Tabbed Browsing in IE vs Other features

Somewhere in one of my posts, someone mentioned Tabbed Browsing and what is stopping the IE team from putting tabs in their browser. Then again someone mentioned that they can live without tabs but they don't like BHOs taking over their machines. So I thought why not open the room for discussion on this and ask everyone who feels one way or another about tabs about their opinion. The primary question is (subjectively) this:

What features should be ABSOLUTELY present in a browser to make that browser your default browser ?? Is it tabbed browsing? it is full control over BHOs? it is the best security and control available in a browser? is it fancy UI? is it the ability for the browser to conform to the specification to the very last, minute little detail? Is it a combination of these mentioned features? Is it something else?

In other words, what are the things that you want most in IE or want IE to improve?

Comments are welcome and appreciated.

Comments (63)
  1. CN says:

    Better handling of newer CSS stuff would be one thing. It isn’t fancy and some of the stuff isn’t used much (as a 90 % browser won’t handle it), but it would surely be nice.

  2. Dave says:

    Tabs are a must.

    Printing – Mozilla resizes a page to print it – IE is bad in that you get cut off pages when printing.

    The ‘instant search’ feature in mozilla makes it my choice. i.e. search instantly using: /<term>

    No popups (Mozilla is still better as it offers options on what Javascript can do to your browser)

    Themed GUI, so I can make it look what I like.

    Form completion by double-clicking in fields to fill in previously known data.

    Auto Login form completion – saves time.

    Those are all things in Mozilla that are not in IE that make me use Mozilla. I wouldn’t change back until they were all available, since it would be going back to an inferior product.

    I don’t think security is as big an issue now days – both have bugs, people just target IE more… but Mozilla gets its fair share, they are just fixed quicker. The faster new feature lifecycle is also an attraction to Mozilla.

    On the specification side, it’s always bugged me that you don’t follow standards. Please do, since that’s what they are there for. Compatibility used to be a pain, but these days it is easier to code for both browsers – but it should never have been hard. I’m sure someone on your team must have heard of 🙂

  3. Adam Hill says:

    In this order:

    Tabbed Browsing with tab groups (like Avant)

    CSS compliance

    Printing (no cutoffs)

  4. I’m FireFox user for the following reasons:

    1. Tabbing

    2. Printing (IE hacks away at my print jobs)

    3. The UI is simple and clean

    4. I can skin it

    5. I like the Find feature(CTRL+F). It searches in the page without a popup, and will highlight all in the instances of the text.

    6. It recognizes pages with RSS feeds by placing an orange square and the status bar, which then allows me to do a "Live Bookmark"

    7. Live Bookmarks – A built in RSS Bookmark aggregator.

    8. Tons of extensions

    9. The Download Manager.

    1. CSS2 support is first.

      2. Tabbed browsing is second.

  5. Chris Kelly says:

    better standards compliance (CSS, etc – as high a level as possible), and (I believe) transparent PNG support. There are so many things web developers like myself would love to use to make really sweet designs, but either have to tone it down, or resort to IE-specific hacks in order to make them work mainly because 90% of the browser population (IE) can’t support it (min-width, I’m looking at you ;))

    the BHO management is nice in XPSP2, but I’d love to be able to delete them from that management screen, instead of just disabling. Not sure if this should be AntiSpyware’s domain or not.

    everything else I can live without, especially since IE now blocks popups (that would have been #1 by far – thanks again for that).

  6. Tabs are a lifesaver: the ability to use the middle button to open a link in a new tab, and the same button to close an existing tab make browsing a totally new experience that I miss a lot when in IE.

    Search-as-you-type is an amazing timesaver that is a must for me.

    Up-to-date CSS support is a must for me as a developer. As is an easy way to view and toggle on/off the BHOs.

    Some way to preview a website before loading it is very helpful (i.e. website thumbnails).

    Tag-based favorites (a la would be truly helpful in a browser.

    1. CSS compliance. Complete, 100% support for all standards. And fix the things that IE allows you to do that aren’t part of the standards (i.e. spaces in parameters in the url ( you sexy woman&Bye=Wow didn’t think I’d get slapped), yes I’m being funny but you get the hint.) It’s this the very problem, that causes more problems than anything. I could live with non-compliance to CSS2 but what makes it really hard to make a web site that works with all browsers is things that IE lets you do in a sloppy way. End result? Program for Firefox, fix little things for IE. End result? Firefox = default browser because I start with Firefox and make kewl features work with Firefox and worry about IE later, and if some of them won’t work, oh well.

