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Friday, March 11, 2005



If you don't want to read about the browser wars, then don't read this post. Don't tell me I didn't warn you.

So I use Opera and Firefox, primarily Opera. They're both better than the standard and you can get them easily. But I'm noticing a problem. Used to be, developers didn't focus on optimizing for the "third" browser, Opera. Many pages would come out looking pretty badly, as the developers would only write code specific to Internet Explorer. This could have had a terrible impact on Opera ASA, the company that produces Opera, except for the users compelling developers to use w3c standards (w3c is short for "World Wide Web Consortium"). Luckily, Opera users, and internet users in general, have benefited from standards compliant websites.

Now there is a new problem, two major companies have thrown their support behind specific browsers. Microsoft websites (MSN) are written with an Internet Explorer bias. Google has it's own bias, toward Firefox. Whether these sites target Opera specifically or not I cannot say, but I do know this: a public website should be written for all, and should comply to universal standards. It's understandable that some websites work for some browsers, and that not all developers are as proficient as others. But we're not talking, we're talking about two giants in the field. With more and more browsers being thrown into the mix (Netscape's return, Mozilla, Firefox), and the flaws in Internet Explorer being exposed near weekly, all sites should try to serve the needs of everyone, lest they lose users. I'd like to see more browsers thrown into the mix, open source or otherwise, as the overall quality of the internet can improve dramatically. But it starts with you. If you're an opera user, get in contact with Microsoft and Google, and tell them that you want their sites improved. If you're a Firefox user, and you're having similar problems, do the same. And if you use Internet Explorer, try Opera or Firefox, branch out, you'll be impressed.

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