An Ancient Explorer

Web-surfing or exploring are two common terms used to describe searching the web for data, information, and important facts. Searching and gathering the information and viewing websites is done using a browser. Microsoft’s Internet Explorer 6 is a widely used (though becoming) unpopular browser. Using IE6 with today’s web is comparable to playing solitaire by hand!

IE6 came along with Windows XP in 2001 and instantly attained dominance of the browser market. But as time passed, people found working with IE6 to be extremely frustrating and time-consuming. Much effort and money is wasted on hacks and security precautions because IE6 is not considered hacker safe unfortunately, as bypassing their security is not too difficult for an experienced hacker. In addition, its outdated technology in a rapidly evolving Internet landscape creates a severe hindrance because a lot of new web technology is incompatible with this browser.

Although many people are dissatisfied, they don’t have the opportunity to upgrade to a more updated browser because their company or corporation solely support IE6; either because they don’t feel the need to upgrade, or can’t be bothered with the hassle. In a recent survey done by Digg on its users, it was reported that only 7% of those who use IE6 as their browser, use it out of preference. 70% reported being stuck with it due to company regulations.

It is a shame because with other browsers on the market, you can really take your pick of a better and more fool-proof one! Firefox 3 is full-featured, extremely quick, and a strong competitor for Internet Explorer. Its latest updated version Firefox 3.5 is approximately two times faster than version 3. The new Private Browsing brings a feature to Firefox that competitors have had for a while: the capability to turn off cookie and history logs. In addition, there is a geolocation default (courtesy of Google) which means if you type in “library” or the like, it will automatically bring up the libraries closest to you

Google Chrome is a browser that combines a minimal design with sophisticated technology to make the web faster, safer, and easier. It is definitely the quickest browser on the market. Chrome’s layout is a completely different than other browsers. Chrome places its tabs on the top of the page as opposed to the traditional toolbar. Additionally, it is possible to separate the tabs you are working with. By setting each tab’s process apart from the others, if one site crashes, the other tabs do not.

Internet Explorer 7 is a web browser released by Microsoft in October 2006. Internet Explorer 7 was the first major update to the browser in more than 5 years. It arrived to take the place of IE6. It has a couple more features to make your Internet Explorer more friendly, usable, and more secure. The list of added features is long, but they’re all accessible from a status bar icon that the program installs for you. In addition, the problem that IE6 has in the form of leaking memory seems to have been solved in this newer version.

Internet Explorer 8 was made public in March 2009. It addresses most of the problems and concerns that came up with the previous Explorers. There’s definitely a greater emphasis on Web standards and security than before. Before entering an unsafe sites a warning appears on you screen to prevent anything from happening. Though IE 8 does lack a default “smart” location that many other browsers have and an unimpressive installation process requiring a reboot, there’s no reason not to upgrade if you are a fan of Internet Explorer.

With the upcoming release of HTML 5, the next major revision of HTML, which is the core markup language of the World Wide Web, it is coming to a point where innovation will be stifled if websites must continue to cater to this outdated browser. HTML 5 standards will enable the formulation of richer web applications. Using IE6 will significantly hinder the ability of web applications to run as smoothly as a desktop application. IE6 is a browser that requires the most time and energy to ensure its smooth functioning.

Looks like the only way people will upgrade though, is if they are forced to when their favorite web tools cease to work with IE6. As we look towards the future we have to put aside IE6 as an outdated browser and look onwards to more updated technologies.