It’s no surprise why the Mozilla Firefox browser is slowly taking away Microsoft’s Internet Explorer’s share in the browser market. Users who already made the switch most likely know of the reasons why and in most likely hood, they’re also tired of hearing about them. The point of this article is not to pit the two most used browsers today against each other. There’s enough articles on the net on that subject that it’ll keep you busy reading for the whole day or more. Instead, I’ll show you an awesome Firefox add-on that will allow you to get the best of both browser worlds. I admit that Firefox is my default browser on all the systems I own personally. Internet Explorer, while I give credit to Microsoft for making so many changes to it over the last couple of years, just doesn’t have what it takes to make me switch back over.
When Firefox first started, some people were experiencing with certain websites and webpages loading awkwardly in the browser. Because Internet Explorer was the dominant browser at that point, many website creators and authors had made sure that their site was IE compatible. There were obviously other browsers out there in the market at that time but their share of the pie was so small and insignificant, they were merely given an afterthought. When Firefox emerged and have proven itself as a solid competitor to Internet Explorer, many of the website authors had to make sure that their website also behaved accordingly when being loaded in both Internet Explorer and Mozilla Firefox. Well, that’s all good and all but as you should already know by now, there are millions and millions of websites out there today and hundreds and thousands are being creating almost on a daily basis. In my personal experience however, I hardly ran into a website in Firefox with compatibility issues. But for those of you who do, there is a simple Firefox add-on that will make your Firefox experience that much more better.
IE Tab 2You can download IE Tab 2 here from Mozilla. For Chrome users, here is the alternative called IE Tab Classic and can be downloaded from the Chrome Web Store.
This nifty add-on, once installed in Firefox, allows you to easily switch between rendering a webpage with the Firefox engine or Internet Explorer’s. It simply is a genius creation. In those rare instances in which you stumble across a website that looks funky in any way (compatibility issues) in Firefox, simply click on the IE Tab 2 Firefox icon on the lower right corner or select the appropriate option in the right click context menu and Firefox will then reload the page but with Internet Explorer’s engine! The website should then load correctly right within Firefox itself! No need to manually copy the URL address and open up Internet Explorer just to cater to that single website.
Some of Microsoft’s own websites are notorious for working only with Internet Explorer, especially their update sites. Here is a simple example:
By navigating to that site in Firefox without the IE Tab 2 add-on, this is what I see. Now I’m no HTML guru but it’s not hard to tell that something just doesn’t look and feel right:
After installing the add-on, navigating to that same site within Firefox provided these results:
Not only did the site looked as it was intended to be, but it also functioned as it should in that my Windows Update application within Windows 7 popped up automatically.
There are a host of other options to configure for IE Tab 2. For example, if you frequently visit a website in Firefox that only displays correctly when viewed in Internet Explorer, you can add that site to the IE Tab 2 filter list. Similar to the Windows Update sites (which are added automatically), IE Tab 2 will from then on know to switch to the Internet Explorer’s engine when you visit that particular website so that you don’t have to switch it manually.
If you do come across a website that needs to be rendered with Internet Explorer’s engine, then you can make the switch manually. Click on the icon on the lower right hand corner (located there by default) which has a picture of the Firefox logo. IE Tab 2 will then go to work and refresh/render the site with Internet Explorer. The icon will then show a logo of Internet Explorer. Simply click on the icon again to switch back to Firefox. That’s it.
In the End…
Although I seldom use this add-on for what it was intended for, you have to admit that it does come in handy. Personally, I use this add-on a bit differently. I watch a lot of streaming videos online and many of them open in their own Firefox browser window. When I want to watch the video and do work at the same time (yes, that’s possible), I simply snap the video on one side and my browser to the other. I’m not sure if it’s my inadequate video hardware or CPU but many times when I visit a website, my streaming video would hiccup for a second or so. Not a major problem but it is distracting nonetheless, especially when I am watching live sports. In this scenario, I use IE Tab 2 to render my streaming video with Internet Explorer while I continue to surf the web with the default Firefox. The video hiccups will then disappear. If you are a website designer, you can also see how this simple add-on can help you out. Rather than opening two browsers, you can now work in Firefox alone and when it’s time to do a preview, you can use IE Tab 2 to get the job done.