Internet Explorer -vs- Firefox

By
Education & Training with Director of Education & Industry Outreach at eXp Realty & RE Tech Campus

There are two very popular internet browsers on the web.  When using google analytics to check my website stats today, I found that there were more Firefox browsers than ever before. Is Microsoft Interenet Explorer on it's way out? Is Firefox soon to be "standard" for internet browsers?

I noticed that on my wifes PC, her Internet Explorer would keep locking up. When I downloaded Firefox on her computer, and she started using it regularly, we never had her system lockup ever again. I noticed that some webpages (including my own), looked different in Firefox too.

Google Graph











Firefox claims to have the following advantages:

  • Faster surfing using tabs:
    Several websites open at the same time? Firefox has a special feature that enables you to browse easily and quickly from one window to another.
  • Popup blocking:
    Fed up with windows that open up spontaneously? Mozilla Firefox recognises and blocks unwanted popups automatically, ridding you of this irritation.
  • More secure:
    Spyware, adware, worms and viruses? Mozilla Firefox automatically protects you against these, removing any worries you might have in this respect.
  • The Google toolbar:
    A search feature always at hand when you are looking something up? No problem. Use the Google Toolbar to search effortlessly and at high speed. This is a standard feature of Mozilla Firefox.

I have compared the two and see many similiarities, I'm wondering if it is just a matter of preference?!?

Just trying to decide which one is best for me to use with the amount of Internet Searching and Browsing I do. Would love to hear your thoughts and comments on this. Which one do you use and why? I am most curious.

Always trying to be the smart Fox, and Exploring new and better ways to browse the NEW WEb 2.0!


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Rainer
54,576
Griselda Tealdo-Perez, REALTOR®, e-Pro, GRI, TRC
Coldwell Banker Real Estate - Miami Lakes, FL

Brad, I tried again, but still can't make Firefox work with the MLS system. If anybody can figure out how to do it, please let us know.

Jul 31, 2007 12:26 PM #124
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Brad Andersohn
Director of Education & Industry Outreach at eXp Realty & RE Tech Campus - Fairfield, CA
ActiveBrad - 707.646.1876

Griselda - let's see if Bud pops back in here to comment.  He is claiming that his works fine with Firefox, time to put him to the test. Inquiry minds want to know .....like me!  LOL!  Sorry it isn't working for you yet, let's see what we can come up with for you.  Thanks for your patience and help with this.

BUD HAMMERTON to the principles office please...BUD HAMMERTON to the office please!!  There Griselda,
that should get him back here...  LOL!  B-)

Jul 31, 2007 06:24 PM #125
Rainer
2,623
Bud Hammerton
Moore & Associates - Waxhaw, NC

No need to yell. I am on vacation so I am not online every day, but here goes. First off, I use Firefox exclusively with the Charlotte MLS. Charlotte does not support Firefox but IE tab works perfectly. Charlotte is a marketlinx based MLS and I would suspect that the same setup should work with all Marketlinx based systems.

You actually have three choices with regard to IE functionality in Firefox, besides IE Tab there is IE View and IE View Lite. You may have to try those also to see which one will work for you.

Back to IE Tab. First you must log into your MLS system with IE you cannot switch after the fact, It will not work! There should be a status bar displayed in Firefox, If not go to View >> Status Bar and make sure it is checked. On the status bar you should see an icon that looks like a small version of the Firefox icon or perhaps the IE icon, that is the status indicator for IE Tab. If you right click on the status icon the IE Tab Options box will appear, by default you will be at the first tab setting which should be Sites Filter. There you will see a small list of sites that automagically switch to IE before they actually display in your browser. In the URL: box you would type the url of the login page of your local MLS. In my case it is http://cmls.marketlinx.com/*, then click on the Add button. While you are there also make sure that the Enable Sites Filter box is checked.

Please note that it is important that the entire domain and all pages be rendered in IE, to assure this do not include any other parameters in the URL: box and make sure that you add the /* at the end so that all pages from the domain are rendered properly.

If this is done correctly, when you go to your MLS system, Firefox will first invoke the IE rendering engine before actually going to the correct domain. At this point your entire session will be in IE (actually in a Firefox tab that is using IE). Another crucial point is that you must have IE installed on your Windows PC or it will not work. I am assuming this is the case. Also since you are using Parallels on your Mac make sure that IE works by itself (without Firefox and IE Tab) because if it doesn't work by itself it won't work in the tab either.

Gri, If you need more assistance I would be happy to help you. Try these thing first. 

