what browser to use…

…or not, for whatever reason.

Can't say I am preoccupied with what browsers people use, but at times the reasoning sounds a bit strange. Some act as if their life's happiness depends on a browser's chrome, and others don't seem to find their way around if a function is on the other side of the screen of what they are used to.

Have heard people decide which browser to use based solely on a panel being open in one browser and closed in another, without realizing that whether a panel stays open or closed in any browser is a matter of choice by them – the users.

Too many can't really use their “browser of choice”(?), so why they choose a particular browser remains pretty diffuse – even to them. Anyway, they have a browser named so and so, and no-one is allowed to say anything bad about their browser even if they have next to zero idea about how it works – especially compared to other browsers.

whatever you're comfortable with.

When asked, I recommend to everyone that they “shop around” and choose one they think they will be comfortable with. Not too many to choose from, and no matter what they're called and what they look like by default, they are variants of only a few that basically get the same job done.

We are pretty much past the time of browser wars – apart from conflicts caused by wrong use of prefixes, and no browser has majority status outside narrow areas of the world today. Any of the major and also most of the minor browsers will do, as long as their engines are recently updated. And having and using more than one browser, is of course OK.

When going into details there are of course huge differences, but unless a person can define in quite some details exactly what he or she wants and needs from a browser on a particular device and operating system, explaining details does not make much sense.

the “best browser”…

The “best browser” in any field last year, may be under average this year because of the uneven upgrade phases browser vendors apply. And, there is no guarantee that they will improve in fields that matter to a particular group of users when they release the next upgrade.

So relying on year-old information does not help anyone to find the best browser for them. Even months-old information may be outdated when it is time to choose, so better try out all the latest and see how they do alongside each other on your own device(s).

The results of comparing browsers on one system/device, may not be the same as on someone else's system/device, as varying combinations of devices and operating systems with upgrades do not ensure equal platforms.

And since many web designers/coders still uphold the stupid practice of creating web pages/sites sprinkled with extra support for one or a few browsers instead of coding browser-agnostic, you never know if a site works for or against a particular browser.

With few exceptions: what anyone says regarding “best browser”, or “best anything” really, is to a large degree based on personal preferences without much facts to back them up. So, again, try for yourself and see what you like … it will only cost some time since all browsers are free.

not in my wildest dreams.

When people ask me if I use this or that browser, I say “of course – have to test if it is working”. Beyond that I stick to my habits and personal preferences, and use latest version of one particular browser for 99% of all surfing, downloading etc, and one or two others for jobs in the last 1% of tasks I find them to be particularly well set up for. Works wonderful on all my machines/devices.

Not even in my wildest dream would I consider switching to another browser as main “work-horse” based on ads, trends, hypes and/or what people around me say. All browsers get a fair chance in the competition for first place around here when I test them for performance – which happens quite frequently really, and so far only one browser carries enough overall performance‐weight and advantages to get, and stay, on top.

As I am reluctant to change habits and preferences, it is fine with me that others stick to theirs. If they also know why, then all the better for them.

sincerely  georg; sign

Hageland 09.jul.2012
10.jul.2012 - minor corrections
08.sep.2013 - added (classic) to Opera in right column
last rev: 08.sep.2013

side notes.

what I want in a browser.

First and foremost: no “bling-bling” and no nonsense. Enough “bling-bling” and nonsense on web sites, so the more serious and calm the browser-chrome the better.

I turn off all disturbing factors all browsers come with, and set them up for me both for work and leisure. Browsers that make it easy to do that in quite some details, without having to add extensions, are preferred.

basic requirements.

  • strong on web standards.
  • protection against malicious software.
  • fast and conventional rendering.
  • multi-tab browsing with no hassle.
  • download universally usable/editable files.
  • adds and annoyance filtering.

Most browsers do an acceptable, although not equally good, job at fulfilling the points in my basic requirement list. I can't really test individual browsers' “protection against malicious software” since all my connections, devices and software are protected by ESET, and I am reluctant to turn that protection off.

Most browsers fail on “download universally usable/editable files”, which makes them less usable to me. All need some form of add-ons/​extensions to manage “adds and annoyance filtering” to my satisfaction.

wishes for professional use.

  • good code analyzing tools.
  • good source-code edit tools.
  • customizable interface.

Spread is a bit larger here, and dependence on add-ons/extensions to manage the tasks increases. That is OK until add-ons/​extensions break when a browser is upgraded.

So, based on what I have listed so far, and also adding a dash of personal preferences that are difficult to express in clear language, a conclusion is reached.

and the winners are…

  • Chrome for its code analyzing tools.
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Opera (classic) for everything else on my lists.
    4.5 out of 5 stars

For now I find the other competitors (browsers) only good for testing themselves, so I know what their users see in them. I may myself see no reasons to use them, but making sure my and my clients' work renders OK in all major browsers, is important.

final notes:

I feel no loyalty to any browser-vendor, and do not by my decisions about which one to use for what on my devices indicate that some browsers are superior to others for the average web surfer. I only present what works best for me.

There is of course one other browser I regularly put to use both for work and leisure: Lynx. No matter how well other browsers do their job, they have yet to outdo this ancient piece of software at what it does best. I do not think Lynx will do much for the average web surfer though.

www.gunlaug.com advice upgrade advice upgrade navigation