If web browsers were cars

This came from one of our readers.  It originated on the site of Regina Web Services.


If Web Browsers Were Cars…

IE6: original VW Beetle: at the time of launch it was the browser.  Netscape Navigator was dead, Mozilla Suite was too bloated and slow to get anything done in a reasonable amount of time, development of Firefox as a stand-alone browser had not yet begun, and there was no other legitimate competitor on Windows (Sun Hot Java anyone?). It was unique — ie: didn’t follow CSS web standards — but then again CSS wasn’t popular in the same way it is now. And because IE6 held the overwhelming majority of market share and there was a lack of viable competition MSFT quit innovating (there was also some in-fighting at MSFT between the Trident team (IE) and the Office team which caused development of IE to stall for a few years… oh and they had the Longhorn/Vista debacle in progress). Like the Beetle, IE6 was a great at it’s launch, and like the Beetle, it was never really updated while the competition innovated, hustled, and roared right by them.

IE7: Yugo pickup (okay, there never was such a thing, but bear with me here) – able to render either IE6 native mode or semi-standards-compliant IE7 mode and smart enough to detect which and switch to that mode… except that the auto-detection never worked and the browser locked up in either mode.  The worst browser in the IE series since version 3.

IE8: Dodge Neon – surprisingly good for a Microsoft browser when it launched. Well, surprising that MSFT corrected the downward slide and didn’t make a browser that was worse than the previous one as they had with IE7. While an improvement, IE8 was still unstable and prone to schizophrenic performance. Auto-detection of IE-mode and standards-compliant mode still didn’t work (I think it was turned off and defaulted to standards-compliant) but as designers defaulted to writing standards compliance sites IE8 gave the illusion of working more than it was failing.

Firefox: military Humvee – you can attach just about any plug-in or extension, it works on almost every operating system ever created or imagined, handles almost every website (even horribly mis-coded ones), is rugged, not terribly fast but gets the job done almost all the time (and blows up so spectacularly when it does fail that you don’t mind the inconvenience of having to start over).  Still the go-to browser for several specialty plug-ins like Firebug, Web Developer, downloading flash videos, and more.

Chrome: Formula One racer – fast, agile, decked out with lots of options (via extensions), but finicky at times which can be really annoying. Never fear though: just wait a couple days and the engineers at Google will release a new version with the annoying parts totally re-coded and rock-solid. A joy to use and mostly stable (though the fade-to-white crashes are rather un-Googlesque and lacking in flair).  Probably the best browser available on Windows and Mac OS X at this time.

IE9: Chevy Malibu – it’s finally catching up with the better competition and is a fine browser but missing the bells and whistles of the competition. Nobody is complaining about it though because it’s so much better than previous versions of IE.  If you’re a long-suffering user of Internet Explorer then using IE9 for the fist time is like the day your abusive step-father found religion and stopped beating you. Life may not be perfect, but it’s a huge improvement over what it used to be.

Apple Safari: Tesla Roadster – a great browser… but who cares?  Same fast, stable, KHTML-derived WebKit rending engine as Chrome but without the extensions ecosystem. On Mac OS X Safari is what IE should have always been: a reliable, no frills web browser that serves up web content and that’s it.  On Windows it’s a fish out of water. On Mars. Trying to communicate with the natives in Chinese… what’s the point again?

IE10: Hydrogen powered, 75 mpg, Honda NSX with all-wheel drive, room for 12 passengers, six-ton towing capacity, and telepathic navigational input – it promises to be all things to all users (like lots of MSFT products) and will never materialize as promised. Instead we’ll get a mildly improved IE9 with a 3% more standards compliance, a slightly faster javascript engine, native-mode Silverlight engine (awesome for the 0.01% of people who rely in this).  In car terms it will be a Ford Focus: a nice subcompact car with decent performance and style, but still just frill-free basic transportation… which for non-browser-snobs is enough.
ntegration or opposition, culture was constructed.”