      2. Single instance mode with tab browsing. It isn’t enough to offer tabbed browsing. You need to have single browser mode which brings clicked popups into new tabs like Maxthon or Avant or Firefox when you enable the hidden flag do. I hate millions of windows all over the place. Give me one place for everything, including all new right clicks in new windows and popup windows.

      3. The stuff that is in your Antispyware software integrated into IE. That is, don’t take away some of the really powerful functioanlity that can cause problems if done innocuously. Block the things like your antispyware tool does, and in a clear concise way explain to the user why you probably don’t want this to happen, but might if you know what it is. I.e. Whatever you just did is going to install a toolbar in IE. Toolbars are bad things because they could be spying on you and crash your IE. Do you really want to install this thing? Simple stuff, that is one or two lines, with no default and no way to check off to not get it next time.

      You do these things, you’ll keep your % and you’ll kill the need for Firefox and lots of people that switched will go back. The only reason why IE is getting dumped now really is for tabbed browsing for the geeks and because it won’t let you install toolbars and spyware at all, no choice at all, because it just doesn’t work. And that’s best for most users. So while taking away features is not something you should do, you have to make it so that people get a clear question that really tells them what’s going on.

      But this comes down to a major problem with windows in general that needs to be solved: (I’ve harped on this for a long time)

      There are things that a user does intentionaly (mouse click, key press etc.) Then there are the things that happen because a programmer tells it to happen. In the case of viruses and spyware, it’s the programmer telling it to happen that is the problem. In the case of popups you follow this exact rule. If the user does it intentionally, let it happen without comment. If the user had no part in it, or only incidental part in it, don’t let it happen.

      So here’s the kicker. And this will help all programers. In Avalon or better yet in windows right now, you need to create a mechanism so that everything that happens has a context. It tells you if a programmer did it, or a user. If the user did it directly, then much less security is necessary because the intended to do it. If a programmer did it, ask the user if it’s ok.

      You can’t do this in windows right now without a real pain in the ass. This is exmplified by your anti-spyware. If I install Adobe Acrobat 7, it installs it’s toolbar in IE. First I didn’t want the damn toolbar in the first place, second, when it installs, the antispyware prompts 5 times (at least) to ask if it’s ok.

      Using my paradigm the user would be asked once because it was something that the user didn’t do directly and the system would know what that one thing was. If I clicked on a link to install it (i.e. directly and intentionally) it might not be asked at all, or just told passively that it’s going to happen and if you didn’t want that, to click rollback or something) People don’t use virus scanners and anti-spyware stuff like they should and disable it because they get 5 prompts and have no idea what any of them mean. This is the core problem to security in all windows based guis and my solution would solve it. But it requires a low level commitment to the event system in Windows.

      this is of key importance too. I can’t tell you how many people call me asking what they should do because their antivirus program reported that they have a virus. NONE of the antivirus companies have a setting that says "just fix the damn thing, and if you can’t fix it, delete it." At most tell the user that it was fixed or deleted. A virus is a bad thing. Get rid of it in the best way possible (heal, quarintine, delete in that order). This isn’t something the user needs to make a decision on.

      why do I mention antivirus? Because you’re getting into that business shortly and I’m telling you how to make antivirus that people will actually use.

      Oh ya, and make it impossible to turn off other than uninstalling it. No apis no nothing. Its installed and working or not installed. Prevent anything but the antivirus program from writting to it’s directory and make sure that it isn’t dependant on any system files that could be corrupted by a worm tryign to disable the antivirus. False sense of security is the worst offense of all. (Norton is disabled on more computers I see than it’s enabled)

  7. ben says:

    Tabs…it is pretty much the only reason I don’t use ie anymore.

  8. Jeff Perrin says:
    • As CSS compliant as possible

      – I can’t live without mouse gestures/rockers (seriously… I’d just keel over and die).

      – Tabs.

      – Firefox’s Web Developer extension.

      I can live without some of the other stuff, but those are pretty much must-haves as far as I’m concerned.

  9. treego14 says:

    Take a look at the latest version of Opera.

    That’s what I would like to see IE become.

  10. Uwe Keim says:

    I would love to see better plugin support so that I e.g. could write my own additional Popup-blocker in e.g. JavaScript to add filtering of the input-HTML-stream or things like that, without the need to create COM-addins.

  11. ToddM says:

    Not to sounds like a broken record, but here goes, roughly in order of importance:

    1. Tabs (including middle-button open/close support). Let me rearrange the tabs, and you’ll one-up the default Firefox install.

    2. Search page with ‘/’ keypress

    3. Full CSS2.1 compliance

    4. Full PNG support, esp. transparency

    5. Better printing (don’t cut stuff off!)

    6. Control over javascipt functionality — no-popups are nice, but what about window resizing, etc? I may want to turn those off, too.

