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    What Browser Should I use?

    Tuesday, August 23, 2011 Katherine Anderson

    Your browser is the interpreter of the web. It displays websites from servers around the globe and downloads the content needed to view on screen. Browsers can read images, video, html, css, animations, javascript and code. Plug-ins like Flash, Shockwave, Quicktime and Acrobat PDF help extend the viewing capabilities of this browser software.

    From the first browser in the late 80's called 'WorldWideWeb' to Netscape Navigator, Explorer, Firefox, Opera, Safari and Chrome, there has been constant innovations and traffic acceleration within the market.

    So let's take a look at the pros and cons of each piece of software to help you choose which is right for you:

    Internet Explorer

    Microsoft's answer to Browser software, and part of the Windows OS, in Feb 11 had just 57% of usability compared to 2002 where it boasted 92%. IE4 - IE6 was a designers nightmare with somewhat disregard to modern web standards - software displaying websites badly, bugs requiring work-arounds and badly managed 'patches'. Thankfully with IE9, there is now support for HTML5 and CSS3. Although not compatible with Mac's, Internet Explorer is still leading the market and let's hope the website support continues to improve.

    Mozilla Firefox

    Mozilla was born out of the fall of Netscape Navigator and is often a first choice for Web Developers with great trouble shooting plugins available for SEO Rankings and HTML/CSS de-bugging / investigations, fully customisable and great extension support. With around 30% of the browsing market, Firefox goes from strength to strength and is PC and Mac compatible. A great UI (User-Interface) with tabbed browsing and 'Awesome Bar' make this software a real improvement to the workings of Internet Explorer. Firefox 3.5 is leading the pack on HTML5 compliance and JavaScript engineering and has excellent standards compliance.


    Apples answer to Internet Explorer is Safari, coming with every new Mac sold. It was originally a Mac-only product but now supports a Windows environment as well. Found on iPads and iPhones, it is competitive due to its abundance on new devices and must be seriously considered in mobile website and app testing. This software uses the Webkit engine which has open source licensing, encouraging developers to help increase and enhance current software capabilities.


    Increasing in marketing share, Chrome is Google's answer to browsing and search which also takes advantage of the Webkit engine. A stable browser since it's inception in 2008, it is now cross-compatible, being made available for Mac's in 2010. Fast becoming a favourite, Chrome has a great extensions framework like Firefox but also has been built around a fantastic Javascript engine and slick interface. It is also now the centrepiece for Google's new operating system which is making leaps and bounds in web apps and functionality.


    You may have seen Opera while browsing on your mobile phone or paying on your Nintendo Console. It was originally designed for desktop computers but found it's way into the steadily increasing mobile market. Famous for it's CSS integration, Opera has a huge ownership and continues to grow and expand in it's user-base.

    We view and test all sites in the major browsers, aiming to have sites as cross-compatible as possible. With the move towards HTML5 compliance by 2022, there are big shifts in the way we are designing and how that impacts what customers see. With the release of new browser versions on the rise, it is exciting to ponder where we will be in 10 years time and what our browsing environment will be.

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