He adds:

With the advent of the electronic book, how is this function exercised? How is the authenticity of a text of the Word of God, of the prayers of the Church or the Catechism guaranteed? The written word, guarded by the Church, needs to be transmitted in all of its purity to future generations. Decisive steps are now needed to clarify how to provide this service to the truth in an electronic universe.

I’m still waiting for my Bugatti, Veyron.  I’d settle for a browser that did it all and didn’t hog resources.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in Lighter fare and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. davidbusher says:

    I would be great to see some wordpress stats as to the browser viewing habits of the readers in the future!! See how good my car is (Mix of Chrome and Firefox, depending on my mood) vs. the rest of the community.

  2. Charles E Flynn says:

    One significant advantage of Apple’s Safari is that if you save a Webpage as a pdf file, the links in the pdf work. With Firefox, the links in saved pdf files do not work.

  3. s i says:

    Oh my goodness! What a thing to wake up to! You, in your Bugatti, Veyron, tagged MOTU 07! ROFL I can’t stop laughing!

  4. fieldsparrow says:

    Bwahahahahaha! A fine illustration.

    I mostly run around in Chrome, although at work I use Firefox (by choice, since Chrome is not available) and IE6 (because I have to for most of our apps).

  5. LOL, Love it!

    I’d still rather be in a military Humvee than a racecar any day.

  6. cblanch says:

    LOVE this pic! The funny caption possibilities for this are endless!!

  7. HighMass says:

    Che Macchina Sportivo! Auguri! Don Z! :)

  8. Jacob says:

    The car analogy is simple and elegant; I wonder if he was inspired by this.

  9. wanda says:

    LOL! I love the picture. Lookin’ good there Fr. Z. No dough-nuts in front of the Vatican, or playing your chant cd’s at ear-splitting levels!

  10. Patti Day says:

    Wanda…Goood one!

  11. irishgirl says:

    Hey, what a cool-looking car there, Father Z!
    I’m with wanda-don’t do any doughnuts in St. Peter’s Square or crank up your stereo system with your chant CDs!
    I miss Vincenzo’s work…sigh….

  12. I’m glad ya’ll like my blog. A friend of mine wrote it after I e-mailed him a highly inferior car analogy of browsers. He, in good form, one upped me and vwalla … you see the final product. visit http://www.ReginaWebSolutions.wordpress.com to see more:)

  13. Thepeug says:

    I loved using Chrome for a few months, but it’s a big, hungry program that doesn’t work well on older computers with only 9 gigs of storage space.

  14. Neal Stephenson has written some seriously weird things, but also In principio erat linea imperatoris — “In the beginning was the command line”, of which the first chapter “MGBs, Tanks, and Batmobiles” writes a similar metaphor for various Operating Systems.

    For the record, I’m writing this comment from a “tank”, in communication with a “millitary humvee”.

  15. plaf26 says:

    Is that a pipe you’re smoking behind the wheel? Watch out for the air bag!!

  16. hgb says:

    Chrome good: fast, stable, clean look.

  17. Jayna says:

    I usually use Firefox, but for some reason always use IE on my laptop, though I do have both Chrome and Safari installed just to do website compatibility checks. I recently installed IE9 and it completely incapacitated Outlook (I’ve no idea why), so I promptly went back to 8. I have no complaints. Mostly.

  18. How about the bicycle called OffByOne? Not much functionality, and pretty slow – too slow and primitive for most websites – but pretty good for what it is designed to do. http://www.offbyone.com

  19. AnAmericanMother says:

    LOL! Very funny! It’s not surprising that I’m a Humvee fan . . . my real ride is a 4WD F-150. Glad it specifies “military Humvee” and not the hideous civilian version which is just a tricked-out Tahoe with less performance and less hauling capacity.
    When I’ve found myself in traffic next to some idiot with kaTHUMP kaTHUMP kaTHUMP emanating from the windows, I have indeed cranked up the William Byrd or the chant really loud (dear husband installed an aftermarket sound system for me, along with the crate platforms with storage drawers and ventilation fans for the dogs). Got funny looks but no actual threats.

Comments are closed.