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Popular Web Browsers

Today, users are given many options when choosing their web browser of choice, and it is imperative that your web site displays properly in which ever web browser your customers may be using. Many Net Shift Media clients have asked why it matters what browser they use, and shouldn’t they be able to use any browser to view their web site in the exact same way? and the answer is truly simple… YES!

Microsoft Internet Explorer is losing its hold on the browser marketplace, and with the growth in popularity of Firefox closing in on 15% of the market, you need to consider the way your web site displays in each of the many popular browsers on the web. It can be embarrassing for a client or customer to visit your web site and see that the fonts are a different color, size, or style, and it reflects poorly on your business image. You shouldn’t have to build a different version of your web site for each browser available, and there are a lot!

Web Browser

  • Microsoft Internet Explorer 6.0
  • Microsoft Internet Explorer 5.2
  • Mozilla Firefox
  • Apple Safari
  • Camino
  • Opera

You should be able to visit your web site in any of the above browsers with absolutely minimal difference between the display of your web site in any of the browsers. You may notice some small differences where plug-ins are used, but any layout, font, color, and positioning discrepancies should be fixed by your web developer. We test our web sites in the above browsers and any web applications including content management and intranet/extranets that we develop will work in each of the above browsers.
Microsoft Internet Explorer 6.0 (Windows) / 5.2 (Macintosh)

Microsoft has discontinued support of IE 5.2 for Macintosh, and just last year started up development of IE 6 (probably due to the growth and popularity of Firefox). The browser is still by far the most widely used browser on the market, but because of its age, it lacks a lot of the appeal and features of the newer, younger browsers like Firefox, Safari, and even Opera. Poor CSS support, Spyware, Adware, and tab-less browsing put Internet Explorer far behind of Firefox and the many other browsers available.

Mozilla Firefox

The best web browser available for Windows computers, Firefox has many new features that make it the best choice on Windows. Tabbed browsing, better security and privacy controls, and maybe the most significant feature… no spyware or adware. What makes Firefox stand out, and far ahead of Internet Explorer is that it is an Open Source product, meaning that the source code for the browser is freely available online, as well as a strongly supported Extension system that allows developers to build their own custom add-ons to the browser to make for a custom browsing experience for any user. At a later date, we’ll list a bunch of extensions that we use at Net Shift Media.
Apple Safari

A strong web browser that comes packages with Mac OS X from Apple, Safari has a lot of the features that make Firefox a stronger browser than Internet Explorer such as tabbed browsing, and better support for CSS, and W3C technologies. It does not offer an extension system like Firefox, however there are a number of plug-ins available to customize Safari to your liking.

Camino

Camino is based off Firefox, but built for use with Mac OS X, – it is the browser of choice at Net Shift Media.

Opera

Opera has been around for a long time, and is now available for free. Opera used to have 2 versions (free with ads, and commercial without ads). The browser falls a little short of Firefox and Safari when it comes to displaying web pages, but is a good browser and definitely ahead of Internet Explorer.

Other Browsers

There are quite a few other browsers available, but most of them use the same rendering engine as the browsers mentioned above, so they will display web sites in the same manner. Some of them include Flock, Konqueror, OmniWeb, Sunrise Browser, SeaMonkey, and the text-based Lynx.

Which web browser should you use? We would recommend Firefox on Windows or Linux, and Camino on Macintosh, but the choice is yours. You should be able to use any browser to view your web site as well as any other web site on the Internet. If your web site does not show up the same in each of the above browsers, you need to take that up with your web developer and find out why.

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