As a web developer, I have to be aware of the differences between browsers, so that everyone can view my websites no matter which browser they're using. For most people, connecting to the internet still means clicking on the big blue 'e' on the desktop. Microsoft's Internet Explorer is still the most used web browser in the world. But does this make it the best? In a word, no. Internet Explorer 6, a browser nearing its tenth birthday, is a relic, and IE7, 8 and now 9 are only just plugging a few of the gaping holes left by that browser. Three other browsers are biting at IE's heels: Mozilla's Firefox, Apple's Safari and Google Chrome. All three offer something extra, but just what makes a good browser?
A good-looking site is important, but the real reasons the newer browsers outshine IE are more important. They load up quicker and run pages quicker, which improves the user experience. They are also more secure, meaning that all your online purchases and transactions are less vulnerable to security flaws. Lastly, they are more customisable. Firefox and Chrome, in particular, have a range of plug-ins available to make your life easier. There's plugins to keep you up-to-date with your eBay auctions, to control your music, to keep up to date with Facebook and lots more. So... Internet Explorer 9 is certainly a step in the right direction. It is a much more capable browser than any we've seen from Microsoft before. However, the browsers that are really pushing the boundaries and exploring new technology are Chrome, Safari and Firefox. I've only scratched the surface of what these broswers can do: there are some great new technologies, including drag and drop, HTML5 video and audio, and new form features to make browsing the web easier, faster and safer. Upgrade your browser today!