Jul 31, 2007 09:22 PM #126
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Brad Andersohn
Director of Education & Industry Outreach at eXp Realty & RE Tech Campus - Fairfield, CA
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Griselda, there you have it, from a guy who sounds pretty confident, but doesn't like yelling...LOL!  Give it a try and let us know how it goes!!  Bud - who said you get vacation?!?!?  :-)
Aug 01, 2007 04:22 PM #127
Rainer
1,048
Stuart McIntosh
homSALE - Madison, WI
We host several other site beside our own, www.homsale.com, and are seeing about 30% of our viewers are using FireFox. It is clear that the browers behave differently and cannot stress enough that all site should be tested with both to ensure it is appearing properly.
Aug 01, 2007 05:12 PM #128
Rainmaker
59,084
Candy Henthorne
Results Realty - Spring, TX
Spring Texas Real Estate
I have friends using Firefox, I looked at it and that was it.  I personally wasn't impressed, but I am not as experienced as the rest of you.  I like the one that works for me and I am not as computer advanced as most of you.  My son has Vista and loves it and I will start learning that.  I will get frustrated if I get too many new things to learn at once.  Give me time, I will come around and try it again.
Aug 01, 2007 05:55 PM #129
Rainer
55,423
Alex Bautista
Hathaway Real Estate Group - Lacey, WA
Lewis-McChord & Fort Lewis Area Real Estate

Hi Brad,

Checking my web stats I have about 18% of users using Firefox and 77% using IE. Even though Firefox is gaining ground the difference is still significant. As a former programmer back in the day when Netscape and IE were the major browsers; I don't see websites developers taking Firefox more seriously until they gain more ground, as far as percentage of users. I'm not saying developers are discounting Firefox but it will not be supported equally to IE because the numbers are not there yet.

The reason more developers are not supporting Firefox(MLS, TopProducer) because developers would have to basically maintain two different sets of code because they both render html differently. On every page, the code would have to detect if a user is using IE or Firefox and then the session would be directed to the appropriate set of code. For a programmer that would be a nightmare situation because it basically takes twice the work. Every time you modify the code you would have to change it in two different places.

The reason many sites don't render properly on Firefox is simply because they are not designed to work on Firefox. When Firefox gains more market share (probably closer to IE numbers) is when more sites will be compatible on both browsers but I don't see that happening anytime soon.

As far as preferences I use IE mainly because I come from a MS background and those habits are hard to break, but I do QC my websites with Firefox just incase.

Aug 01, 2007 06:19 PM #130
Rainmaker
1,113,465
Joe Manausa
Joe Manausa Real Estate - Tallahassee, FL
Tallahassee Real Estate

I enjoy using firefox, but too many of my on-demand applications require IE. Microsoft is guarding themselves well. When I bought a new system with Vista, firefox caused so many problems, I had to remove it...

Aug 02, 2007 12:17 AM #131
Rainer
2,623
Bud Hammerton
Moore & Associates - Waxhaw, NC

Alex - Stats are just what they are. IE still comes bundled with every Windows OS and so it will continue to dominate. If you take that into account 18% usage for Firefox is significant. Every marketing study I have done or seen all say the same thing. If you currently use a product just the fact that it is bad is not enough reason to change to something else. The same applies to IE.

A properly written website or web application should work equally well with IE or Firefox or Opera or Safari (for you Mac users) and does not need separate codebases. It is only when programmers are not diligent or want to use very specific (ie non standard features) that we run into trouble.  This is the real reason many sites do not work on Firefox, not the need to maintain two separate sections of code.

You actually hit on the exact reason for many not using or even trying to use alternative browsers when you said, "those habits are hard to break".

Candy - I think the appeal of Firefox is that you can extend the functionality with add-ons. As an example, I am a cyclist by hobby and old-school cyclists tell you everything about their bicycles in terms centimeters, millimeters, grams and kilograms. Then in the same sentence they talk about their bikes weighing in pounds and ounces. Now I would like to think of myself as a pretty smart guy but I can't convert from imperial to metric in my head. I happen to have a widget in the status bar that when I press on it it redisplays the page with all the measurements converted from one system to the other, just a flick of the button, try doing that with IE. BTW, my road bike weighs in at 6880g just over the UCI lower weight limit for racing of 6.8Kg.

Stuart -  Our site is seeing a huge increase in Firefox traffic, over the last month Google reported to us that 38% of the site visitors are using Firefox!

Brad - I am training for an upcoming Century in early September so I do need some time off to "Get the miles in." I had tapered off the mileage in July because of work and other stuff, but was able to ramp up the mileage to about 180 last week. Take a look at this Blog entry to see a goal I reached this year as a result of 150 pound weight loss and a return to cycling after a 15 year layoff.  Assault on Mount Mitchell.

