Thoughts on Internet Explorer 82 min read


Microsoft released Internet Explorer 8 Beta 2 this week with a big push out to bloggers.  As part of my day job at Refresh we spend alot of time developing Facebook Applications and one of biggest hurdles is Internet Explorer support.  I think one of the biggest momentum shifters for Firefox has probably been Firebug.  It makes it easy for developers to develop and debug AJAX and JS applications for Firefox.  The Javascript console is awesome and there isn’t anything really close for Internet Explorer.  The result is that most web apps, including Facebook, are developed for Firefox first and then made to work on Internet Explorer.  This is a nightmare for Internet Explorer users, who are still fairly dominate, because the experience on Internet Explorer is immediately lower than Firefox.  Microsoft really needs to develop a competitive tool if they want to get serious about beating back Firefox.

My other major issue with Internet Explorer is the adoption cycle.  Many corporations are still using Internet Explorer 6 because of the update process.  Its possible to get Firefox v3 running on any computer in a matter of minutes, a quick download, install and go.  When I installed Internet Explorer 8 it downloaded for awhile ( via Windows Update ) and then immediately wanted to reboot to download some more, check for malicious software components, install, and then install updates.  The process took me about 30 mins and is very prone to errors because Internet Explorer tries to embed into the operating system.  I think Microsoft really needs to rethink the Internet Explorer architecture.  They’re done with the DOJ battle over whether Internet Explorer is a operating system component and it should be developed independently so that it can its a smaller and nimbler.  I can understand the resistance from IT staff to put all their employees through a 30 min download, reboot, download, install and then install more cycle.  The cost/benefit ratio of updating a browser just isn’t worth it.