Monday, June 13, 2005

cutting corners

The browser wars are upon us once again.
One of the main features regular users are looking for is tabbed browsing. Firefox has it, IE does not. But wait a minute, MS was not going to let a simple matter such as tabbed browing take 10% (an growing daily) of the market share. Soi what do you do? you get a team together and push tabbed browing out to the public as soon as you can, furthermore you bundle it as a toolbar that can be installed on top of the existing browser version, that way the kinks can be tested before the real release is brought to the public.
So Microsoft did, they release their toolbar that allows user to browse in different tabs in the same window. Great, noe thwy can finally stop the bleeding and focus on getting out a product that will recover the ground they lost.
Well that what the product management thought, but they didnt count on people actually paying attention to the quality of their product. Thats what happens when you play catch-up, you cannot just bring an existing feature up and expect people to embrace it. They will compare it and test it thoroughly, they now have a basis for comparison.
I have not tested the toolbar myself, i am in no hurry to use tabs in IE, i just use Firefox and will continue to use it as long as its the best browser out there. I will definitely upgrade to ie 7 and if it at least matches what Firefox is doing then i will probably use it again as my default browser but i wont give up firefox.
Now, i have been reading the reviews on the MS toolbar and it just doesnt look good for Microsoft. They are simply cutting corners and that is unacceptable for a company like Microsoft. I think a comment that i read earlier sums it best (not an exact quote, but drives the point):
It is a conspiracy!: IE wants you to see how tabbed browsing sucks and you should not use it. People will see the horrible performance and decide to stay with their current browser.
Thats how badly implemented it is. Some of the 'issues' i read about include:

  • Tabs are actually a new instance of IE. And we know what kind of performance we get of each IE instance.

  • There is lot of flickering when the pages load in the background

  • Any 3rd party toolbars installed are actualy instantiated for each tab

  • Lot more you can find ont the web (Links to come soon).

On the Pro side some peoiple argue that instantiating a new thread of IE for each tab may be a good thing. Now when it crashes only that thread will die and you would be able to keep browsing on your other tabs. Maybe so ut it has not been proved to work that way, at least not that i know; and even then i dont think is a good enough tradeoff, but again thats just me.

Have you tried the MSN Toolbar? What do you think?


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