Why Firefox?

16 Jul 2008

Posted by CrashTest_

Firefox 3Today wasn't the first day I have been asked this, but here is the usual question, and my answer:

Customer: "Why do you want me to download Firefox, and will it mess up my computer?"

Me: "Because it shows you the web the way it is supposed to be viewed."

Customer: "Huh?"

Yeah, it's pretty much always like that, so here today is a blog post to explain that a little bit, so I can point my customers here :) BTW, most of this content is culled straight from Mozilla.com.

Because IE is BUSTED

First, let's look at it in comparison to IE. In my estimates IE6 is still used by roughly 15%-20% of people today (taken from stats on 7 of my sites). Why?!?!

Firefox just works. IE6 doesn't. Things broken in IE6 that aren't broken in Firefox:

  • Some graphics (png) are broken, meaning they display not as intended.
  • A layout concept called the "box-model" which is to say the padding/margins/borders that every other browser expect to work one way, IE6 makes work another way. This breaks things that designers work hard to make.
  • Security. IE (6 and 7) are just not as secure: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet_Explorer#Security_vulnerabilities

Firefox Strengths

There are more things broken in IE than that, but that's a good start. Other things that make Firefox superior are (straight from Mozilla.com):

  • Active security features (fishing/malware protection) and the industry’s fastest response times
  • Thousands of free ways to personalize your online experience (I use about a dozen plugins to do things like notify me of new mail on gmail, post twitter updates, use my Google bookmarks like they were part of the browser, etc.)
  • Superior speed and performance
  • 100% free and open source software

I will add that it can import your IE settings (bookmarks, start page, etc.) so you don't lose anything by switching, and gain all of the above.

Firefox Does More

You can enhance Firefox to your hearts content, and many applications are actually based on the Firefox platform. Some of my favorites are:

  • Pencil - a sketching and prototyping program
  • Firebug - a web developers dream tool, javascript console, live CSS editing, source view, speed test and reporting, WOW
  • FireFTP - an in-browser FTP client, nice
  • Twitterbar - posts the page you are currently viewing, plus a comment, to twitter, right from the address bar
  • GBookmarks - Google bookmarks as a menu item
  • Adblock Plus - not only do I not like pop-ups, but I usually don't like looking at all the on-page ads either, and I don't have to with this plugin
  • Web Developer - what kind of web guy would I be without this installed?

I actually have more installed, but those are the most useful to me, and they are all for Firefox. Pure awesome!

Keeping Up With Me :)

Last but not least, it makes it easier for my customers to see what I am doing during the construction process of their website. This is because I design for standards (Firefox) then bug-fix for Internet Explorer. If you are a customer, and you are only using IE, you will see a broken site until near the end of my process because I leave IE to the end.

My suggestion if you don't have Firefox installed, of course, is to click on this button:

Firefox 3

Other Browsers

I have used many other browsers, and find that there are quite a few that show me the web the way I want to see it, however none of them seem to have all of what I need except Firefox. In particular a I need a fairly fast browser, one that has web-development tools, and the ability to integrate my Google Bookmarks, that is secure, that follows the standards set for the web, shows me the web the way it is meant to be viewed, and that is free (as in free speech). Firefox does it.

What do you think? Post a comment, it doesn't hurt at all :)

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