Aug 02, 2007 04:33 AM #132
Rainer
55,423
Alex Bautista
Hathaway Real Estate Group - Lacey, WA
Lewis-McChord & Fort Lewis Area Real Estate

Bud - (Sorry Brad for bypassing you since this is your blog post, but Bud addressed me through a comment so I wanted to respond).  Bud it's your opinion that that IE is "bad" product. Firefox has some features that I like but I use IE because I have no reason to switch. As a software engineer (in a past career) I've always had multiple browsers on my PC because it has always been requirement in my former line of work, but I've always stuck with IE because I prefer it. I've had issues with IE in the past but I've always known how to trouble shoot them.

Most of the time it's a dll conflict with another program installed on the computer. The reason this happens is because IE shares a lot of dll (libraries) that other programs use. Sometime installers replace system level dll with their own versions and those modified versions are not fully tested / compatible with the IE version installed on a particular computer. By the way, I built a brand new computer in January and IE has yet to crash. I wish I could say the same about Windows but that's another subject all together.

As far as your comment about "website or web application should work equally well with IE or Firefox or Opera or Safari (for you Mac users) and does not need separate codebases. It is only when programmers are not diligent or want to use very specific (ie non standard features) that we run into trouble.  This is the real reason many sites do not work on Firefox, not the need to maintain two separate sections of code."You are incorrect! Programmatically you can do things IE that is not possible on Firefox (without a lot of work-arounds). For instance IE is natively uses activeX controls. With activeX controls you can pretty much add desktop functionality to a website (i.e. access the hard drive, write/read memory, and etc). You have the entire Win32 api to your disposal.

I have written web applications for IE that use facial recognition technology, text to speech functions, and control robotic arms, web-cams, printers, scanners, signature pads, and etc. All this would not be natively possible with FF. This might not be important if you are just viewing a simple website /  blog but in the corporate world it is important.  When you are dealing with mission critical applications that require fast turnaround times you don't have time to make applications cross-platform compatible when one of the platforms is used by only 18% of the population.

I might have taken the example to the extreme but I'm just pointing out that there are differences between the two browsers and not all applications can be handled with the same set of code. I can go on with more examples but I don't want to bore everybody with more geek talk.

Aug 02, 2007 04:25 PM #133
Rainer
2,623
Bud Hammerton
Moore & Associates - Waxhaw, NC

No active-x for mac users, no active-x for linux users, active-x does work with Firefox add-ins. My statement was incorrect only if you live in a Windows only world.

Yes you can do a ton of stuff with Microsfot only additions, but back to MLS and realty sites, most do not use Active-X controls, I know mine doesn't, so this is really not the issue. 

You are correct that no one will care until market share increases. Firefox market share is still increasing but it stands at only 12.72% worldwide and 19.65% here in the US. What is amazing is that Firefox has a significant share in Germany at 26.69%.

This is all I am going to say on this subject because I am going to go ride my bike instead (I have priorities!) 

Griselda were you able to get FF working with IE Tab or IE View? 

Aug 02, 2007 05:42 PM #134
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Brad Andersohn
Director of Education & Industry Outreach at eXp Realty & RE Tech Campus - Fairfield, CA
ActiveBrad - 707.646.1876

Bud - Check you out!!  I leave for a couple days to go to Bloggers Connect in San Francisco, and you take over my post!!!  What the......?  Don't be asking me for no salary or part time pay you hi-jacker you!!  LOL!!

Alex - Thanks for your demonstration of the polite manner in which you gingerly and delicately hi-jack my post with style and a moral and ethical approach! LOL!!  I appreciate that!  Seriously, Sorry I was gone for a couple days...

Back to you Bud, if you read the comments, you'll see it didn't work for Griselda, so no "post love" for you...your IE Tabs don't work for everyone.  Now go ride your bike and don't hi-jack anything while your out on the streets!!!  ROFL!!  You know I love ya Bud...(only 1 comment per post please)  hahahahaha!!!  You're on probation, next comes the ankle bracelet.  My dad used to say, "Don't make me pull this blog over"....  B-) 

Thanks for watching my post while I was away!! 

Aug 02, 2007 06:59 PM #135
Rainer
55,423
Alex Bautista
Hathaway Real Estate Group - Lacey, WA
Lewis-McChord & Fort Lewis Area Real Estate

Hi Brad -I was wondering where you were. I thought you might have been in SLO showing your son how to scam for the college hotties. 

Bud- We do live in a MS world. My Webtrends reports that 90% of my traffic is generated by Windows users. The world may not be fully dominated by MS but it's pretty close.

