Browser Wars: Which Should You Use?

Internet Explorer, Opera, Chrome, Firefox, oh my! To the average user, is it really so important which browser to use? Well, with websites and web applications increasing in popularity and functionality that answer is a resounding YES! When choosing your browser, keep in mind the following:

Stay Modern

As someone who works with clients and client issues on a daily basis, I see every kind of browser and browser version known to man. Considering that browsers are free to users, I really can’t understand why people are still using legacy browsers such as Internet Explorer 6.x, and 7.x or even Firefox 2.x. Do yourselves a favor and upgrade your browser to the latest version. You are going to see a big performance boost by doing that alone.

Do Your Research

The predominant technologies that are going to slow your browsing experience are sites with heavy HTML, CSS, Tables and, to a greater extent, those using Flash, Java, and AJAX (Asynchronous Javascript and XML). If the sites or web applications that you frequent use these technologies heavily, you might want to try out a couple of different browsers on the site to see which loads faster.

Another helpful tip is to see if the sites you use tend to endorse a certain browser. At CATS we officially recommend Firefox. For the past four years, all of our initial development and testing has traditionally been in Firefox. We have found that it is a very fast, secure, and reliable browser for our needs and our software tends to perform very well when using it.

Closing Thoughts

What browser do I personally recommend? It used to be Firefox, and that was it. Lately, I have been using Google’s Chrome browser with it side-by-side and have really been impressed by the results. As of today, I would put them in a tie. Both are incredibly fast and offer many add-ons and resources for developers to create extensions for their browsers.

Adam Overa over at Tom’s Hardware has written up an excellent guide comparing the five main browsers out there. He offers several benchmarks with a detailed conclusion for readers to make their own conclusion (Hint: he found Chrome to be the best in all-around testing).

So, with my new found infatuation with Google’s browser, will CATS make a plug-in for Chrome too? Only time will tell…