Tuesday, March 15, 2011


DOH! I just noticed that my last blog here was 6 MONTHS ago... ummm... oops - my bad. (to my loyal 10 readers - I'll try to be better about updating this thing on a more timely basis)

So Microsoft just released Internet Exploder 9.0 and a "special" download site beautyOfTheWeb.com. Now, let's get this out in the open right from the start - I am NOT a huge fan of Internet Explorer. In fact, it's such a bloated, slow and outdated piece of crap that I've long since changed the default browser on every computer I touch to Chrome.

Before I get hate mail from die-hard Mozilla users - it's not that I dislike Firefox - it was the "cool kid" and unlocked the door of the tyrannical IE lock-in suffered by so many for so long. However, Google's Chrome browser simply blew the doors off Firefox in terms of performance, simplicity and elegance. To be fair, Firefox 4 is just about ready to be released - so we'll see how it goes - but for now, for me and mine - Chrome is the bee's knees.

OK, so I hope you get the fact that I like Chrome. A lot.

What was I talking about again? Oh, yeah - IE (small internal groan - followed by a sigh).

It was with great fear and trepidation that actually downloaded and Installed IE9 on my Windows 7 box. I was expecting the "usual" 10 minute download of the installer, the 20 minute install process, the inevitable reboot, etc.

BUT - the download process was pretty easy - they have a little "shell" downloader (like Chrome) app that comes down and actually does the download/install. The installation process itself was actually pretty quick (less than 5 minutes)... I was beginning to think it was going to actually be a "good" experience!

Did Microsoft finally "get it?" Did they finally realize that customers hate bloatware? Did they actually give a crap about the... dare I say it... "user?"

Answer: nope.

You STILL have to do a restart. After you install a BROWSER. In 2011.


"Well, it IS Microsoft after all", I tell myself. It's almost reassuring that they have kept the process somewhat familiar regardless of how screwed up it is... but I digress.

After installation and reboot, I'm finally ready! IE9! Here we GO!

What the ??

Did I launch Chrome by mistake? (I literally had to check the task bar)

Wow. Microsoft managed to copy Chrome! Gone are all the "crap bars" that hose it all up (like Chrome). Gone are the menus, replaced by a cute "gear" icon (hey, they couldn't use a "wrench" like Chrome - that would be "copying"). You can type in address bar to perform searchs (like Chrome). The rendering speeds ARE significantly and noticeably faster than IE8 (like Chrome). They added process isolation (so if one tab crashes - it doesn't take the whole app down - like Chrome).

Hmmmmmm... it actually doesn't suck.

It's like Chrome - but rather than using an open-source, standards-based HTML rendering engine - they're still using their closed-source, Windows-only, born in 1998 "Trident" engine. And, although Microsoft claims they've updated it to support CSS3 and HTML5 - you gotta' just KNOW that they're "embracing and extending" (read: making stupid, incompatible changes to standard tags and putting in new ones that no other browser supports).

Microsoft doing a browser update can cause a number of different responses - depending on what camp you find yourself in:

If you're a casual user: NO IMPACT - you're probably still using the default IE 6 that came with XP and either your computer is so filled with viruses that you've given up using it - or you don't actually use it to surf beyond your webmail.

If you're a web developer: HAIR ON FIRE ALERT! Refill your Starbucks card immediatelty - because now you have to support yet ANOTHER incompatible version of IE!

If you're a die-hard Microsoft-only shop: REJOICE! You can now actually "load pages quickly". Make sure you update all your customers/users immediately - and for goodness sakes make sure that you immediately hard code all your external-facing sites to only render in IE9!

If you're a die-hard Mac/iOS user/developer: IGNORE - the Mac team at Microsoft uses the same Safari/Chrome WebKit rendering engine in the Mac version of Office 2011.

So, do I "like" IE9? Sure. It's a helluva lot better than IE6, IE7 or IE8! But that's like saying Windows 7 is better than Vista. It IS. But it had BETTER BE!

The inspiration for this post was not that IE9 came out. It was all about a very insulting quote by Dean Hachamovitch (the head of the IE development team) came out with:
"Other browsers dilute their engineering investments across systems," Hachamovitch said. "Because we focus exclusively on one, IE can make the most of the Windows experience and the hardware."
Ummmm... excuse me? Yeah, you're right, Dean... why the hell would you want to support other platforms? Why would you want the same browsing experience across multiple devices? Why would you want to go with a standards-based approach - when everyone at Microsoft KNOWS that closed-source and proprietary is the future.


Dave and Laura said...

I'm no Microsoft fanboy, but I wanted to point out that Apple also makes you restart your computer whenever they put out a new version of Safari. Does seem pretty antiquated, especially in the face of Chrome's nifty 'silent' updating mechanism.

Bob Cusick said...

TOTALLY AGREE! That's sort of B.S. If you need a restart - you're changing the SYSTEM, not just the app (ask Google - they restart the APP, but not the system).

Nice point - and thanks for your comment!

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