Dwight Watt - Newspaper Article #469 8/7/2019

Question: Why do I have to use a different browser sometimes?


People like to use one web browser. The popular web browsers are Chrome (by Google), Firefox (by Mozilla), Safari (by Apple), Internet Explorer or IE (by Microsoft) and Edge (by Microsoft).

Each of these browsers runs differently (one reason people like one over another), they handle different commands differently and people write web pages differently for some browsers.

Most of these browsers run on what is called the Chromium engine, which basically t they start using the same basic code which was developed by Google. Chrome, Firefox, and Safari all run on this. For this reason, most things that run on what on these browsers will run on the others. Edge and Internet Explorer are the major exceptions.

Internet Explorer was initially developed before Chromium was developed (remember it goes back to about 1995) and Microsoft developed it from scratch. For those of you have used the Internet and World Wide Web many years will remember its initial competition was Netscape. Internet explorer stayed a more basic browser but is missing many of todayís security and bells and whistles. A few years ago, Microsoft came out with Edge which was a completely new browser developed by them, again not on Chromium but developed fully at Microsoft and added many bells and whistles and was to include many modern security items. However, the problems soon appeared that they developed many bells and whistles similar to what Chromium did, but on different code and required web page developers to use totally different code. Between that and most people are happy today with first Chrome and second Firefox (basically Safari just used on Macs but can be used in Windows so low usage) and so they saw no reason to change. Finally, last winter Microsoft decided to join the rest of the world and has since been re-developing Edge, so it uses chromium. With this fallís Windows 10 updates many will get the new Edge. However, that is confusing as people will not know if they are using old or new edge.

Due to these differences and how people have developed web pages there are some web pages that will work on certain browsers. Typically, these either require Internet Explorer or old Edge. Many pages collecting information or accessing databases I have found may require Internet Explorer. I have seen pages written for use inside organizations require this. Blackboard, the online learning system used by technical colleges in Georgia, sometimes runs best on Internet Explorer and sometimes chrome. My suggestion to students is if one is not working to try the other and usually solves the problem.

I would suggest keeping Internet explorer on your PC along with your choice of Chrome or Firefox. Then when web sites do not work or look right you can try the other. I try to occasionally test all my web sites in all these big ones. However, as the new Edge appears there have been rumors Microsoft will remove Internet Explorer from your machine when the new Edge is installed. I have not confirmed that, and I have not tested the new Edge yet.