Well, today is the day I removed Internet Explorer’s icon from my desktop. I have to admit that my capitalist principles were trembling a bit as I relegated the little ‘e’ in its orbit to the trash bin. Surely a well-run corporation can make a browser that is more complete, better tested, and more reliable than a bunch of guys working for nothing! Oh, well. The fact is that I have had Firefox’s icon on my desktop right below IE’s for a couple of years now. If you’re a developer then testing scripts and pages under both is a requirement, and Firebug, a “peel the onion” web forensic tool that runs as a Firefox plug-in, is probably the most useful web development tool I have ever downloaded. But FF was my back-up browser.

Lately I’ve been running into more and more sites that don’t render correctly in IE. I think the first one I noticed was Slashdot a few weeks back. Articles that didn’t display correctly in IE displayed just fine in FF. A couple of forums based on PHP Nuke were next. Again, articles and posts displayed correctly in FF but not IE. What was going on? Was there some wide agreement among web developers to stop catering to IE’s eccentricities? One could hardly blame them. As a developer who has done extensive javascript and HTML with styles I have wanted to tear my hair out a few times, and it isn’t even my primary gig. The last straw for me was when I downloaded the Google Android SDK and found that some of the local html docs didn’t work right in IE… but again worked fine in Firefox.

So, out with the old, in with the newer. I changed the file associations in the registry for .htm and .html files. I visited all the news sites and forums where I have perma-logins and established the cookies in Firefox, and then deleted the IE icon as previously related. I’ll give IE another go when 8.0 is released, probably, but for the moment the team at Mozilla is doing a much better job. I read recently that some young Aussie Microsoft developer had the nerve to ask Steve Ballmer at a conference why the company continued to invest in IE when open source renderers like Webkit were much better? Ballmer didn’t fire the guy, and actually seemed to be listening. It was a good question. Perhaps they will come up with the right answer.

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