Geeks With Blogs
Craig Utley Somniferous Bloviations

Like almost everyone else using Windows from Windows 95 to XP, I found Internet Explorer to be the browser of choice. I didn’t really want anything else, as it just worked for me and I was content. Finally a friend convinced me to try Firefox about 18 months ago, and the tabs hooked me almost immediately. I once heard someone describe the tabs as, “Okay, I guess,” but I find them to be incredibly productive. On a single page, I often right-click on numerous links and choose “Open in New Tab”, and then go browse those tabs at my leisure.


I’ve been using IE 7 beta 3 (and before that, beta 2) and I’m happy with the tabbed browsing. In fact, I’m happy with a lot of things. However, there are things that Firefox does that I miss. So here are a few of the features I find beneficial, and how they’re handled.



In my opinion, IE 7 wins. IE might not have been the first with tabs, but it is doing them better. The reason I think IE 7 tabs are better boils down to a couple of features. First, I love having the close button (the little x) on the tab itself, rather than far off to the right as Firefox does it. I never realized how unproductive it was to have that x way off to the right. However, when I am in Firefox now I find myself on a tab way to the left, and having to go all the way to the right to close it. In IE 7, the x is on the tab itself. It couldn’t be easier.


Also, I like that there is always a blank tab showing in IE 7. In Firefox, I either have to press Ctrl+T or click File, New Tab in order to open a tab. In IE 7, I click on the blank tab (just to the right of the right-most tab) and I have a new tab ready to go. It may sound minor, but once you get used to it in IE 7, you’ll miss it in Firefox.


Tabs in IE7:  The tabs in IE 7

Tabs in Firefox:



Firefox wins this one. I like having the Find area appear on the browser instead of as a pop up window. This is just personal preference and if you like it as a standalone window, that’s fine. I also like that the Firefox find searches while you type, rather than forcing you to type your string and then click a Previous or Next button.


Find in IE7:



Find in Firefox:


Phishing Filter

The phishing filter in IE 7 has worked well for me in my limited testing. When I get emails that I know are phishing, such as problems with “my account” from banks where I don’t have an account, I click on the link to see what IE 7 tells me. So far, it’s caught them all. I appreciate that.


One thing I find odd is that in IE 7 beta 3, the phishing filter is off by default when you do an installation. I believe it should be on by default, and there’s time to change this before IE 7 is released.


This is in no way the opinion of Microsoft Corporation; it is my opinion only.

Posted on Tuesday, July 18, 2006 8:08 PM General Technology | Back to top

Comments on this post: Internet Explorer 7 (beta 3) vs. Firefox 1.5 – Three of My Favorite Features

# re: Internet Explorer 7 (beta 3) vs. Firefox 1.5 – Three of My Favorite Features
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Thanks for the great comparison.
When I saw the title of your post, my first thought was that you were going to be downing Firefox. As an avid Firefox user, I was glad to see your balanced opinion.

I personally do not use tabs, as a Mac user I find it much easier to have multiple windows open and use expose to shuffle between them all. But from your review, I can definitely see how IE7's tabs are cleaner than Firefox's.

keep up the good blogging, and welcome to GWB.
Left by Jason Whitehorn on Jul 19, 2006 5:11 AM

# re: Internet Explorer 7 (beta 3) vs. Firefox 1.5 – Three of My Favorite Features
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In Firefox 1.5, you can create new tab by double clicking on the empty space next to the tab.

In Firefox 2.0 Beta 1, you get close button (x) for each tab. Even better than IE is, it's configurable via about:config.

1. You can choose show the X button for every tab.
2. You can choose show the X button only for current tab ( this option I like)
3. Keep the tab on the right hand side (just like Firefox 1.5)

BTW, you are comparing Apples and Oranges. Compare Firefox 2.0 Beta 1 with Internet Explorer 7.0 Beta 3.
Left by Kant on Jul 19, 2006 10:24 AM

# re: Internet Explorer 7 (beta 3) vs. Firefox 1.5 – Three of My Favorite Features
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Kant, you are correct that you can double-click in an empty space in Firefox 1.5 and get a blank tab, but ONLY if you already have tabs open. That just isn't as convenient as having the blank tab already there. (Not to mention that double-clicking somehwere that has NO indication that it will do anything is a curious UI design. And the same thing happens in IE 7, by the way.)

As for Firefox 2.0 beta 1, I didn't realize it was out. I have no doubt it will add significant improvements and leapfrog over IE. That's a good thing; it's only when two or more strong products are competing that we all get better applications.

As for comparing Firefox 2.0 vs. IE 7, that's a great idea for another blog post. Kant, I leave that you!
Left by Craig Utley on Jul 20, 2006 6:37 AM

# Firefox = Your choice
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All the other comments about all this about:config stuff is annoying and confusing. To always show the tab bar (my personal preference), just go Tools->Options->Tabs and select "Always show the tab bar". That way, a simple double-click in the blank space will open a new tab. And as mentioned, the x on each tab is the default in FF2.0. I'd reccomend the TabMixPlus extension if you want more control over how it works.
Left by Joel on Nov 03, 2007 7:32 AM

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