Over the years we have seen the emergence and disappearance of multiple internet browsers.  Back when I first started using computers, it was all about Microsoft’s Internet Explorer and Netscape.

Things have evolved a long way since then; HTML has reached version 5, the appearance of CSS, the numerous improvements of Javascript and all its goodness, switching from transparent gifs to pngs and so on. With these technical improvements in protocols and web languages, we have also seen an evolution in browsers.

Today, we find ourselves asking from which to choose and why to do so. Should I keep the OS installed-by-default Internet Explorer? Should I go with Firefox? Maybe Chrome? Why not Opera or Safari?

All of these are valid questions on how to properly choose a web browser for your computer. For me it comes down do a couple of things: Standard compliance and Speed.

“Standard compliance” refers to the Web 2.0 elements that are supported by the current versions of each browser. What CSS properties are properly rendered, how it reacts to scripts, what kind of user experience can be obtained by using this or that browser; of course this affects me most as a Web Developer, as I am bound to make some choices when developing sites: how I bring a client’s project to fruition without sacrificing features or visual elements. Unfortunately, sacrifices must be made if we want to create websites with the latest technologies; as a user this will also determine which sites will properly display on your web browser.

In regards to compliance, my personal preference is Google Chrome, as it supports the rendering engine developed by Apple called webkit and allows to create some very nice effects; Apple does have a thing for developing attractive eye-candy stuff. Another good choice is Safari, although this comes pre-installed on any Mac, but can also be downloaded for Windows (no love for Linux though). Implementing elements supported by webkit (Chrome, Safari) browsers may not render properly on gekko (Firefox), and will probably give some major issues in Internet Explorer.

A derivative of Google Chrome is Rockmelt, a social network oriented browser based on Google’s browser, which integrates Facebook, Twitter and social sharing features into the browser itself. It is a nice alternative to Chrome for those who spend a fair amount of time on social networks.

Mozilla Firefox, also does a good job at rendering web pages, although the gekko rendering engine does have some issues at times with some of the effects, especially 3D-transforms, which are a very nice trick from webkit; I’ve experienced this limitation as I was trying to implement a rotating CSS3 cube, which displayed wonderfully on Chrome, but had some serious problems in Firefox (let alone IE).

A less known browser is Opera; I personally do not have much experience with it so I cannot really comment on its performance.

At the bottom of my list you will find Internet Explorer, which as a developer, is a nightmare. Whenever you see that cool effect on a webpage and you think about implementing it on IE, you can be almost sure that it will either not work as intended, or give you a hard time to make it functional through workarounds and CSS black magic that may just break the original page. More importantly, from a user’s perspective, Internet Explorer limits the possibilities of the user in properly rendering modern webpages, as IE lags behind in feature implementation and user experience. A good way to see what is supported by IE, if you’re still using it, is to perform the Acid3 test, which performs a check of your browser rendering capabilities and HTML/Javascript supported features. Recent statistics have seen a rise in the popularity for Chrome and Firefox as well as a major decrease in the user base for IE.

Choosing a web browser is a personal thing, it’s about feeling, and user experience. How the browser meets your needs and requirements as a user. For me, as a power user and developer, Google Chrome offers everything: Compliance, speed, ease of use, a rich developer console and a minimalist interface. More importantly, Google Chrome offers updates on a frequent basis (more so if you use Chrome Canary, which is updated daily with new features) and provides sync with gmail accounts, which facilitates switching between computers and having all data available everywhere. My favorite Chrome feature however lies in the address bar, which doubles as the search tool.

If you prefer Firefox, that is also a good choice; most recent versions have seen a great improvement in loading speeds compared to the competition.

In Conclusion, from my perspective, Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox and Safari are safe bets that guarantee compliance, speed and support for the most advanced web technologies on the net. Additionally,  all three are update frequently improving and adding new features to create a better experience for users. Both Chrome and Firefox offer a wide array of extensions to add or improve features of the browser, going from a simple calculator to completely re-displaying the contents of a webpage.

Choose your browser wisely, your Internet sanity depends on it.

March 10, 2012 @ 23:29 by jamil
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My name is Jamil Ben Alluch, and I am the co-founder of Autronix. I will be dedicating this blog to company announcements, coding tutorials, electronics projects and other tech things that may or may not be related to Autronix. This blog will also focus on business development and marketing strategies for small businesses.

The goal here is to give an insight of the technologies we deal with on a daily life, advice on consumer products, techniques on how to achieve certain goals.

I will try to make a this a weekly process to bring new fresh information every week on the subjects I mentioned above.

I look forward to bringing useful information on various subjects on a weekly basis.

Thank you for reading.


March 4, 2012 @ 19:29 by jamil