    7. Rewrite as a managed code control, so I can reuse in my .NET apps but not have to deal with COM interop or P/Invoke. And don’t just hide it under a .NET wrapper (a la Whidbey) — I want fully managed code running under the CLR and all of the goodness that will bring me.

    8. HTTP header info (perhaps on a tab in the File->Properties dialog)

    9. XForms support

  12. Troy says:

    I don’t use IE because you guys stopped developing it for Mac OS X 🙂

  13. jdq says:

    Tabs. The only reason I use mozilla is tabs.

    PNG support. The black background on alpha channels is annoying.

  14. Sod tabbed browsing, it really doesn’t interest me that much.

    Full CSS compliance

    Full PNG support

    And keep it up to date. Don’t simply make an attempt, then forget about it until the next version, make it patchable.

    Better granularity in security zones – i.e. If I put a web site into restricted, which has all scripting off then I do not expect scripts to run if they are reference from another site in the Internet zone.

    Something very much like Firefox’s AdBlock extension.

    A much better download manager.

    A built in spell checker.

  15. VinodI says:

    Well a lot has been said by people in the comments. So I do not wish to repeat it. However, can IE have the functionality to block browser hijackers. I mean these hijackers really make you pissed off by redirecting you to porn sites. One such culprit is the hijacker. I don’t know the real name but this is how I have christened him. Sadly no solution exists in terms of anti-spware or adware programs as these fail repeatedly to eradicate the problem? Therefore, can IE have the functionality of blocking the browser-hijacking software?

  16. KevMar says:

    This might be the wrong place for this but …

    more on the developer side of things. I would like html elements .innerHTML to return well formed XML. (even if the source is well formed, the innerHTML results are not)

    and a view source option that shows the working html. The source that is displayed after DHTML changes or XSL transforms on XML.

    maby as an addon package. Developer extentions for IE. Add a cookie editor, form post intercept, …

  17. ShadowChaser says:

    I recently switched to FireFox – I’ve been a fan of IE since 3 – unfortinately, it really hasn’t changed much since version 4. Other browsers have passed IE…

    The must haves for me would be:

    1. XHTML (IE does not support XHTML mime headers!!)

    2. 100% CSS1/2 standards compliance, even to the point of breaking old nasty code. No grungy hacks, no weird tags to tell it the page is standards compliant, no extensions.

    3. JPEG 2000 support. Okay, I cheated with this one – no other browser has it. But if they did, I would switch to it 😉

    4. PNG Alpha support

    Things that I would like to see fixed:

    * Printing

    * The cache entry limit bug (untitled.bmp anyone? 🙂

    * Rewrite addon system to NOT allow ANY addons unless I specifically allow it (via dialog). This includes sneaky spyware installs.

    * Clicking the "do not show this dialog" checkboxes on things like form security alerts switches the security level to custom!

    * The ability to disable Active-X installations (ie/ whitelist only)

    Things I don’t care about:

    * Tabs

    * Mouse Gestures (yuck)

    * How IE changes font sizes when I "CTRL-ScrollWheel" (yuck, yuck, yuck, yuck)

    * Download Managers

    * Themed UIs, Skins

    Things IE has beat the competition on:

    * Ability to host IE in other apps

    * Controlling IE using network policies

  18. KevMar says:

    The ability to zoom in on a page.

    For flatpannel displays to look the best, they need to be ran at their native resolution. it is hard to read sites that hardcode font sizes as 8pt to 12pt on a resolution of 1600 by 1200.

  19. Don says:

    I’m reading this in Maxthon because it has tabs and IE doesn’t.

    If/when you do implement tabs, PLEASE get them right.

    New tabs should appear on the right. Closing a tab should move you one tab to the left. (Play with Maxthon or Crazy Browser if that’s not an obvious description.)

    Whatever you do, DONT mimic the idiotic behavior of the Visual Studio tabs. Bad tabs would be worse than no tabs.


  20. MARK TWAIN says:


  21. Mark Wan says:
    1. tabs

      2. type-ahead dropdowns!

      3. fix a bunch of layout bugs. I guess that’s another way of saying CSS compliance.
  22. Steven Don says:

    For me, a few major ones:
    <br>1. Tabs
    <br>2. PNG with Alpha support
    <br>3. Better CSS(2) compliance
    <br>4. Keep favourites/bookmarks in a HTML file, like Moz, so it’s easy to back up, move about, share among browsers etc.
    <br>And a minor one to fix something that annoys the cr@p out of me every time I’m forced to use IE:
    <br>I always use a maximised browser window. When opening a new IE window (by pressing Ctrl-N), that window is not maximised. The new window should have the same state as the old one (FF and Moz both do this).

