Internet Explorer 7 vs. Firefox 2

The folks at Microsoft totally redesigned their browser such that Internet Explorer 7 looks at whole lot like Firefox. Mozilla has countered with Firefox 2.

Internet Explorer 7 vs. Firefox 2 CNET set its reviewers out to test the two browsers in a “prizefight” of five rounds: ease of installation, look and community, tabbed browsing, cool new features, and security and performance.

Not surprisingly, given the issues focused upon, Firefox 2 won. All five rounds, in fact. By a knockout.

Of course, had they considered such things as the ability to easily browse on computers at hotels, businesses, and Internet cafes or ability to handle really poorly written code at a wide variety of websites, IE might have fared better.

I downloaded and installed 2.0 earlier this morning and don’t notice a lot of difference from 1.5. The main innovation seems to be the ability to close individual tabs, which are now highlighted, more easily. This may turn out to be a boon once I’m used to it but, since I’m used to being able to close the tab by clicking the X at the right of the window, it’s rather annoying to have to find the current tab and carefully click on it.

I’ve been using Firefox since pre-1.0 but am not a power user, having installed few extensions and preferring to use a Web-based rather than browser-based RSS reader. Thus, I’m likely missing out on many of the new features.

UPDATE: The “restore session” feature is nice, if not 100% perfect. It recalls the windows you had open so that, in the event of an unexpected system failure, you don’t lose the results of your browsing.

(Heh: I discovered this the hard way and came back to see that Steven Taylor had noted this in the comments, too.)

FILED UNDER: Science & Technology
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Another nice feature of 2.0 is that if you close it on accident and reopen it, it can restore all of the tabs you had open–i.e., it restores you previous session.

    It also has a new spellcheck feature like the one in Word (misspelled words are underlined and you fix them with a right-click).

    That may be the result of an updated plugin, however.

  2. bithead says:

    The “restore session” feature is nice, if not 100% perfect. It recalls the windows you had open so that, in the event of an unexpected system failure, you don’t lose the results of your browsing.

    this is particularly useful if, as I do, you ahve a multi-monitor setup, and generally do the ‘sphere with multiple sessions open, one in each screen.

  3. B. Minich says:

    So session saver is built in?

    No wonder the “Session Saver” extention didn’t have an update, and no longer works. 😉

    James: I like the new tab behavior better – it makes it much easier to close a tab without actually highlighting it (which I do all the time if I click on a link, and then find that the article is excerpted to my satisfaction on the site I read the link from). I’ve been using the scroll button to do that (pressing on it does the same thing), but I also use a PowerBook, which does not have a scroll buttton on the trackpad – making this very nice for that purpose.

  4. Triumph says:

    Of course, had they considered such things as the ability to easily browse on computers at hotels, businesses, and Internet cafes …IE might have fared better

    I am not sure what you mean here. Why would it matter where a computer happened to be located with regard to “the ability to easily browse”?

  5. James Joyner says:

    Triumph: I mean the ability to easily adjust to a browser found elsewhere. Once you’ve trained yourself to use one browser, the idiosyncrasies of the other are annoying.

  6. Steve Verdon says:

    Try uninstalling Firefox, its the mother of all bitches and chances are you didn’t get all of it. On that point, I bet IE would win.

  7. bithead says:

    That’s funny, Steve;
    I’ve not run into any problems, and I’ve done it repeatedly on perhaps 25-30 boxes I support.
    What are you running into?

  8. Triumph says:

    Triumph: I mean the ability to easily adjust to a browser found elsewhere. Once you’ve trained yourself to use one browser, the idiosyncrasies of the other are annoying.

    Oh, I get it James–although that really isn’t Firefox’s fault, rather its the problem with the nimrods who only have one browser on their public machines.

    Firefox is actually better for people on the road anyway. Unlike IE, you can load a portable version on a USB flash drive–complete with your mods & bookmarks–which can be booted from any computer:

    http://portableapps.com/

  9. Boyd says:

    To return to the old way of only having a single X to close the current tab, do the following:

    1. Type in about:config in the address bar
    2. Find the entry browser.tabs.closeButton
    3. Double-click that line and change the value from 1 to 3

    Easy-peasy. You don’t even have to restart Firefox; the change is made immediately. Not that I can understand why anyone would prefer that, but to each his own.

  10. James Joyner says:

    Boyd: Thanks. The way you’re used to doing things is often if not usually easier than a new way until you get used to it. I’ll try the new way for a few days and see if I like it.

  11. Steve Verdon says:

    What are you running into?

    When I use the install/uninstall feature in the control panel nothing happens. Firefox is still there, still boots, etc.

    It maybe just a glitch with my ancient home machine, which I desperately need to upgrade.

  12. dutchmarbel says:

    I’m still a minority here… I tried Firefox but even my firefox loving spouse is now convinced that opera works nicer…