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My favorite browser

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Okay, I'm now officially happy with my browser. One thing I like about my Firefox setup is that everything's shoved up near the top, so I get as much stuff as possible on the screen. Here's my browser-top:



It's a bit squished, but everything I like is there. Gamedev gets its own button because I camp there a lot. The buttons on the far right are for Google Toolbar's spell-checker and form-filler, both of which fill me with much love.

Only problem is that it's Firefox, and there are a couple of sites that Firefox just doesn't like, specifically ActiveX-requiring sites like Microsoft Update and Popcap Games. Normally I'd launch IE for those sites, but I just got the updated IE Tab that makes that unnecessary. IE Tab has been around for a bit, but it's completely seamless now.

What it does is replace Firefox's page-rendering engine with IE's for sites you specify. If I, for example, wanna check for Windows updates or play a game of Chuzzle, I can just launch the bookmark in Firefox and those pages will work because they're actually being secretly rendered with IE in Firefox's client space. Apart from a little IE icon in the address bar, you wouldn't even know it's doing that.

I'm only saying this because I tried out the new IE7 beta. While the page rendering looks good and is fast and fixes old problems of the past (like PNG display), the new toolbars and address bars and tab-bars take up way too much space, and there's not a good way to combine things into one space-saving bar (see above). With this little combo, though, I now get the best of all worlds --the toolbar and tabs the way I like, and the ability to browse any danged site I want without having to switch browsers from time to time.

IIRC, this was an early plan for IE. They were planning to bust the whole thing up into modules rather than one monolithic rendering engine, plugin-izing every piece that's rendered. If someone added a new sub-format to PNG, for example, adding support to the browser's rendering engine would be as simple as replacing the PNG plugin rather than waiting for an update to the rendering engine.


I think that was also the plan for Apple's "Cyberdog".

Of course, that didn't happen. MS stuck with the monolithic rendering engine, the other browser companies kept that model as well, and Cyberdog was abandoned about eight seconds after it was released.
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