  23. SwitchBL8 says:

    1) Tabs

    2) Downloadmanager ala FireFox (with the ability to restart etc)

    3) Proper printing

    4) Instant (incremental as you type) search

    5) Extensibility (like FireFox plug-ins)

  24. Sam says:

    Well, the one and only thing I really really do need is to be able to resize any web page so I can read these weenie tiny fonts some people use.

    Sadly even though Firefox can resize fonts they dont resize the frames and tables, so it does not really help.

    And IE’s font sizes usually dont even work at all.

  25. Adam Young says:

    There’s a big furore about tabs, as if all IE needs is tabs & the whole world would use it! Personally, I don’t think I’ll use tabs – if IE includes them, then I’d like to be able to turn them off (And yes, I’ve used Firefox – I just don’t like the feature enough to make it my default browser).

    Including tabs isn’t the real issue here; the real issue is that the lack of tabs in IE represents MS not listening to their customers, and they appear to be letting IE stagnate. Do MS want to kill IE? If not, they should let us know their plans; I guess IE’s destiny & "Avalon’s" is intertwined.

    Here’s what I’d like to see in an ideal browser:

    1. An absolutely rock-solid secure browser; security settings that are trivial to set up & transparent to the user; perhaps also MS should integrate Antispyware with a new version of IE?

    2. Speed – a fast, lightweight html / xml / xhtml parser – the fastest there is on the market;

    3. A nice, whizzy, cool UI would be neat (I still remember the old MSN Explorer that shipped with the first versions of Win XP – that was cool, esp. the way it handled favourites, with a little thumbnail of the page; where is it now?); skins would be cool too;

    4. Be nice to devs; back in ’96 I was a Netscape user; but IE was easier to develop for, and made my sites look nicer, so I switched to IE; subsequently, I worked in a lot of teams where an "IE-only" rule was in place to simplify development; things are turning round now, though. On a related note, one thing Firefox users like is the ability to create plug-ins to extend the browser. Sure, you can do this with IE, but MS could make it easier by creating some managed interfaces into IE… if you allow us geeks to take your tool and easily customise it, extend it, show off our efforts, I’m sure that would please a lot of people;

    5. Perhaps a more task-based approach… a bit of a nebulous idea, but I tend to use the web more and more to do things like the weekly shop, pay my bills, do my accounts… could this aspect of browsing (particular tasks completed at certain days / times) be incorporated in some way… hmmm. This could be an extension to favourites… I can see tabs on the left of the screen, one marked "Do your shopping", you click it and it takes you to your fave supermarket site… or tells you that it’s not time to shop yet, or alerts you when it’s time to shop… I know I could rig Outlook up to remind me, and I know I could probably rig up a Scheduled Task to do this… but…

    6. Searching… I don’t want to use MSN Search, so wouldn’t expect that foisting on me; I would expect to be able to specify which search engine and tools to use, and be able to fully customise that, and have it fully integrated with the browser; a lot of people switch to Firefox because it’s not Microsoft; so a new IE would need to be egalitarian & fully support web standards, not force other MS apps or services on the user, and be fully extensible.

    • Tabs, and its associated single-window mode – no more windows being created without me very explicitly asking for one

      – Provide a way to prevent a webpage to hide where a link goes to by overwriting the text in the status bar. If I hover over a link, I want to see at the bottom of the screen what that link does, what url the link goes to. There must be no way for a webpage to write any other text in that area. If having the ability to write text in a statusbar from javascript is deemed critical, add a second status bar for that purpose. If the link activates some javascript rather than being a simple url, well, than show that javascript command in the statusbar.

      – Provide a way to ensure that disabled plugins/BHOs stay disabled, even if the manufacturer of the BHO thinks it is a good idea to enable the plugin again without asking me. That also applies if the plugin manfacturer is Adobe. If I tell my browser never to open PDF files in my browser, it should remember that decision, even if I install a new version of acrobat reader.

      – Provide a way to postpone running plugin objects in a page. If a page contains a Shockwave or Flash object, provide a display mode that shows a stub instead (of the same size as the plugin object, of course), with a button that when clicked starts the plugin, but not before. There is a FireFox plugin that does that nicely, it shows a button with a shockwave or flash logo instead of the actual thing, only to activate the animation when you click that button.

      – If the user chooses to allow a popup window, provide a way to disallow irritating features of that popup window, such as hiding critical window parts (status bar) or making a window not resizable.

