I have been a web developer for some time now, long enough to say that web developers currently entering the job market were probably entering junior high when I began working with web technologies. So most of you are either too young or too new to the Internet to recall anything other than IE as a browser. Hey, I recall back in the day we were all excited about Cello so we could browse on our PCs instead of Unix. Then came Netscape. And I was one of those die hards that didn’t switch to IE for quite some time. But, reluctantly, towards the end of the 90s, I caved in. I have been using IE pretty exclusively ever since (gasp!).
Sure, I have copies of everything else out there. As a developer, I have to. I have to know how my stuff works in other browsers. But for quite some time, cross browser testing took a back seat to other priorities because there just was very little need. I mean, hey, when 99.9% of your users come to you in IE and the rest in various other flavors, is it cost effective to test in every browser under the sun?
And then… a quiet revolution began. Firefox. A better browser. Great features. Integrated tools. Extensible plugins and themes. AND proper CSS! Well, could there be anything better? Well, actually yes. Something better would be for people to develop sites that used valid CSS and XHTML that looked better in Firefox than IE. And for quite sometime, they didn’t.
But now, with exponentially more sites coming online thanks to the blogosphere, we have more use of CSS, and more users preferring Firefox. The quiet revolution is taking hold.
Then there was me. I knew I should make the switch. But it was so easy to keep going back to the interface I was familiar with. I kept using IE. Why? I don’t know. Just a habit.
I’m kicking the habit. It’s been tough. But I’m doing it. I’m going to stick with Firefox. And you should too. If you don’t have it, get it. It’s free. Why would you want to use anything else?
And by the way, if you aren’t familiar with some of the browsers I mentioned early on (Mosaic, Cello, Opera, etc), check out the Web History of Browsers, you might learn something. When I say to my grandchildren, “I used to browse the Internet with Cello” it will be to them the equivalent of my grandparents learning to drive in a Model T or listening to an old Victrola.