Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Fifteen years of 'Exploring' the Internet

Ok so now just yesterday my grandpa wanted to use the net for booking his flight ticket and I opened up the Chrome browser for him. Instead he asked me to open up Internet Explorer. When I asked him the reason for him preferring IE, he told me that it allows him to surf the Web with minimum fuss. It seemed at that moment as if the long neglected icon of the Internet Explorer in my taskbar was indeed smiling at me. It was then that I realized that you may love it or hate it, but you simply cannot ignore it.

It’s been 15 years since Microsoft launched the IE; to be precise it was launched about a month after the launch of Windows95. With 60 percent of the world’s netizens using IE even after 15 years of its launch, it’s evident that its popularity refuses to die down. This despite the fact that its rivals like Google, Mozilla and Apple were offering better browsers.

Now a bit about its history and its different versions.

When IE first appeared in 1995, the main software that people used to browse websites was Netscape. Now IE’s first version was based on a browser of that period known as Mosaic. It did not come integrated with Windows. A very basic browser, it had a greyish background. The image below shows just how it used to look:

The main shift came with the Microsoft launching IE3 in 1996. The BlueE logo was also introduced. It supported cascading style sheets (CSS) and came with features like mail, news and an address book. It had support for GIF and JPEG files also. Also unlike Netscape, IE was free for all users. IE 4 was released in 1997 and was part of Windows 98 and had the tag line “the Web the way you want it”.

IE5 had new search and history features as well as support for bi-directional text. Bi-directional text is text containing text in both text directionalities, both right-to-left (RTL) and left-to-right (LTR). By the time IE6 released IE’s market share had grown to 90 percent. It was however at the same time that it was ridiculed for weak security and clunky surfing experience.

The launch of IE 7 was significant in the sense that tabbed browsing finally came to IE. It also included a separate search bar and support for RSS (Really Simple Syndication).

IE 8 had features like new tools such as Web Slices and Accelerator.

Agreed that IE was late off the mark in terms of features like tabbed browsing and add-ons, seen much earlier in other browsers. Also being the most popular browser made it more vulnerable to attack by hackers. This is not to say that other browsers don’t have such issues but any problem with IE tends to get highlighted.

This said , I feel that one can not deny the contribution that IE has made to the internet. And frankly had it not been for its so easy accessibility, the count of netizens in the world might not have been at the same level as they are today because it was the IE that allowed people to use the internet as easily or “without fuss” as my grandpa pointed today.

As a matter of fact while filling the IIIT-D form; it was with IE that it finally got downloadedJ. Not just IIIT-D, there are several websites that recommend us to view them in IE. Maybe slow off the mark, but it definitely has not stopped improving. And an old proverb that goes like this

" Slow and steady wins the race ".

Many happy returns of the web, IE


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. nice blog
    it was great knowing about the features of the different IE versions

  3. Hehe! You do have a point there! The 'IIIT-D form' thing happened with me too! :D

  4. @praneet: thanks a lot. happy to know that it helped

    @karan: haha happened with many of us :D