of a particular part of a web page.  Double-tap any area with two fingers to magnify it, then tap again to return to the original size. You can also pinch with your thumb and index finger to zoom in and out more precisely. You can also scroll up or down with two fingers, making use of your scrolling’s momentum makes Safari browsing experience even more natural.

Safari’s security features also make surfing more secure, protecting your privacy.  To keep your surfing habits to yourself, Safari offers Private Browsing. Simply turn it on, and Safari stops keeping track of your web history, and storing your searches, cookies, and the data in any online forms you fill out. Greater control can be found in Safari’s preferences.

Safari is a great browsing alternative, and offers a great deal of features and functionality. The only down side that I’ve seen is that not all features are available to Windows users, though it is the default browser on all Apple Mac systems. On the Windows side, its security features and speed make it a worthy choice in replacement, or in addition to, any other browser you may currently use.

Download Safari for Windows | Download Safari for Mac

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How to import Bookmarks and Settings from Firefox or IE to Chrome

If you are an Internet Explorer or Firefox user willing to switch over to Google Chrome, you must bring your Bookmarks, History and saved Passwords first. Thankfully, Chrome has a great feature which makes it really easy to important your IE or Firefox Favorites (Bookmarks, History and so on). Lets see how we do this.

First of all, close your browser (IE/Firefox) if is currently running and then open Google Chrome. Next, Click on the Chrome Settings icon and when the drop-down menu appears, select Bookmarks and then Import Bookmarks and Settings.

After that, the Import Bookmarks and Settings dialog should now be displayed. First, select from each browser you would like to import your Favorites and then select which items to import. When done, just hit the Import button.

Once done, your IE/Firefox Favorites should be added to the Bookmarks section of Chrome. To view your Bookmarks, you must first click on the Other bookmarks button, located on right hand side of Chrome’s Bookmarks Bar. If you can’t see at all Chrome’s Bookmarks Bar, just press Ctrl+Shift+B (at once) on your keyboard and the Bar will appear.

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