Saturday, December 6, 2008

The World's most popular web browser

The worlds most popular operating system "Windows" comes with the most popular web browser in this globe. The introduction to the almighty "Internet Explorer" is totally unnecessary. Statistics show that more than 65% of the Internet traffic is from Internet explorer, the remaining shared by Firefox, opera, safari, etc. What really made it to be so popular?? Yes, it is Windows, since Windows comes with built-in Internet explorer many people don't even think about installing an alternate browser. But is this Internet Explorer (a.k.a. IE) really worth this popularity?? I would say a big "NOOOO" and I really feel it be the worst piece of software one can ever write. Next time you get a chance just look how smoothly other browsers render the page and how IE does it, you will realize what I mean.

I have been developing web based applications for the past 2 years and writing a piece of code that would work in IE is always a PITA (Pain in the A**). When a organization called W3C is defining standards that the web browsers should follow for rendering the content, what would it cost for M$ to follow them? Every time you write a code one has to do special checks for IE and handle it specially. So at the end of day the code looks like

if (Internet Explorer) {
do something big and complicated to achieve something small
} else if (any other browser) {
write a simple code that work on all browsers.

Alright, I write this code and the next step is debugging. Browsers like Firefox provide so much facilities to add 3rd party plug-ins into the browser. Many of these plugins are for developers to help them in debugging HTML, JavaScript, CSS, Network traffic, load time, etc. But unfortunetly the most popular web browser doesn't have any of these abilities and it just dumps with the most idiotic error messages in the world. Some of them i encountered are

  • 'null' is null or not an object
  • Unspecified Error.
  • 'undefined' is null
  • Syntax error
and the list goes on. How would a developer know what went wrong when a stupid message like this pops-up without any other info like proper line number or statement? In most of the cases the issue is not with our application but with IE. So we are forced to hide the IE's bugs by adding fixes in our code because M$ will never fix it and we cann't do a release with these bugs showing up. There are so many versions of IE that was released IE-5, IE-5.5, IE-6, IE-7 and soon IE-8. But to me they just mean this

IE-5 = (Some functionality + Bugs)
IE-5.5 = (IE-5 + Some more Bugs)
IE-6 = (IE-5.5 + Some more Bugs)
IE-7 = (IE-6 + Some more Bugs)
IE-8 = (IE-7 + Some more Bugs)

and none of them shows any improvements in its functionality and this is not acceptable.

Long live Internet explorer!!!

P.S: This post just contains my personal view about the mentioned products and in no way represents my employer or colleagues

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