Firefox : Undisputed winner of browser war The ignition of project Mozilla dates back to mid 1990’s. It all started when Netscape lost the battle with Microsoft over bundling of Internet Explorer browser into Windows. This event marked the end of dominance of Netscape Navigator and it soon started to loose its market share to IE. Netscape released its version 4 in the year 1997 but it was nothing as compared to IE4. It was high time for Netscape to bring something special which could outperform the Microsoft Internet Explorer if they even wish to turn tables around. So, Netscape announced the Mozilla Project in 1998 in which Netscape’s source code was thrown open for developer use. And within six years, a web browser was developed which was not only fast, lightweight but also performed every function better than IE. Yes, this browser is none other than Firefox, previously known as Firebird. Mozilla Firefox, presently the safest browser available, is backed up by huge community of active volunteer coders who have been with them since the time of Netscape halcyon days. The absence of Active X components, which are widely used to install spy wares as in the case of IE users, makes Firefox a safe browsing experience. Also, what clearly demarcates the IE and Firefox is the frequency of updates that the later receives. If vulnerability is found it is corrected and updated within few days or even within few hours whereas IE receives no updates for years! Firefox browser is very light weight in terms of its installation setup which is just above 4.9MB as compared to IE which is around 80 MB. It is available for different platforms like Windows, Mac & Linux and hence is more versatile in usage. Firefox derives its powerful rendering engine “Gecko” from its parent Mozilla products. Its rendering is precise and speedy though it fails Acid 2 test (a standard compliance test for webpage rendering) but still scores well above than IE, which lags at the bottom when rendering is considered. An interesting feature of Firefox is the installation of themes and extensions which makes the browser user customized, a feature which is absent in IE. These themes and extensions are available at the Mozilla and other web developers Websites. The extensions can be added to perform a specific operation for the users such as adblock, Gmail notifier, etc. Another distinguishing feature of Firefox is the tabbed browsing. With Firefox 2 you can open any number of tabs, rearrange the order of tabs and save all the tabs as bookmarks for latter viewing. Firefox tabbed windows are much superior to IE 7 in terms of memory usage. However one feature which is still missing is the thumbnail preview of each tab as available in Opera browser. The latest addition in the inventory of Firefox 2 is the session restore. If you are in the middle of typing a long e-mail and suddenly your system hangs or crashes, then Firefox latest “session restore” feature comes to your aid. It restores all your tabs that were there before the system crashed with all your work intact!
Also, spell check feature, derived from word processor, gives you ability to correct your spelling mistakes online with a click of mouse. The future development of Firefox versions has already been started and version 3 which is likely to pass Acid 2 test is expected to release in June 2008. With this release Firefox is set to show doors to IE legacy.