The learning curve to switch to Firefox from IE6
December 9, 2006 8:12 PM   Subscribe

How much work will it take me to change from IE6 to Firefox? Looking at the list of problems in AMF, should a person not highly computer literate make the change? I use XP and have MS office installed and am now learning to write web pages -- CSS, HTML, Java.. Thanks in advance for your advice.
posted by orlin to Computers & Internet (25 answers total)
It took me about five minutes to install Firefox. A five year old could do it. Never had a problem and never used IE again.

Now as far as differences in HTML and CSS compatibility issues, I have no idea.
posted by DieHipsterDie at 8:21 PM on December 9, 2006

You can have both IE and Firefox running on your computer, so why don't you install Firefox and just try it out for a while?
(It's pretty simple, though, and I'm sure you'll figure it out fast enough, but if you're not sure, leave IE installed just in case!)
posted by easternblot at 8:21 PM on December 9, 2006

if you are a person learning to write css, html, java etc..., then the last thing you should be worried about is changing to firefox.

go here and the site will help you out. any fears you might have of switching browsers will be remedied by all the wonderful FAQ pages....
posted by localhuman at 8:30 PM on December 9, 2006

I gave my average-user friend a setup file for firefox the other day, because she upgraded to IE7 and that fucked up. She ran the setup herself, and is now using it with no problems despite never having heard of firefox before.

Derail: when she auto-updated to IE7, it started with no menus available and kept telling her to 'enable addons'. Anyone else seen that?
posted by jacalata at 8:30 PM on December 9, 2006

It should take only a few minutes to install and import your old bookmarks. If you're comfortable writing web pages, installing Firefox isn't no problem.
posted by nomadicink at 8:32 PM on December 9, 2006

If you're doing Web design and coding, you need Firefox on your computer anyway, for testing purposes. While you're testing, you'll be able to get a good feel as to how difficult migration might be.
posted by Mikey-San at 8:33 PM on December 9, 2006

Switching from Explorer to Firefox, explained by Firefox doodz. It's really easy. My grandfather did it. He was born in 1926.
posted by billtron at 8:35 PM on December 9, 2006

I honestly don't understand why anyone would still want to use IE.
posted by DieHipsterDie at 8:44 PM on December 9, 2006

"I honestly don't understand why anyone would still want to use IE."

- Some people don't like other people telling them what to do. They fail to realize Microsoft is telling them to use IE. The attitude of many people that only "idiots" use IE still, offends many people, and makes them distrust the person advocating Firefox.

- It's new and scary. They like the look and feel of IE. Just because you and I like Firefox doesn't mean everyone wants to learn something new. Some people like having 10 windows open instead of tabs.

- They don't know there are other browsers. They don't know about the security risks, the features of add-ons, etc.

- Many sites do not work in Firefox. They might not want to have to switch back and forth when their bank site won't open in Firefox. IEtab fixes this problem, but again, people don't know or care.
posted by jesirose at 8:52 PM on December 9, 2006

if you are a person learning to write css, html, java etc..., then the last thing you should be worried about is changing to firefox.

... unless you're interested in not writing horrible hacky CSS to get around bugs not present in browsers with a working box model. Yes, you need Firefox to test your pages, and it wouldn't hurt to install Opera as well, and having friends with Macs is also handy for testing.
posted by Tuwa at 8:52 PM on December 9, 2006

PS: OP - try Opera, Flock, and a few others as well, for testing at least. Firefox is not the only "other" browser out there ;)
posted by jesirose at 8:52 PM on December 9, 2006

Tuwa: localhuman was telling them to switch. They were saying you shouldn't worry, just do it!
posted by jesirose at 8:53 PM on December 9, 2006

Switching to firefox is simple, as has already been noted. A five-minute installation. It'll take longer to find the right browser extensions (plugins) that will make Firefox the perfect browser for your particular tastes, but even out of the box it's a fine program.

However, in terms of learning web design, Firefox and Internet Explorer (and all other browsers) render HTML, CSS and Javascript differently, and this creates significant issues. It's actually something of a nightmare. Quirks Mode is the go-to resource for fixing these issues.. go ahead and bookmark it now.

If you intend to learn HTML and CSS, I would learn them on Firefox (meaning, use this browser to test your pages first), because you will learn the more (though not completely) "standard" way to do things. If you use Firefox, you'll also have access to the Web Developer Toolbar, which is a very, very helpful extension (check out the Edit Css feature... so useful!).

For javascript, you're still better off using Firefox, because Internet Explorer has basically no helpful ways to debug javascript that I'm aware of.

Best of luck
posted by Hildago at 8:54 PM on December 9, 2006

i vociferously agree with diehipsterdie. from here (website admittedly sucks) this stat is interesting:

Google Fights

Why does Internet Explorer crash all the time? - 2.57 million results


Why does Firefox crash all the time? - 218,000 results
posted by localhuman at 8:57 PM on December 9, 2006

Ah yes, jesirose, I completely misread that comment. Sorry about that, localhuman.

Hildago, IE 5.0 has helped me occasionally with Javascript: if your script is broken it will tell you the line the error occurred on. Of course there's an extension for Firefox that does the same thing, though I have no experience with it.
posted by Tuwa at 9:26 PM on December 9, 2006

It's a very easy transition. It's obvious that the Firefox developers worked hard to make it so. They knew they had to win over IE users. I think you will install it, find it super easy, and never look back.
posted by scarabic at 9:40 PM on December 9, 2006

The Web Developer Toolbar is indeed a mighty fine tool.

But Firebug makes the baby jeebus web developers cry (with joy, in case that part wasn't clear).
posted by nakedcodemonkey at 9:45 PM on December 9, 2006

Switch right away. Then download and install the "IE View" extension, which adds a nice context menu to launch the current page on IE. This way, you can fell safe as IE will be just a right-click away.
posted by nkyad at 10:40 PM on December 9, 2006

And as Hidalgo and nakedcodemonkey pointed above, I don't know how anyone can live without the Web Developer Toolbar.
posted by nkyad at 10:42 PM on December 9, 2006

i had been under the assumption that mefi didn't even support ie. guess i'm wrong...
posted by weary at 12:13 AM on December 10, 2006


The menus are auto-hidden by design. Most of the common functionality was moved to the toolbar. The menus will appear if you press and release the ALT button, or if you right click the toolbars and enable the menus again.

As for what she was seeing with regard to "enabling add-ons" It generally prompts to enable the Phishing filter on first run, so it could be that. If the prompt is in the form of the yellow Information Bar at the top, it is likely her homepage has an ActiveX control that is being consider unsafe to some degree, and it is asking for permission to instantiate and run the control.

An example is msxml 5.0. The Info Bar appears because the control is not signed. (It wasn't signed because it shipped with Office and was not meant to be used by websites.)
posted by jeffamaphone at 3:32 AM on December 10, 2006

WOW -- thanks to all for your advice to everyone ! Firefox is a done deal...
posted by orlin at 3:10 PM on December 10, 2006

thanks jeffamaphone: she's happy with firefox now, but I wanted to know what was going on anyway :)
posted by jacalata at 4:52 PM on December 10, 2006

I successfully switched to firefox and did have some problems trying copy / paste in the application while using my e-mail although with some searching of the help section was able to fix it. I am happy with firefox -- thanks to all -- very nice indeed !
posted by orlin at 6:18 AM on December 11, 2006

Scarabic: Dunno if it's just my system, but the line numbers IE reports in its errors are usually (always) incorrect.

I use Firebug for debugging javascript, by the way.. forgot to link that in my first post.
posted by Hildago at 8:03 PM on December 11, 2006

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