Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Firefox 4, Internet Explorer 9, and Chromium

If you've been on the web at all recently, whether you're using Firefox or Internet Explorer (IE), you've probably been prompted to upgrade your browser to the latest version. I say, go for it. I've tested both of the latest versions of Firefox and IE without any trouble at all from either upgrade. Both upgrades are quite substantial to the dominant browsers (IE 9 is so much better than IE 8).

Internet Explorer 9

This is what IE should have been a LONG time ago (I say the same thing about Windows 7). I'm not just talking about the browser's visuals when I say that; what I mean is performance. IE 9 does not suffer from the "walking through knee high mud" syndrome that it used to suffer from. Not that it was every incredibly slow, but it was slower than just about every other web browser available. Now, how has IE9 improved on performance? Let me tell you. 

Internet Explorer 9 boasts that its performance has increased by way of hardware acceleration. Even though the other mainstream browsers do not use this feature, it can improve your browsing experience. Microsoft gives the fish tank illustration. While playing Fish Tank in IE 9, you can have up to 1000 fish displaying on your screen without suffering from performance drought. Nice. 

Memory management is another nice feature of IE 9. Don't worry about having too many tabs open. When a tab is closed, IE 9 can rapidly release memory so performance isn't hindered. IE 9 will also notify you when add-ons are slowing browser performance; something Firefox 4 and Chrome do not have. 

For the full list of how IE 9 is "better" than its competitors click here

Firefox 4 

With the release of Firefox 4 Jason Hiner, a blogger for TechRepublic, was very excited. He felt that Firefox was in need of an improvement and he wanted to stick with the ol' Fox. However, after testing Firefox 4, he is now ready to move on to a different browser. I'll let him speak for himself. 

"After using Firefox 4 for less than a week, it’s clear to me that Mozilla hasn’t fixed the speed issues or the resource problems, and I’ve finally reached the point where I’m tired of fighting with Firefox. I’m tired of constantly looking at my open processes to see what’s bogging down my system and virtually every time it turns out to be Firefox.

The situation finally came to a head on Monday and Tuesday of this week when both cores of the CPU on my system were at 80% for big chunks of the day on both days, and the culprit was, naturally, my newly-installed Firefox 4. The clincher was when I took all of the tabs that I had open in Firefox (about 10 of them) and copied and pasted the URLs from Firefox into Chromium. Then, I closed down Firefox. The CPU utilization immediately dropped under 20% and everything on the system started running at normal speeds again." 

He then goes on to say:
"I had been using Firefox as my primary Web browser for six years. That’s certainly the longest I’ve ever stuck with a single browser — I was on Netscape and then IE for 3-4 years each before jumping to Firefox in late 2004. Still, I’m not going to be uninstalling Firefox. I’ll keep it around for occasional testing — especially for new TechRepublic features. But, I don’t see much chance of it regaining its spot as my primary Web browser."

Even after reading about his situation TR (TechRepublic) members chimed in, some agreeing and some disagreeing with Hiner's experience. My experience with Firefox 4 was not like Hiner's, but I didn't put the browser through extensive testing like he did. When I did open multiple tabs and use it in a work setting, I did notice Firefox being a resource hog. I put IE 9 through the same test and found out that IE 9 did not gorge itself on my system's resources like Firefox did. I was stunned. 
Don't let this stop you from trying or even using Firefox 4. I know this won't stop those that are true to the Fox, but for those of you on the fence, go ahead and give Firefox 4 a drive around the web. The visuals are updated, the ride is smooth, and there are some cool new features. Just don't be alarmed when you find that IE 9 runs leaner than the new Firefox. 

Read Jason Hiner's article on Firefox 4. 

Goodbye Firefox. Hello Chromium (not Google chrome).

The image I used came from: http://www.mahalo.com/deleting-browsing-history-in-internet-explorer-and-firefox/

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