Internet Explorer turns 18

The Windows Club wishes “A Very Happy Birthday to Internet Explorer”. Today, August 16, 2013 marks the 18th birthday of Microsoft’s much loved and sometimes hated web browser Internet Explorer. Internet Explorer turns 18 today. The first version of Internet Explorer i.e., IE 1 was officially launched 18 years ago on August 16, 1995.

We have come a long way, tweeted IE.IE TURNS 18

After seeing many ups and downs over the years, Internet Explorer has regularly given its most advanced version to the web. While last few versions of Internet Explorer came up with dramatic improvements, IE Version 6 made it one of the most reviled browsers worldwide with its countless security issues.

The first version of Internet Explorer was based on Mosaic which was Microsoft’s web browsers licensed from Spyglass Inc. The market share of IE increased dramatically when IE 3.0 came along with Windows smothering the web browser Netscape which was the leading web browser then.

The market dominance of Internet Explorer started declining in 2004 with the inception of Netscape’s completely morphed version Firefox. It came as an open source free web browser and gained immense popularity oppressing the problematic and plagued IE 6.

After a couple of years Microsoft again started working on functionality of Internet Explorer and launched IE 7 with too many bug fixes and functional improvements. IE 7 came with many new features and impressive stability and security. Since then things have been only getting better with every version, with Internet Explorer being now considered to be among the fastest and most secure browsers for Windows.

Internet Explorer 11 will arrive with Windows 8.1.

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Shiwangi Peswani is a qualified writer and a blogger, who loves to dabble with and write about computers and the Internet. While focusing on and writing on technology topics, her varied skills and experience enables her to write on any topics which may interest her.

4 Comments

  1. Caleb

    But what do you think of IE10 now?

  2. Gregg L. DesElms

    Good question, Caleb. Thanks for asking.

    IE10 is, of course, the best IE version to date. It started-out Win8 only, but I’m grateful that it now runs on Win7; too bad it won’t run on Vista. It’s fine that it won’t run on XP.

    I’m not wild about the IE interface changes in Win8 — specifically having the menu bar at the bottom — but am grateful that IE10 looks and feels basically the same as always in Win7. That said, since Win8’s optimized for touch screen, maybe the interface change in it makes sense… I dunno. I know that IE10’s more touch-screen “ready,” for lack of a better word, than is Chrome… although that’s changing fast…

    …though, weirdly, Google’s implementing at least some of that change through changes to its websites (rather than the Chrome browser), like the scripted scrollers with no arrow buttons at the ends, for example: an odd approach given that it only works on Google sites (or the sites of others who like what Google’s doing, and so have implemented the scripted scrollers on their sites, too). But now I digress. Sorry.

    IE10’s tab handling is interesting, though much of it is from IE9; the pinned site feature is cool; OneBox is nice, though lacking Google Instant (which I, for one, hate, anyway).

    Add-ons/extensions are better than ever in IE10, including a feature to notify you of lagging ones that are slowing things down. What you can do from the star icon is enhanced, and that’s cool.

    Though IE has always been a problem with respect to security and privacy, it’s better now, than ever. Microsoft is taking at least that more seriously than ever before. It’s protection against phishing, for example, is finally better than Chrome’s (though still not as good as Opera’s; and Firefox, in that regard… ha!… what a joke); and In independent testing, IE10 detects malicious downloads better than IE ever has.. Other common exploits are quite nicely protected against in IE10, though no computer should be without a good firewall, anti-virus, any-spyware, Hosts Intrusion Protection (HIPS), ad-blocking, anti-tracking, and preferably a pre-configured HOSTS file managed by something like HostsMan. In IE’s case, there’s also an anti-malware registry “innoculator” out there — Spyware Blaster, by Brightfort (formerly Javacool) — that’s not well understood, but adds another interesting layer of protection… and it’s free. In any case, allowing the browser — any browser — to be the sole protection against all that’s bad out there is just dumb. Other things, such as I’ve just mentioned, are needed.