  26. SvenC says:
    • better print support: pages are often cut off at the right side. So a "fit page" option would be nice

      – zoom function so people with high DPI displays can read web pages which use fixed size fonts (like FireFox Ctrl+ Ctrl-)

      – Better search: highlight all hits and present a thumbnail overview like MSN toolbar for easy navigation between hits

  27. Jagan says:

    Better text search on the web pages, it’s very annoying when IE doesn’t do simple things like wrap to begenning etc…. a next step would be regex search.

  28. NTulip says:


    Self updating (That’s a full time job for your emps)


    Some Plug-in capability


    Better printer support

    Built in RSS Support (or an add-in for it, like a live bookmark in Firefox)


  29. Edward says:
    1. Full (and optionally anal) Standards Support for (X)HTML and CSS.

      2. Better organization of favorites:

      – In place editing of Name in Org. Fav.

      – Ability to attach Keywords to an URL and searching on those keywords

      – Ability to store my favorites on a central place, configure FTP-server with username and password and background sync-ing of Fav’s

      3. Full PNG support

      4. Tabbing
  30. Mike Parsons says:

    To enable tab browsing as well as a whole host of additional IE add-ons (i.e. RSS Readers. etc), all YOU (meaning the IE Team) need provide is a meachanism to add a generic BHO Pane that can host another IE window (i.e. like the search pane). I should be able to dock this pane wherever I want (like the Office Task Pane).

    I’ll make you an offer, If you provide this capability (or even a BHO code sample that hosts an empty pane), I will implement tabbed browsing for you, for free.

    This would open up a whole new add-on market that would not require C++ skills since the panes would be implemented as "standard" DHTML/JScript pages.

  31. 1) Tabs

    2) Rss support

    3) Download manager

  32. No tabs! That’s what ad-ons and Maxthon are for. As if pop-ups aren’t confusing enough, tabs would be a nightmare …

  33. ScottB says:

    I use Firefox for a bunch of reasons including Tabs.

    I would suggest adding Tabs first but also RoboForm type functionality, fixing pop-up blocking so it actually works, incorporating Ad Block functionality (suppress images from this site), zoom / shrink an image.

    IE is a really good product but what has been done with it over the last 2 years?

  34. In this order:

    1) PNG support

    2) Other CSS features like position: fixed and all the other things that every other modern browser gets right

    3) Tabs

    I want to say that getting these things in there would be enough for me, but I’m afraid it really wouldn’t. There are three more overriding criteria that I can guarantee IE will never meet.

    A) SP2 notwithstanding, my primary reason for choosing another browser is security. The number of IE security flaws that have been fixed, even since SP2, is way too high, especially considering that Microsoft policy seems to be "only fix it once an exploit is found". I’m aware that Firefox has had holes found too, but the lesser number of them, the fast response (holes get fixed even before an exploit is found) and the fact that Firefox is less of a target due to smaller marketshare add up to a substantially more secure experience overall.

    B) My desktop is Linux. I’m not really suggesting that Microsoft ought to port IE to Linux (nobody would use it), but the question asked what would be needed to make it my primary browser…

    C) Open Source. I only use proprietary software (a) for work, when I don’t have a choice, (b) if there’s no open source alternative and I absolutely need the feature (very rare), or (c) if there’s a compatible open source alternative but it’s still under development, eg Java (before Classpath became ready for running almost all Java apps) and .NET (Mono is fast approaching, guys). So to be my primary browser, IE would have to be open source, because it isn’t even close to any of these exception scenarios.

  35. Greg says:

    Interesting… So many "tabs, tabs, tabs…" But when people bitch and moan about IE it is its security that is meantioned most.

    From my seat, Security and Control has to be number 1. Everything else is window dressing.

    If I don’t feel safe using IE, then it won’t matter how many features it has…

  36. How broadly do you define "IE" here?

    I’d like a few methods added to the object model someplace to make HTA development easier. For example, one of the things that realy drives people nuts is the lack of a Sleep() API call as provided in WSH. Though Eric Lippert pooh-poohs it, I want to be able to load type libraries into the namespace to avoid clunking around with long constant definition lists. Maybe a format like the MHT for HTAs, to cleanly group stylesheets, script includes, icon images, etc. into one file. Stuff lke that.

    Oh, forget the silly "tabbed browsing." But better CSS and PNG support would always be welcome.

  37. Jeff Parker says:

    I switch to Firefox for one reason and one reason only. I am a web developer. The Additional tool to explore the DOM, debugging JavaScript and so on.

    Things that are in need of improvement.

    Full CSS Support the way it is supposed to be done and defined.

    XHTML Support the way it is supposed to be done and defined.

    HTML Support the way it is supposed to be done and defined.

