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Aug 7, 2008

Firefox: the Dominant Browser of Choice

Official stats put Internet Explorer well in the lead in the browser wars, but that's mainly because most computers are sold with windows installed, which means that they get IE by default. A large majority of these people never even know that they have a choice in browsers. Among the people who are tech savvy enough to make a choice I believe people are overwhelmingly choosing Firefox. In support of this, here are some stats provided by Google Analytics about my site.

Notice Firefox's dramatic lead. People reading technical blogs are people empowered to make a choice and those people are overwhelmingly choosing Firefox.

So why Firefox? In a word, extensibility. Firefox was built with user added functionality in mind and lots of very talented people are very busy extending it. Firefox has hundreds of plugins for all sorts of things, one of them is bound to be right up your alley.

As a web developer the Firebug and YSlow plug-ins are a must. The added productivity and quality that these tools provide make the decision to design your site to support for Firefox a no brainier.

  • Analyze your sites performance
  • Monitor ajax http requests
  • Debug javascript
  • Syntax check your javascript
  • Drill into the DOM realtime
  • Make temporary changes to HTML, Javascript and CSS realtime to work out what if's

That last feature is really cool. Imagine sitting down with someone who is approving your site design and having them comment that they wish the font was a little bigger. You jump into the css and two seconds later it is. Image too small, spacing wrong? Zippity zip... "There hows that?". Keep a notepad handy because the changes can't persist, but that also means you can freely tweek things without fear of messing something up (just refresh the screen).