    With the recent Java security issues, it’s nice that IE10 so well manages Java, warning of its launch, detecting insecurities and out-of-date Java versions, and even blocking out-of-data Java until it’s updated, if desired. Were that Microsoft cared as much about its OWN insecurities. Okay, that was a cheap shot. Sorry.

    IE10’s built-in “Do Not Track” feature is nice, as well as is its ability to use such as EasyList for ad and other malicious item blocking… though some of that has been in IE since before version 10. Ad-Blocker-Plus, Ghostery, and Do-Not-Track-Me also provide those services and features… and do it better, and are easier to configure and maintain. Chrome has it over IE10 in its built-in Adobe Flash and PDF-reading capability; but I’ve never really seen that as a problem since it’s so easy to add those things to IE10… and, in fact, I, for one, have abandoned original Adobe PDF reader in favor of Nitro, which is superior in every way, in my opinion.

    IE10 is allegedly 20% faster, overall, than all previous IE versions. I do notice a faster initial start-up, but independent testing doesn’t support that it’s THAT much faster, once running, than previous IE versions; and especially than Chrome.

    I’m dubious of many of the speed tests out there… especially ones that favor one engine or another… Google’s Octane, for example, which measures Javascript performance, and in which Chrome always trounces IE. Conversely, the venerable (but long-in-the-tooth) SunSpider nearly always shows IE trouncing Chrome. That’s why I like to stick with Futuremark’s vendor-neutral Peacekeeper. In that, Chrome fairly out-does IE10. However, on the very new (and so not quite yet fully trusted, but increasingly used for testing by programmers writing web apps) RoboHornet, designed to detect browser stress points, IE10 actually edges-out Chrome. Generally speaking, though, IE10’s speed with regard to initial start-up, page-loads and graphics renderings are impressive, indeed. It’s actually noticeable without benchmarking. The problem is that Google noticed, too, and its most recent Chrome versions are faster than ever.

    Of course, the most important thing is compliance with web standards… where IE has not always shined, where Chrome has, and where I suspect is your greatest interest, Caleb, since my initial posting, here, lamented IE’s long history of ignoring standards, and that’s what prompted you to ask what I now think of IE10. Some argue that speed is king, but I have always said that most users will happily wait milliseconds to seconds longer if they know that what they’re going to see when the browser’s finished painting the screen will look right and behave correctly. I defy anyone to prove me wrong on THAT one.

    With regard to such standards as HTML5, CSS3, and Document Object Model (DOM) specifications, on the HTML5 test site, Chrome scores a bit higher than IE10; but IE10 finally (and impressively) scores 100% on WebKit’s Acid3 test. IE’s failure of that, in the past, has always really hurt it… especially for the standards-minded. So, that’s nice for IE10. In fact, it’s weird, given IE’s history, to be able to point-out that IE10 is the one, between it and Chrome, that’s sticking closer to W3C standards. It is Chrome, then, that can’t wait for HTML5 to standardize, and is offering-up its own SPDY, a Speech API, and the GetUserMedia function so that, for example, webcam and/or mic may be accessed without the Adobe Flash plugin.

    One big determinate of which browser to use, for me, though, has to do with my standardizing on the Android platform for my phone… actually, my “phablet” (a Samsung Galaxy Note II / SGH-i317 / AT&T). Despite my decrying Microsoft and IE in my initial post, here, I was, for the longest time, starting with IE5 until sometime during my use of IE9, a nearly exclusively IE user. I only kept Chrome and Firefox on my machine for moments when only they would do. So do not misinterpret my initial criticism for anti-IE sentiment. However, weirdly, once one buys-in to the whole Android thing on one’s mobile device, one finds oneself gravitating toward Chrome… almost irresistibly. Android loves Google apps; Googe apps love Chrome; Chome-2-phone and Phone-2-Chrome and, especially, Cloud print…

    …well, those just about tip it in. Next thing you know, you’re using Chrome instead of IE as your default browser…

    …which I confess I resisted like the plague… at least at first. In time, though, I began to prefer Chrome…

    …er… well… wait, that’s technically incorrect. I hate how Google violates everyone’s privacy with Chrome… from installation ID, to collection of what one types in the omnibox in order to provide search suggestions, to alternate error pages, to error reporting, to RLZ tracking, to Google Updater, to URL tracking, and more, Google wants to know way too much about me, my Internet activities, and what’s on my computer for my tastes.