    I mean come on I love .net but I can not create a html 4.0 transition compliant web page with it. And why? because Oh IE will run the page even though the inserted html code is not valid. If IE won’t render it correctly then maybe the framework team would rethink doing some of the dumb things they did to it. Beginning a input tag with an underscore is not compliant. But IE don’t care. So it is perfectly acceptable for Front page,, Visual Studio etc, to produce bad code.

    Come on it has been years fix the Z Index on some of the input controls Dropdown list number one. We developers are so tired of doing wacky things like creating IFRAMEs under Div tags to put the IFrame over the input tags so they do not show through.

    and finally

    For the love of all that is binary get rid of Active X controls. The surfing has been so nice in firefox without them. No Pop ups trying to install crap. No Spyware. If I need a browser plug in I am perfectly capable of downloading it and starting the installation. I do not need automatic easy installs.

    Seriously though, I used to develop for IE, get it working then pull up Netscrap, then put in Hacks to get the page to look decent in there. Now it seems I am developing for Firefox, pull up IE and put in hacks to make it work for IE.

    The above are absolute musts for me.

    Now as far as tabs. I never under stood it. Don’t really bother me either way if it has them or not. That’s a user interface preference.

    Some of the above requests of other people though, built in search? Its there been in IE for a long time. Could be easier to configure.

    Built in Zooming? It is build into the OS to allow Zooming in Windows to every and any application even those that MS didn’t write.

    Themed Browser, Could care less but you can do it now. TweakUI download from MS will let you do it. Never will I understand why people do cutesy things to their computer. Beyond a different background that’s typically as far as I go.

    Printing, well that’s more of a blame the web developer. Not IE, IE prints as instructed to by the mark up. This I wouldn’t change. IE doesn’t have trouble cutting off and misprinting of any MS sites now does it? Developing a web page that can be printed takes some work but doable. The way IE prints, which is specifically how the mark up says it should print, is how it should also render.

    People asking for Type Ahead drop downs They are there you probably turned off that feature a long time ago, Go in and turn on auto complete. Enable the Password remembering again for the auto logins. That’s been in IE for years.

    Things that are a must to keep.

    Application Integration, needs improved for .net, hate com, this is too powerful for other developers to use and leverage in their apps.

    Configurable from network policies.

    Some things that would be nice to see.

    Permanent Ban on an control that tried to load.

    Permanent ban on a url, Banner adds, I get tired of pulling up firewall config to set banner ad sites where they leach from to my black list.

    Permanent set these settings option. So when you set you home page to what you want, some JavaScript comes along to try to change it or some app installing tries to change it, it can not. You set your font sizes where you want them you lock it in, using scroll wheel can not change it on you. And most importantly the only way a favorites can be added is by clicking on the add to favorites button, sheesh, like I really need 10 different favorites links to AOL installed for me.

  38. chrisA says:

    1) Standards compliance

  39. Ralph says:

    It needs to be following the specification to a T developing for Both IE and for Firefox is a real pain in the ass.

    Tabbed browsing will win people over and would be a great feature.

    Extensions are great. The ability to have a barebones browser and customize it the way that I want without the bloat of including everything. You need to make it with a rich API and a developer center to help developers make their own. Microsoft is really good at helping developers and I can’t see you failing at that.

  40. Frank Rizzo says:

    As part of the ‘Tabs’ bandwagon, be sure to include the abiility to bookmark a set of tabs; this is very valuable when researching a topic across multiple web sites.

  41. Jeff Small says:

    Maxthon is the way that IE should be. You should be able to switch between a classic mode (current IE, no tabs, etc.) and Maxthon. Anyone I have give Maxthon to has absolutely loved it.

  42. Anonymous says:

    Security security security – including:

    Better popup support. Block all popups by default. Enble showing specific popups that were blocked (instead of the current mode of re-loading the page and loosing all the data you’ve filled in a form).

    No frame-less or toolbar-less popups.

  43. CN says:

    Another one would be RSS integration. It’s close enough to a browser to make sense. Maybe even resurrecting Active Desktop with somewhat decent performance and putting RSS feeds there?

  44. Whisky Fudge says:

    I think most of the comments here have outlined the majority of what I want in my ‘ideal’ browser. Things IE are missing at the moment that hasn’t been mentioned (I don’t think) are:

    – Password manager – If done properly very useful for those sites that require passwords but you don’t really want to remember them all (the type of sites that remember your settings and such). Personally I’m against storing your bank login details on my machine.

    – Not having IE integrated into the OS. It should be an optional component. Having to wipe a machine because IE got corrupted is a ridicules thing to have to do.

