In the past, I have written about the benefits of reading news that originates from outside the borders of the United States. You get a much more balanced view of things, without the filters that people living in the area tend to put on it. The same thing applies to tech news, as it frequently is much more revealing when not reported by someone who may have an economic benefit to the way they tell their story.
Such is the case with Internet Explorer 9 beta, that came out last week. The writers in the confines of the United States had the possibility of ad dollars, or possibly direct dollars, with favorable reviews of the software.
Everywhere I read news from the usual places, ZDNet, PC Magazine, PC World, Ars Technica, etc., the reviews were glowing and the writers effusive about the benefits of this not yet fully-baked item from the halls of Redmond.
Now, I will say that it looks like Microsoft has outdone itself, based upon previous efforts. However, the beta, when viewed against the best offered from other manufacturers, is only mid-field at best, and has had several large flaws pointed out.
While we remember that it is a beta, we should also stack it up against the stark reality of daylight, which puts it in a light much brighter and less flattering than that of some of the usual writers with a pro-Microsoft bias.
The one thing that immediately got me was the way that many gushed about the interface, as if it had been a gift from God, with the code sent on tablets similar to the ones Moses saw.
That just is not the case, and instead of lauding the efforts of Microsoft, and forgetting that it is a nick from Opera, by way of Chrome, the many writers on this side of the pond went on and on about the clean lines, the spare look, and never once acknowledged the originator of many of the features. From what I can see, the only thing not originated by Opera’s dev team is the combined use bar, which Microsoft nicked from Chrome, and chooses to call the “One Bar”.
The very day of release, we got a much different view from Tech Radar, which attributes the interface changes correctly, unlike every one of the reviews from over here.
So, what makes IE9 so good? It’s the user interface that is the most obvious improvement, with Microsoft actually making good on its suggestion that people come to the theatre to watch the play.
Gone are the embellishments, the menu bars, the search box, the in-your-face options – with the replacements aping Chrome just as Chrome aped Opera. The UI is simple, stark, clean and a county mile better than its predecessor.
Of course it take cues from its rivals, but people have come to expect tabs, a unified search/URL bar (which Microsoft terms ‘one box’) and, we’d prefer to see adoption of something that clearly works.
Clunky though they may be at times, add-ons cannot be ignored. And although we demurred at the first glimpse of a warning dialogue from the new add-on performance manager that told us a tool bar was slowing down the browser, Microsoft explained that this will only appear when an add on is significantly affecting performance.
This will default to 0.2 seconds, and once you ignore a warning it will not remind you again until a new problem arises.
So yes, let’s give Internet Explorer 9 a chance, and let’s give credit where due, but then…that is the point, let’s give credit where due, and perhaps then we won’t have to look across the ocean to read an unbiased view of what comes from this continent.
Download Opera – A faster and more secure Web browser.
I try to be fair, but I am biased. My biases come from long usage, and careful study – I like what makes sense, and what works logically.