Browser Guide: Choosing The Best Standard For Business

Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, Opera, and more have new releases out or on the way soon -- the browser wars are raging once again. Here's a guide to the features and capabilities of each to help you identify the right one for your business.
Clicking Through Opera 11 Browser Beta
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Slideshow: Clicking Through Opera 11 Browser Beta

The Rest of the Browser Landscape

The Opera browser has long had the reputation of being innovative. Today, Opera is still often on the cutting edge of new Web technologies and maintains strong standards support and performance. Once again, a Chrome-like interface shows up, this time in the Opera 11 beta.

Opera's high-customization and very good standards support make it a useful tool in a Web developer's kit. While most businesses wouldn't standardize on it, power users who choose to run Opera should have little trouble accessing company sites and Web applications.

Apple's Safari is of course the default browser of the Mac OS but there is also a very good version of the browser available for Windows users. Safari, which is based on the same WebKit engine as Chrome, has very good standards support and performance, and has also innovated well in visual management of windows and browser histories.

Safari tends to be somewhat streamlined and not heavy in features. Any Mac shop will of course have heavy usage of Safari and, within these businesses, it would probably also make sense to support the Windows-based version for their Windows users.

Both Opera and Safari also have the distinction of being much bigger players in the mobile Web. On mobile devices, both Opera and Safari tend to offer the best and truest Web experience. These browsers also have a lot of support for HTML 5, which offers a good route for companies looking to offer mobile applications without the need for native application development.

There are also a number of smaller browsers available that are built on top of other browsers such as Firefox and Chrome. Notable among these browsers are Flock and RockMelt, both of which are designed to bring social networking up front and center in the browsing experience.

As HTML 5 moves closer to becoming a full standard, expect to see browsers become even more powerful and interactive. And it will become easier to offer separate application-like experiences that run on the browser, which should be especially important on mobile devices.

In the end, the browser you use will have a large impact on how you view, use, and interact with many of your applications and services. And in this area, the choice is freely yours.


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