    – Support for Multiple version of IE to be installed on the same machine. As a web developer switching between machines is nothing something I should have to do yet it is something I do on a hourly basis.

    IE potentially has a lot going for it with the amount of market share it has/had. It seams stupid for MS not to be trying to keep this and keep their browser updated. It doesn’t seam to have had a major upgrade since 4/5.

    As any MS .net person will tell you write managed code you’ve got to ask why isn’t IE?

  45. Typhoon121 says:

    Faster rendering when using forward and back buttons. Pages stop loading when you hit stop (many pages seem to ignore this. A better pop up blocker than the one in SP 2. Too many popups get through but turn the pop up blocker to max and some user inacted clicks get blocked. All add ons (plugins/active x controls) need to register with the Add on manager with Manufacturer, product name, version and if its signed and the update feature should be supported. Should be able to remove add ins instead of just turning them on/off. Backport all IE and OE security improvments to Windows 2000 even if you made us install SP 4 or made SP 5 (there are so many business not willing or affording to upgrade to XP server 03) and foward port to Server 2003, XP X64.

    On the plus side the Information bar for pop ups and auto install blocking is very ergonic and not "in the way" as most programs are. Now why cant Windows Update auto install/reboot be that subtle but still get users attentions.

  46. Jazkal says:

    Tabbed browsing and Standards compliance

  47. For me to ever come back to Internet Explorer from Firefox, it would have to have :

    1) Complete CSS standards compliance (right now the compliance is just straight up laughable)

    2) Security

    3) Tabbed Browsing and the ability to save a set of tabbed bookmarks.

    4) Plugins/extensions and themes

    Basically I’m describing Firefox because it really just seems to have everything a person needs in a browser. The development community for it is wonderful and its so far ahead of MSIE in functionality, in my opinion.

  48. anon says:

    -Easy to Navigate Menus, Under Tools, Internet Options.

    -Rss Reader

    -Better Support for Printing

    -Download Manager

    -Option to Disable Active X

    -Option to Disable Javascript, or at least an option so that browser is not tampered, raised or hidden so that we can’t close it.

    -Option to disable Ads, and Banners, further more blocking images originating from ad dilivery websites.

    -Better Control Over Cookies ex. enable only for session, reject cookies that are not from originating site, allow cookies only from sites that are in my trusted zone, reject cookies from untrusted zone.

  49. 1) Full CSS 1 and 2 compliance. position:fixed, :hover on tags other than <a>, etc… This is a must. This won’t break any old pages as they probably don’t use this stuff anyways, but will make my web design much easier and more headache free.

    2) XHTML mime type handling. Don’t sniff in the document or anything like that. Just render as the type returned from the server. Don’t go into quirks mode when a file has the <?xml version="1.0" encoding="iso-8859-1"?> header.

    3) Separate IE from the operating system. I’ve got an old Win 95 laptop that came with IE 3 on it. I uninstalled IE 3, and installed Firefox on it easily. That is easily the most stable computer I own (all running various versions of Windows). If Windows explorer worked without IE being tied in to the OS then, why can’t it work now? Let me uninstall IE if I desire. Have MSN Messenger open the default web browser instead of always opening IE when checking e-mail.

    4) Tabs. They’re a godsend. I often have 10 or more tabs open, but would hate having 10 windows on my start bar. Allow me to bookmark a group of tabs and to set a group of tabs as my home page.

    5) Something similar to the developer toolbar extension for FF. As a developer, it is a must. However, I do realize this would likely be an add-on or plug-in rather than part of the core browser.

    6) Better bookmark handling. With FF, I just backup one html file, and I can copy it to all of my computers easily. XBEL support would be even better, but I’m not holding my breath.

    7) Something like the google search bar in FF. Allow me to specify any search engine I want to use with it.

    8) Get rid of Active X all together. I have yet to see one useful thing (save for Windows Update) that uses Active X.

    9) Something similar to the Adblock extension for FF (block all images from this server / folder).

    10) Something similar to FF’s implementation of Live Bookmarks.

    11) A new version before Longhorn / 2006. By then it will have been 5 years since IE 6 debuted. Stagnation anyone?

  50. Maxthon is what a modern browser should be like.

    Its extra features(tabs, ad-block…etc) made it the default browser for me.

  51. anon says:

    -Option that allows you to store temp internet files, cookies, cache.. on usb flash drive, instead off your computer.

    -Profile manager, allows you to give different users different types of permissions.

    -Make a portable internet browser that can run from a usb drive.

    -Add a feature that detects, spoofed websites.

    -Add a button, that allows you to quickly set untrusted websites, to untrusted zone.