The original post was not whether the MLS worked better on IE or Firefox. The post was asking which browser you preferred. I brought up activeX because you made a blanket statement stating that a single codeset could be used for all platforms; which is obviously not the case. If you qualified your statement I could have accepted it, but you tried to pass on a statement that was obviously incorrect.

You could get away with a single codeset with some simple web applications but you couldn't get away with it if you wanted do anything half-way complex like Topproducer 7i(which doesn't use activeX). You would ultimately have to select a browser which the majority of the population uses. It's a dollar and cents thing. Would you pay a programmer $150+ an hour to code for a browser that has 70% of the market share or 18%? That is the reason many sites don't work with FF.

Aug 02, 2007 08:11 PM #136
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Brad Andersohn
Director of Education & Industry Outreach at eXp Realty & RE Tech Campus - Fairfield, CA
ActiveBrad - 707.646.1876

Alex - my son needs no help with the hotties, he's already got one of those!!  :-)

You and Bud go ahead and hash this thing out, but readers have already made a decision on what browsers they like, what browsers work with MLS's and which ones don't.  So I hate to see Bud try to defend a useless battle over something he feels so strongly about.  Let's face it guys, even if FF did work with EVERY MLS in the Country, I'm not sure that would change a thing that has been or will be written in this post.  So let's be adults, take a big breath, shake it off, and let others post their comments as to why they use either product and their opinions for what works best for them.  I just checked my stats this morning and my FF readership is down, compared to when I posted this back on March 24th. Just FYI!!

Aug 03, 2007 03:40 AM #137
Rainer
70,478
Jan Wood
None - Gallatin, TN

Hey Brad:  Sorry for the confusion... no I didn't post here, I posted on the Tech Boards asking for help, I just browsed your post looking for answers to my problem with FF.  I still don't have my problem solved with the Virtual Tours.  Also, in FF, under File, Import, IE... what exactly does this mean; I can't find any information under the Help button.   Until I get my problem solved, I will continue to go back and forth between the two browsers.  

http://activerain.com/blogsview/250547/Trouble-with-Firefox-Anyone

 

 

Oct 27, 2007 01:23 AM #138
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Brad Andersohn
Director of Education & Industry Outreach at eXp Realty & RE Tech Campus - Fairfield, CA
ActiveBrad - 707.646.1876
Jan - no apology needed.  I suppose I should be checking those message boards, just too darn busy these days. Wish I could help you more with your Virtual Tours, there are so many things it could be and without being there to see exactly what's happening, I'm afraid I can't be more help.  Also, regarding the file. import, IE.. I am not sure what that means, or what you're trying to accomplish.  I'll check out the link you posted above and see if I can help any further.  You're not alone in having issues with both IE and FF.  I think we all have to go back and forth depending on the task at hand. I really wish I could help you more here, it's frustrating for us both. You could fly me out and write it off on your taxes!!  hahaha! :-)  B-)
Oct 27, 2007 04:51 AM #139
Rainer
70,478
Jan Wood
None - Gallatin, TN
O.K., Brad, if any other nutcase asks you about this problem, I have the answer now.  I reloaded IE 7.0 and then reloaded Flash.  My problems are solved.  I can see all my Virtual Tours now and all the widgets I have placed on AR... I am happy.  I probably had my computer all screwed up.  And thank you so much for all your work. 
Oct 27, 2007 11:01 AM #140
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Brad Andersohn
Director of Education & Industry Outreach at eXp Realty & RE Tech Campus - Fairfield, CA
ActiveBrad - 707.646.1876
Jan - that's AWESOME!!!  Glad you got it worked out.  I never thought to have you uninstall and reinstall...DUH!!
Bottom line is that if you're happy, I'm happy!!  Enjoy the rest of your weekend. Thanks Jan!  :-)

Oct 27, 2007 08:11 PM #141
Rainmaker
78,310
Jon Boyd
Home Buyer's Agent of Ann Arbor - Ann Arbor, MI
Ann Arbor Real Estate Buyers Agent

Brad,

Our MLS requires IE but when I'm on my laptop I prefer FF.

And my iphone uses Safari and I do a lot of browsing on that when I'm away from home or office.

I wonder what Google's browser will do to the marketplace.

Sep 12, 2008 06:23 AM #142
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Brad Andersohn
Director of Education & Industry Outreach at eXp Realty & RE Tech Campus - Fairfield, CA
ActiveBrad - 707.646.1876

Jon - I have checked out Google's Chrome, but not enough to post about it just yet, still doing some tests and research, but I'll be letting members know my thoughts along with the features and benefits I find.  :-)

Sep 15, 2008 02:46 AM #143
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