    So, in order to still have the Android integration and connectivity, and Google app compatibility, that I want I use SR Ware’s IRON browser (portable version), which is a Chromium browser, just like Chrome, and kept as up-to-date as Chrome, but without all of Chrome’s privacy-violating crap.

    I, of course, also keep both IE and Firfox on my computer, too; but it has now gotten to the point that I only use those two others whenever I hit a site that isn’t Chrome friendly, just like I used to only use either Chrome or Firefox whenever I’d hit a site that’s not IE friendly…

    …speaking of which, another nice aspect of IE10: Several websites out there in the world which are built by IE-haters (and so contain a script which detects if the browser is IE and, if it is, displays a nasty “go get a REAL browser” type of message) may still be accessed with IE10… which is interesting.

    So, bottom line, with IE still owning between 55% and 60% of the browser market, it remains the standard; and anyone developing websites makes sure that their sites will render properly in IE. That alone, coupled with whatever positive things I’ve herein written about it, is reason enough to make IE10 your default browser. It’s definitely the best IE version ever.

    Whether IE10’s the best browser, though… hmmm… I dunno. Chrome kicks some serious butt, as browsers go; and anyone who agrees, but uses SR Ware’s IRON browser, instead, gets the best of what the Chromium platform — including every single feature of Chrome — has to offer, but without the privacy violations. Android users, especially, are probably going to find the irresistable. I, personally, also find the way Chrome looks and behaves to be better than IE… but I’ve felt that way since sometime during IE8, for whatever that’s worth; and IE10’s slimmed-down interface, while it does, indeed, better get out of the way of the web page, itself, actually hampers control… especially once one gets used to Chrome’s(Iron’s) bookmark bar.

    And speaking of bookmarks, while I appreciate IE’s making each one (called a “Favorite”) its own separate file, and the inherent ease of managing Favorites, even from Windows Explorer, it turns out that once one accumulates as many Favorites over the years as I have, one really needs a bona fide database in order to actually find anything — at least with any speed — among one’s IE Favorites. Chrome’s bookmarking system, then, actually becomes better for bookmark management purposes, once one has a gabazillion of them, like I do. That, I confess, came as a pleasant surprise once I moved over to Chrome(Iron).

    So, though I appreciate IE10 better than almost any other version (though, honestly IE5 was pretty amazing in its day), I now prefer Chrome(Iron)…

    …and the funny thing is that not even… what… maybe two-and-a-half to three years ago, there was nothing in the world that could ever have convinced me that I’d ever say or write that.

    It’s funny how things work out in life, isn’t it. [grin]

    Bottom line: Android mobile device users should adopt Chrome (preferably SR Ware’s IRON, instead) on their Windows notebook and/or desktop machines (but, ironically, not also on their Android mobile devices… Chrome’s just not ready for primetime yet, there); and Win8 mobile device users should definitely use IE10 on both their Wiin8 mobile devices (be they phones or tablets), and on their Win7 and (especially) Win8 notebook and/or desktop devices…

    …or so, at least, it is my opinion.

    Hope that helps!

    ___________________________
    Gregg L. DesElms
    Napa, California USA
    gregg at greggdeselms dot com

  3. Ben

    Wow, it’s hard to believe that IE has been around that long!! I was just a kid when this thing started. Truth is, I switched to chrome, and chrome based long ago (anything from torch browser to coolnovo these days) but I’ll always think back to IE (and netscape) as the beginning of it in my mind.

  4. I switched back to Internet Explorer as my default browser after IE10 was released. 🙂

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