Does It Really Matter Which Browser I Use?

Here at Mi4 Corporation we are currently in the process of rolling out a variety of new web-based features for our applications. One of the biggest challenges faced by web developers is ensuring that your application is compatible with all of the most popular browsers.

The types of applications that are being built for the web in 2018 are getting more and more powerful and, as a result, more and more complicated. As the types of applications on the internet become more complicated, which browser you use to view websites becomes increasingly vital. Using an outdated browser to view the internet in 2018 is like trying to stream HD Game of Thrones episodes on a black and white tube TV. That just wouldn’t be enjoyable at all. The quality of user experience you receive and whether or not the web applications that you are using even function properly are all dependent on the browser that you are using. Luckily, unlike televisions, you don’t have to pay to upgrade your browser; you can download the latest and greatest for free.

So, what can you do to ensure that you have the best user experience possible?

#1)  No matter which browser you are using, always make sure it is up to date

Updates are released for browsers as security flaws are discovered and new features are developed that need to be supported. If you have your browser set up to automatically install new upgrades, there is no need to worry. If not, it’s important that you periodically check for available updates and install them. As discussed, this will increase the features to which you have access. More importantly though, this will protect you and your network against known security flaws.

#2)  Transition away from Internet Explorer when possible

Internet Explorer (IE) was the dominant browser for a long period of time. That time has passed though and it is no longer the best option for users. Currently, many companies (especially at the enterprise level) still use Internet Explorer as their default browser. Though the latest version of Internet Explorer (version 11) is still being supported by Microsoft, it will not be updated for anything other than security patches. With the release of Windows 10, Edge is now the recommended browser from the Microsoft Team and is shipped with all new machines.

See the official statement from Microsoft urging users to transition from IE to Edge:

https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/windowsforbusiness/end-of-ie-support

In fact, many web applications have ceased trying to even provide compatibility with Internet Explorer. They have determined that the portion of their user base that uses IE is too insignificant to justify their efforts of ensuring compatibility. Instead, when they detect that you are using IE to view their website, they will simply notify you of this and “strongly urge” you to view their website in a modern browser (i.e. Chrome, Edge, Firefox, or Safari).

#3)  Select a modern browser to use and start using it

Let’s take a look at the current browser market:

Chrome is currently dominating the U.S. Market (data provided by statcounter.com)

As you can see, the landscape of the browser market has shifted quite a bit over the last 5 years as IE has fallen out of favor. Below are the best options currently available:

Google Chrome  (The current king of the internet mountain)  By far and away the most popular option, you can’t really go wrong with Chrome. Backed by Google, most people have a great deal of faith in Chrome, especially at a security level. The fact that most people default to Google for search lends them to also be more likely to use Chrome for browsing as well. Beloved in the developer community, recently Chrome has begun to see some real push back for the first time. There have been questions about Google’s choice to make some of their products only accessible on Chrome, which conflicts with the open and free internet that most developers hold in high regard. It will be interesting to see how this plays out.

Mozilla Firefox  (A long-time great alternative)  A favorite in the tech community, Firefox was the popular alternative to IE long before Chrome was around. Although it has lost some ground over the past couple of years, the Mozilla team has been implementing some great features lately that have many thinking it will provide some real competition for Chrome moving forward. If you are trying to step away from Chrome, Firefox is right up your alley.

Microsoft Edge  (The IE replacement)  As mentioned earlier, Edge is the replacement browser for IE developed by the Microsoft team. While not the most popular browser in an Portland coffee shop full of Macbooks, Edge is a solid browser that will do everything that you need it to. The Microsoft team is working very hard to make sure it keeps up to date with the modern web standards and so far have accomplished that, evidenced by Edge’s quick rise in popularity. For a business setting, Edge is a perfect choice.

Safari by Apple  (The Macbook default)  Developed by Apple, Safari performs well on the Mac platforms but is currently unavailable for Windows users. Thanks to the popularity of the iPad, Safari is currently the most used web browser on tablet devices.

 

With the proper browser installed, you should now be ready to enjoy the internet in 2018 in all of its glory.  Happy surfing!

Note: Always get approval from your IT Administrator before you download any browsers or other new software.

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