Internet Explorer has long enjoyed a dominant slice of the web browser pie; only in recent years has the competition opened up thanks to the increasing popularity of Google Chrome, with Firefox remaining a strong favourite.
Whether you’re highly opinionated on the matter or whether you’ve always been satisfied with the blue ‘e’ that came with your computer, it’s fair to say that browsers are currently changing at an alarming rate.
Developing web technology
Thanks to a current boom in developing web technology, web browsers are constantly battling to update their features and abilities. If you’re using a browser like Google Chrome or Firefox, you will likely be notified by your browser of choice that an update is available.
These updates might not bring forth a plethora of noticeable changes, but under the hood your browser is being educated in new web page technology – technology it will likely have to deal with in the near future.
Web page technology
When we refer to ‘web page technology’, what do we mean? Well, it could be something relatively insignificant like understanding a command which makes corners on a web page round instead of pointed. However, it could be something fundamental like interpreting the code that creates the layout for an entire website.
Without these updates, your browser will display the page incorrectly; worse still, it wouldn’t know that there was something wrong and would have no need to inform you that it needs updating. Chrome and Firefox users enjoy these regular, frequent updates, ensuring you get the most out of the modern web experience. The Internet Explorer update procedure, however, is a little different. The strong ties with Internet Explorer and Windows means that each iteration of Microsoft Windows can only support specific versions of Internet Explorer. Let’s look at Windows XP as an example: XP is considered an old operating system that was released in 2001. XP users can only upgrade to Internet Explorer 8, a piece of software that’s nearly eight years old and which Google no longer supports.
Users of Internet Explorer 9, 8 and below are likely to see web pages differently, as more web authors produce content that embraces modern web standards.
If you believe you are using an old version of Internet Explorer, or any browser for that matter, try these three steps to kick-start your web browsing experience:
1. Determine which browser version you’re on and whether an update is required. Typically, this information appears in a browser’s ‘About’ window.
2. Should the option be available, update your browsers to the recommended version number. You may also want to check that any automatic update feature is enabled, because it’s important you receive any security updates as soon as possible.
3. If your operating system prevents you from updating your browser of choice, then it might be time to trade in for a newer model.
Jim Kirk, Senior Consultant, Goldmine Media
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