Firefox, the open source web browser continues to grow in popularity according to this article in Computerworld. According to a study by theÂ “…Netherlands-based OneStat.com Firefox gained 1.14% in June and is now used by 12.93% of surfers. That’s up from 11.79% who used Firefox in May, while IE use declined by 2.12% to 83.05%.”
This is good news for those of us who create and maintain web sites. Why? Because as Firefox’s market share grows, Microsoft will slowly be forced to make it’s browser, Internet Explorer, (the one most people still use) more like Firefox. From a web developer’s point of view, that means there is hope that it will someday become easier to make web sites that adhere to web standards without having to stuff the code with hacks to make it also work in Internet Explorer. Microsoft has consistently refused to recognize the standards established by the web community.Â I assume they believe that because their browser has such a commanding market share, they can make their own standards and force everyone to comply with them, whether they make sense or not.
This battle of standards may not mean much to you if you aren’t in to web development or care about why standards matter. But if you want to learn more about Firefox and why youÂ ought to try it anyway, you could start with my article that appeared in the Times-Standard over a year ago. What I wrote back then is still valid. And I am looking forward to version 2.0 which is currently in early Beta development.
Opera deserves another look, too. It’s free once again plus it has better tabbed browsing than FF (IMO), easy to use (& manage) bookmarks, & a good web developer toolbar. The FF developer toolbar has more fun stuff, but Opera has a “view in IE” & “view in FF” button that is handy.