My favorite web browser is Internet Explorer
(IE). Why? It is the most compatible web browser out there. And since it is bundled with Windows, it is very likely that it will be on any computer you use.
For the web pages I visit, IE always works. I like it when things just work. Since IE has the largest market share, it is highly likely that most web pages are tested to work with IE.
However, IE does lack in some features that other web browsers have. The most noticeable is “tabbed browsing
.” On my Linux box at work, I use Firefox
(no IE for Linux…surprise!) and really like its tabbed browsing interface. I open 10+ web pages at any one time, and using a separate window for each can get unwieldy. Also, it is nice to use the middle mouse button to click on links and let them load in the background in a tab while you continue to browse the current page. When you are done, you can move on to the other tabs that were loading in the background…no need to wait on web pages loading!
IE 7 will have tabbed browsing. Actually, IE 7 will have better tab browsing than Firefox. Microsoft’s new take on tabbed browsing is called “quick tabs
.” With quick tabs, you can see mini versions of all your open web pages, all on a single page. From quick tabs, you can see which pages have loaded (or have loaded enough to be usable) and pick which one you want to view or close. I can’t wait to try out this feature…I’m sure I will use it daily. Read more about the current state of IE 7 Beta 2 here
Unfortunately, IE 7 is not out yet. It is planned for the second half of 2006 (it will also be a part of the next version of Windows, Windows Vista
). So no tab browsing for the current IE…or is there?
I’ve found two ways to add tab browsing to IE. One is to use MSN’s toolbar. This review
didn’t make me want to run out and try it. The review says the performance is slow and integration seems more like and afterthought. To try it out for yourself (it is free), get it here
The other way to get tabbed browsing in IE is to use Avant Browser
. Avant uses a different approach than MSN’s toolbar. Avant wrote their own web browser. But, Avant uses the IE rendering engine, so the net result is web pages look the same in Avant as they do in IE.
The tabbed browsing works just like Firefox. I love it! I would recommend Avant just for the tabbed browsing, but it also has a couple other nice features that I’ll use:
- Flash animation blocker. I found that some of the advertisements Yahoo puts on my home page are of the flash animation variety. I didn’t worry about it until some of the animations sucked up 100% of my CPU and slowed everything down…especially loading my home page. With the flash animation blocker, this is not a problem any more. Plus, it is easy to turn back on if you do want to watch an animation, just go to the Tools menu and uncheck “Disable Flash Animations.”
- Ad blocker. Avant will filter out requests for advertisements so you don’t waste time loading ads…makes web pages load much quicker.
Avant is free, but they do take donations. I sent them $15 because I think they did a great job. You can download it here
. Highly recommended!