There was a time when, to developers at least, the mention of Windows Explorer brought on the cold chills. Those days are over. The new Windows Explorer 9 is now something to be proud of.
For years Windows Explorer has gotten, and for good reason, the worst of criticism. Especially from developers and web designers. With it’s lack of standards compatibility and it’s sluggish speed it sometimes drove us mad.
Even though Explorer had the majority of the browser market, the web world was not happy. If you spent any sort of time on the internet, you would have probably downloaded Firefox or Chrome.
But fear not my fair friend. Internet Explorer has risen from the dead and has come back from the holy land to take back what was once its kingdom.
I’ve been using Internet Explorer for some time now. I must say I really like what I see.
Overhearing a few conversations though has got me worried. There are still people out there who distrust Microsoft so much, that they blindly discard Internet explorer to the bin without even a simple effort to try it out.
There is a lot that Internet explorer has got right.
- Standards – Internet Explorer developers have paid close attention to standards. Especially HTML 5. Once a party joke but now a serious browser. To see how internet explorer makes use of HTML 5 go to Beautify the web, and take your browser for a test drive.
- Pined Sites – I like this. Do you have a real favourite site above all other. If so, then just drag the site or page icon to your Windows Task Bar. Viola, your favourite site is now close at hand and just a click away.
- Add on warnings – To help with performance improvements. Internet Explorer 9 keeps a steady eye on your add-ons. If an add on takes a long time then a warning box will appear giving you the choice to disable that add-on. The thresholds time can be set, but I believe that it is currently defaulted to about 0.25 seconds.
- More viewing space – One evil trap of Firefox is its ability to have so many add-ons. Not that add-ons are bad, but after a while of collecting usable add-ons, I have found that my viewing has shrunk. Too many toolbars have taken over the viewable area. The new Internet Explorer has taken a page from the Chrome book and minimised the toolbar area. Giving you more space to do what you were meant to do. That is browse.
- The One Box – Another neat idea taken from the Chrome stable. A single text box where you can do your internet searches as well as enter in your website URL. A combined search and address bar makes life so much simpler.
- Download manager – The new improved download manager is also impressive. Internet Explorer’s Download Manager keeps a running list of the files you download from the Internet, notifies you if a file could be malicious, and allows you to pause and restart a download. What I liked the most was it’s security. You don’t want to be downloading malicious files to your PC. Coupled with Microsoft’s Free Security suite, You will be well protected.
I suppose the biggest disappointment about Internet Explorer 9 is that it is aimed at Vista and Windows 7 users. Older XP faithfuls will have to stick with Internet Explorer 8.
I know that XP is no longer considered a supportable OS, but there are still many people who still use XP. Failure to support those users with IE 9 just means that they are now free game for the competition.
Should you use it?
My answer is definitely a yes. Even if you are a registered Internet Explorer sceptic. Give it a try, you will be surprised. Don’t knock something unless you have actually tried it. But from what I have seen thus far, there is not much that one can be disappointed about with Internet Explorer 9. Disappointment for XP users. But hey, it is three generations back.