  52. I’ve used IE and FireFox a bunch, and I tired switching away because of lack of CSS2 support. I discovered two things about firefox, it’s UI has lots of cool things and some of which I would love to see in IE, but at the same time it UI is not a elegant as IE’s. The other thing I discovered is that dispite the retoric, there is still no version of netscape you can sit down with the CSS2 spec design a site always expect it to look the way the spec says it should. That said I ended up switching back to IE as my main browser, but I did try to switch away. Among the things I really liked in firefox was its page searching feature. Tabs were alright, but I like windows so I tended to use both, and it can get confusing and the tab management could be a little nicer. Also Firefox would not pass the Mother Usage Test. My mom would get super frustrated with firefox, there is no way I could even force her to stay with it. So whatever changes you make, ensure that my mom can still use IE. 😉

  53. Chris says:

    Tabbed browsing tops my list as it is awfully convenient when doing research on multiple items without having tons of windows open.

    The download manager is a nice feature as is the auto resize for printing. It is pretty frustrating when you waste printer ink and paper to print something in IE just to find out half of it is cut off.

    All browsers could benefit from a better way to manage bookmarks. Like a way to analyze the site (meta tags?) then automatically place it into a group. Not sure how hard it would be to do….

    The text search within a page is AWESOME. It searches as you type and doesn’t have an intrusive "find" box that pops up like IE. Instead it sits unobtrusively at the bottom of the browser.

  54. Kraftwerk says:

    Tabs and Find As You Type are a godsend, I’d consider switching back to IE if you had them.

    Only if you people (well, your pointy haired bosses anyway) reconsider the decision not to release a new IE version of course, looking at its hardware requirements I highly doubt I’ll be switching to Longhorn =)

  55. HSMW says:

    1) AD block

    2) Tabs

  56. zzz says:
    1. Better user experience when all but the most important sites (bank, windows update etc) have active scripting disabled.

      2. Continuing from that. If I have scripting disabled for site, but there is button that uses scripting to open a window, it does not work. Let me define that scripting only works for actions that I start.

      3. All java etc in the Internet disabled by default. If the site look legimate, there are several levels of scripting that I can allow.

      4. Majority of the web works fine and looks good without scripting. When scripting is enabled, bad looking advertisements appear and UX is horrible (adds make pages appear 5 times more slow on average)

      5. I am in control of what I do. MSN spaces makes every link use scripting to popup a window. What if I wanted the new window to open in the same window? I have 3 mouse buttons to choose which action I want. Microsoft and MSN Spaces should not choose it for me. And even if they do, my browser should give me the control even then.

      6. I had a clean XPSP2 with all the default settings on IE. I clicked on some link that went to somewhere at, without any questions/popups, activex was installed in such a manner that it was not visible on IE anywhere. MS antispyware did however detect it. Odd I say.

      7. In manage-addons, at unknown time a Browser Extension appeared called Research. Only information about is is the GUID and Used/Blocked numbers. Finding that there were these GUID etc information required one to right click on the top "tabs", not very easily discoverable. There is no company name etc assosiacted with the Research browser extension. Odd. It says used around 300 times and blocked around 1200 times.

      Could it be the MS background feedback feature? I allow Office/VS usage experience feedback to be sent, but there is no indication that the extension is related to that. By default everything that unknown and with little meta information is spyware to me.

      8. IE, its add-ins and a download directory for IE should be in such a tight sandbox that even if you click yes to every run/fake cert dialog, your real machine will not have a worry. How about having the IE always launch in a virtual machine integrated in Longwait. You have the Virtual PC product, now embrace and extend it in LH.

      9. Tabs would have less importance if the taskbar implementation would be better and more oriented towards users that have 50 windows open at any time on 3 displays, like some of your own developers.

  57. Alex says:

    For me, tabs are a big deal, but so is the ability to use one browser, and not have to toggle back and forth. I felt that i had found a great solution to this in avant.

    Now, i have begun to investigate rss feeds, and find that many of the better multi featured versions integrate with ie (or firefox, but though ff has tabbed browsing, there is still the issue of compatibility with still too many websites) but they don’t integrate with avant. So, if ie had tabs, i would use it.

    I don’t think that rss feeds, etc are so important. There are a lot of companies out there that make ie compatible add ons, plucks rss feed, web snippets, etc. It would be nice to see ie build a solid base product, secure, fast, and then be able to customize it by adding the desired integrating features. Not everyone has the same desires in a web browser, not everyone wants tabs as someone mentioned above. The more customizable a browser is, and the easier it is for the average user to customize it, the more people there are who are willing to use it.

  58. Today, the IE team decided to share some of the details of its upcoming release. Chris Wilson posted

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