"The optimist proclaims that we live in the best of all possible worlds; and the pessimist fears this is true." - James Cabell

Why I Hate Internet Explorer

Why I Hate Internet Explorer

Thursday 23rd June 2005

Categories: Internet, Opinion, Proprietary Software

Different people don't like Internet Explorer for different reasons. Some don't like the fact that it allows far too much spyware and viruses through. Some don't like it's instability. Some don't like the lack of tabbed browsing. While all of these are good reasons to use something else, the reason I really hate Internet Explorer is that it does not follow standards.

"So what?" you might ask. Well, it's fine for those that use Internet Explorer - but what about those that have to design web pages? While just about everybody else follows the standards set by the World Wide Web Consortium, Microsoft insists on creating its own standard. Result? A mess. Web developers across the globe slave away to design pages that work beautifully, only to find out Microsoft's shoddy implementation means that they have to find a hack, or redesign everything. It also means that we can't use PNGs properly, and that we can't view some webpages because some companies have decided that Internet Explorer is the only browser that matters. That may have had some truth to it a few years ago, but things are definately different now.

What's more, if the latest figures are right, over 10% of the public aren't using Internet Explorer. While that may not seem like many, it is still a very high number of people, not to mention those on Linux or not even using a PC. It may be unfair to blame this all on Internet Explorer and Microsoft, but if Internet Explorer had always followed standards from the start, there would be probably be no problem. Because I don't have Internet Explorer, companies have decided that I'm not important enough to be able to look at their websites. With at least 10% not using Internet Explorer, that's a pretty big portion of the market to cut out!

Of course, this is a slightly biased article - earlier on its life, Internet Explorer was one of the first browsers to support CSS and the new version of HTML. Unfortunately, once Internet Explorer won the first Browser Wars, Microsoft simply didn't update the rendering engine as much as they should have, meaning that rival browsers now have far more support for modern standards. Use any of Internet Explorer's main competitors, such as Firefox, Mozilla/Seamonkey, or Opera, and you will see just how far behind Microsoft now are - whether in terms of user interface or web page rendering.

Even if Internet Explorer 7 came out now (which it won't) on every every version of Windows (which it won't) and fixed all the problems (which is unlikely), there will still be millions using old versions of Internet Explorer, forcing web developers to still have to cater for what is essentially a broken browser. I urge Microsoft to actually get Internet Explorer working with standards properly, or at least come up with a solution for the current Internet Explorer. And I urge you - please don't use Internet Explorer. Another browser is much nicer to use, and it might force Microsoft to do something. Please, use something else. Use Firefox. Use Mozilla. Use Opera. Just don't use Internet Explorer.