Many people today are tired of the Microsoft software that came pre-packaged with their operating system. Some have switched over to Apple's Macintosh line, but for the most part we just put up with what we have. Microsoft's Internet Explorer (IE) has come under a lot of fire as of late for several reasons. Hackers find IE easy to exploit.
These reasons, and many others, have sent Internet users searching for a new, less bug-prone browser. Several browsers have topped the market, and have become quite popular. So popular, in fact, that smart web designers use them in testing their new website functionality.
Opera (www.opera.com) has become my favorite of the ‘other browser’ market. With such subtle things such as mouse gestures, it won me over. The newest release works seamlessly with most plug-ins.
Mozilla (www.mozilla.org) and it's slimmed-down partner Mozilla Firebird are also very popular. The browser reminds me of the old Netscape 6.0 but works great for most all web applications and websites. It won Best of 2003, Web Browser in a recent PC World contest.
If you design websites, you should have all three of these on your desktop, and you should check all your sites with them. There are slight differences in the way each processes webpages, and you need to verify that they all display nicely.
Will Hanke is owner of Lighthouse Technologies, http://www.techlh.com a web design, programming and hosting company. He is also author of several software applications in use by companies across the US.