One third Internet Explorer

by Volker Weber


A brief browser summary shows that Internet Explorer accounted for one third of page impressions on in 2004. That is still way too much. Starting today there will be a button promoting Firefox in the right hand margin that is only visible in browsers that identify themselves as IE.


a) what do you suppose "Other" is? and what are "netscape (compatible)" but not Mozilla, Firefox, or Opera?

b) Ceci n'est pas un blog? If it's not a blog, what is it?

c) Of course, I just launched IE to see what the Firefox plug looked like. Inquiring minds want to know...

Ed Brill, 2005-01-03

a) Other are mostly RSS readers and also those that account for small percentages like Konqueror (Linux). The "netscape (compatible)" are all kinds of spam bots that try to pollute the site with comment and referrer spam.

b) A reference to a certain artist.

c) Of course. :-)

Volker Weber, 2005-01-03

I'd say the button should be even bigger and further at the top of the page! (On my 12" PowerBook I have to scroll down to see it ...) ;-)

Great idea, though!

Christian Bogen, 2005-01-03

Ed, the original was a painting of a pipe by René Magritte, entitled (and captioned), "Ceci n'est pas une pipe". Which was true -- it wasn't a pipe, it was a painting. In that sense, Volker's tag line is also true -- while the stuff over in this column may be bloggish, the tag line is not itself a blog. Surreal, eh?

Stan Rogers, 2005-01-03

Walt Mossberg seems to agree with you. :-)

Ulli Mueller, 2005-01-03

Recently I've installed Opera 7.23 for testing purposes (I use Firefox usually).
During configuration I discovered that the Opera default setting for browser identification is "identify as MSIE6.0" !!
Screenshot (56k): opera_browser-id_723.gif
Don't know how many users do not change this to Opera but I suppose a lot do not :-(

Michael Woehrer, 2005-01-03

What you are saying is that there are some Opera users hiding in the IE population. There'd better be because their share is very low. My gut feeling is that Opera is strong in the mobile space and all but gone on the desktop.

Volker Weber, 2005-01-03

That would be me, your lone Opera user! I still prefer it to Firefox. (but Firefox is getting better all the time)

Jens-Christian Fischer, 2005-01-03

@Ed: So did I. And to do so, a Firefox Extension gives me the context menu item "View this page in IE" :-).
I really like Firefox extensions, but I am a little irritated by the ads claiming Firefox to be "the browser you can trust". The extensions are a threat to the trustworthiness of the browser (at least for now) since most of them are unsigned. So far I haven't even seen a single extension from a somehow trustworthy source. Ok, I've installed quite some of them as well, but there are security hazards with that.

Ragnar Schierholz, 2005-01-04

I don't know if you already do it, but i think you should also study visitors coming from your XML/RSS/Atom feeds.

The feed from sites such as Slashdot comes with links like this: (note the from=rss parameter)

So you can track your 'regular' readers and other readers who may come from Bloglines/Feedmania/etc

Denis Fuenzalida, 2005-01-04


"So far I haven't even seen a single extension from a somehow trustworthy source."

The extensions are unsigned but you still have to whitelist the sites you are installing them from. Assuming we can trust Mozilla's network of websites, I feel pretty safe installing extensions distributed through those sites.

We're all in a whole lot of trouble if is not a trustworthy source.

This sounds a bit like the Microsoft guy quoted on slashdot last week that talked about how dangerous it is to install Firefox because it is not signed or downloaded from a trusted sources.

Bob Obringer, 2005-01-04

Axel: IE (Win) is unsafe in a networked world. The software is deeply integrated with the underlying operating system, which was designed for a world of local area networks administered by professional staff. In an inter-networked world the operating system is vulnerable to malicious attack simply by browsing a web page.

Microsoft's attempts to correct the situation are largely based on a concept of 'secure' and 'insecure' zones, which in our world is laughably naive and unworkable.

The browser has had no significant development for the last 3 years, and is in-compliant with a significant number of technical standards. Continued use of the browser by a large segment of the population has encouraged web page designers to use non-standard designs which only work in IE or which target the lowest common denominator, and therefore perpetuate the problem. Microsoft appears to want to use such non-standard approaches to maintain their market position without addressing the needs of interoperability in an inter-networked world. We should not encourage this.

IE's market position has been achieved through methods which both the U.S. and European courts have found to be illegal. Despite the courts' failure to apply meaningful sanctions, we should not encourage this behavior.

The availability of reasonably standards compliant browsers allows web application designers to build much more sophisticated web applications at a much lower cost to develop than IE permits. Such development will be accelerated by broader adoption of modern web browsers. This benefits us all, because functionality improves and support costs are reduced (most of these applications are probably in the business to business realm, but online banking is one retail application that this applies to).

For further insight into any of the above, try developing a web application that runs and looks attractive in Internet Explorer.

From a biased personal perspective, Microsoft Windows is ugly, unproductive, unreliable and exceptionally expensive to maintain over the long run. We should all be using something else, and IE doesn't run on anything else.

David Richardson, 2005-01-04

The standards problems with IE are too many to list here - Quirksmode is a good site to to investigate some of these. Even more troubling than the deficiencies, from the designer's perspective, are the inconsistencies in what is implemented, which lead to very frustrating and expensive development and quality control issues. If you would like some specifics, get in touch with me on Skype or AIM. My ids are in Volker's sidebar list.

Security, however, is the biggest concern.

David Richardson, 2005-01-04

Old archive pages

I explain difficult concepts in simple ways. For free, and for money. Clue procurement and bullshit detection.


Paypal vowe