Reducing Browser Cognitive Dissonance

Do you suffer from cognitive dissonance related to the software you use to do your daily work? Are you constantly wondering if you have made the right selection or if there is something better out there? I do, but maybe its just my obsessive compulsive self coming through.

In particular I’ve been wondering if Firefox, my longtime choice in browsers, might have been eclipsed by IE 7. IE 7 especially running on Vista, is touted as secure and supporting many of the features those of us in the Firefox world say are necessary for a decent browser including tabbed browsing.

So I set aside a week to do my web work exclusively in IE7. Here’s what I found.

The Good

  • Its a good looking browser that fits well in the Vista scheme of things.
  • As usual, everything that’s supposed to be integrated with the browser works and works smoothly such as playing windows videos.
  • IE7 Pro is an addon that gives IE7 ad blocking just like Adblock Plus (you can even run filterset.g), flash blocking if you want it, the ability to run greasemonkey scripts, and all sorts of other neat stuff that brings IE7 to nearly par with Firefox.

The Bad

  • You can’t configure the interface, which has changed substantially from IE6. As I noted in this post, Microsoft seems to be waging an Applesque war to keep us from configuring the interface to suit our individual tastes. The only thing you can configure is whether the file menu and links bar are on and which icons appear on the command bar. Pretty pathetic.
  • When Firefox runs across a certificate it doesn’t like you have the option to accept it permanently, just for the session or reject it totally. Not so with IE7. You can use the certificate for the session but the explorer bar turns red and displays a warning message about the certificate. And it can’t be turned off. I never could figure out how to import my self signed certificates from my Linux servers so that they ran without warnings.

All in all IE7 appears to be a capable browser, when improved with IE7 Pro, if you don’t mind the way the menu’s are laid out and if you don’t use self signed certificates such as you may run into with your company web email interface. Since those things bother me a lot and I’m still not convinced its as secure as Firefox, I’m sticking with Firefox.