Friday, June 19, 2009

What MS Bullshit is this?

A work colleague sent this as a Friday giggle, but as I read through the comparison and the "myth busting", I felt the nerd rage rising.

On a technicality, some of their claims are true. For example, you may get better security in Firefox by installing the NoScript addon, or having the WebShield addon that comes with an AVG installation. But in the main, I'd still take FF3 over IE8, because if a bit of functionality wasn't available, at least FF3 has a framework to allow developers to write that needed functionality as an addon.

I'd like to call "Crap" on their Privacy claim. Of course IE8 is going to win out if "InPrivate Browsing" and "InPrivate Filtering" is used as the comparison basis. However, you can get addons like NoScript for Firefox to achieve the same thing.

I'd like to call "Crap" on the Web Standards comparison of being a tie, but I'm not sure that I can. Given that MS have released no less that 3 versions of browser that have all been an incremental improvement on the previous one, but still a disappointment on web standards compliance, I'm a bit reluctant to delve into IE8 and its specific niggles. I'd be quite happy if IE8 does live up to its CSS 2.1 claims, but there's still IE7 and IE6 I have to support.

I'd like to call "Crap" on their Developer Tools comparison. Even though the Firebug and Web Developer addons are not natively installed with Firefox, they're still head and shoulders above what MS has taken so long to bring to the table in IE8. Though I am glad IE8 has provided the tools that it has, because debugging CSS in IE7 and IE6 is a shit.

And further more, I actually like the separately downloaded tools of Firefox and Web Developer, since there seems to be a bit more active development on them. Should there be bugs in IE8, whether it be in the dev tools, or the CSS compliance, unless they're actually causing the program to crash, you'll probably have to wait until IE9 for them to get fixed.

I'm calling crap on the Compatibility claim. They only get to do that because of all the hacking you had to do to get your site to display the way you wanted it to in IE7.

I will give them the claim of Manageability, with respect to setting group policy in Active Directory. But that's about it. Considering that FF runs on more platforms than IE8, its a slim win.

The Myths.. well, they're mostly a crock too.

The speed claim is moot. Given the grunt you need to actually run a MS OS that will run IE8, and do all your other stuff, speed better not be a problem. For myself, I use FF for my development work, Chrome for my email, blogging, iGoogle and searching, and IE8 for debugging some website that doesn't display nice even though its working perfectly fine under FF, Chrome and Safari.

I'm going to throw security in the same boat. It should be secure. However, I'd stick with Chrome and FF over IE. Especially when that IE7 bug was there, that was allowing hackers to steal WoW usernames and passwords (because they sold more on the black market than credit card details).

Firefox is definitely the more adaptable browser. Their claim is that there are 1700 addons in the MS Add-on Gallery. But when I do a display all on their website, I'm getting 44 pages of results, with 12 addons to a page, and 2 addons for the last page. Thats only 518 addons. Quite a short fall from the claimed 1700.

And besides that, I dont need 1700 addons to get the job done. I only have 19 Firefox addons, and not all of those are necessary. In fact, here's a list:

Adblock Plus
English (Australian) Dictionary
GMarks (not really used any more)
Google Gears
Google Toolbar for Firefox (not really used any more)
Java Quick Starter
Jiffy (Firebug plugin for Javascript timer measurements)
Live HTTP Headers
Microsoft .NET Framework Assistant
Net Usage Item (so I can see my home DSL usage)
Personas for Firefox
Total Validator
Unit States English Dictionary
URL Flipper (for web based came called Imperial Galaxy)
Web Developer
Xdebug Helper (PHP debug and profile tool)
YSlow (web page performance tool)

And my favourite one is IE not playing well with Web standards. Time will tell, but I think they should have qualified that statement with IE8 not playing well with Web standards as the myth. I'm not sure if its a problem yet, but IE6 and IE7 definitely dont play well.

I've always been of the mind that if software is broke, then fix it and preferably, in that major release. MS really should have fixed their box model rubbish in IE6. Failing that, they should have fixed it in IE7. But they didnt. They should have fixed their CSS 2.0 compliance in IE7 as well, but they didnt.

Here's a little test. When looking a comparison of FF3 release dates and IE8 release dates, I found this link that highlights a few issues with CSS 2.1 compliance in IE8. Perhaps come back in 3 months, then 6 months, then 12 months and see if your latest installation of IE8 has these issues resolved. I bet they're not. And if they are, let me know :)

The nerd rage is fading now. IE8 is an improvement on IE7, but its still not a patch on FF3. I'd like MS to put their money where their collective mouths are... if IE8 is so great, then put an end of life on IE7 and IE6 so I dont have to waste time supporting the bloody things.

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