101 things that the Mozilla browser can do that IE cannot.


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The following lists 101 things that one can do with the Mozilla browser component (version 1.2) that one cannot do with IE (version 6.0). I used the Windows version of IE 6.0; the list will vary slightly for the Mac version.

Some notes about how items were selected for this list:

  • The list only considers features provided in the download of IE provided directly from Microsoft. It does not include things that could be done via additional software or add-ons. If I had included such things, I would, in order to ensure an equal comparison, need to include the add-ons available for Mozilla in the list also. Since this would cause the list to grow infintely large, no such items are considered for either browser.
  • On the same note, I do not include things that can be done by changing registry keys or manually modifying configuration files. IE does indeed have some features that are only enabled by modifying registry keys. Mozilla has many hidden settings as well. This list includes neither.

This list compares IE 6.0 and Mozilla 1.2

Note also that this is a not supposed to be a list of advantages of one browser over another. It is a list of features of Mozilla not found in IE. You may feel that some of the items in the list are disadvantages.

Now that is over with, on with the list!

  1. Tabbed browsing

    Lets you display more than one site in a window using multiple tabs. You can open a new tab by selecting Navigator Tab from the New submenu of the File menu (or press Ctrl+T). You can also open a link in a new tab by using the right-click menu. You will find configuration options in the Tabbed Browsing preferences panel.

    Note that CrazyBrowser is a different product than IE.

  2. Popup blocking

    Block all those popup ads. To disable popup windows, select Advanced and then Scripts & Plugins from the Preferences window. Then uncheck the box that reads “Open unrequested windows”.

  3. Prevent scripts from doing various things

    You can prevent scripts from moving windows, closing them, changing the status bar and setting cookies. To change these settings, select Advanced and then Scripts & Plugins from the Preferences window. Then uncheck the desired boxes.

  4. Site Navigation toolbar

    Displays content from the tags provided by a document, allowing one to navigate to various parts of a site.

  5. Sidebar

    The sidebar provides a number of tabs by default, and others can be added by the user.

  6. Can add custom panels to sidebar

    Custom sidebars can be implemented in HTML or XUL and can be installed from a remote site without much hassle. Sites can add sidebars using the window.sidebar.addPanel() function.

  7. More control over text zooming

    Can zoom text to any size. IE only supports five sizes and has no keyboard shortcut that I could determine. For sites that use fairly small fonts, having more larger sizes in necessary for those without perfect vision.

    Note that using the mouse isn’t a keyboard shortcut.

  8. Can zoom any text, even that with fixed pixel sizes

    Can zoom text no matter what units were specified, an often cited issue with IE.

  9. Can select from multiple stylesheets provided by page

    When a page provides multiple (or alternate) stylesheets, one can select between them by choosing from the Use Style sub-menu in the View menu.

  10. Page info dialog

    Provides additional information about encoding, MIME type, referrer and meta tags. Some of this information is also available in IE’s properties dialog although it isn’t as detailed and the window isn’t resizable.

  11. Detailed form/link/media info dialog

    The page info dialog provides tabs which have lists of the form elements, links, images and other media in a page. You can even preview images and save them from this window.

  12. Save plugins

    Mozilla saves plugins when saving a Web page as complete. You can also save them from the Page Info window.

  13. Themes

    Provides two themes by default (Classic and Modern), but others may be installed.

    There is a theming system that is part of Windows XP, however this isn’t supported by Microsoft. It also isn’t part of any other version of Windows. Mozilla’s themes work on all versions of Windows and on all platforms; you can change your theme by selecting Apply Theme from the View menu.

  14. Bookmark window displays more detail

    Displays more information about the bookmark in the bookmark window. IE’s favorites dialog is a bit awkward and is modal, which means you can’t interact with the browser window while it is open. You also cannot add bookmarks from the window.

  15. Bookmark keywords

    Keywords to look up bookmarks quickly. Keywords have the advantage that the part entered after the keyword is filled in where ‘%s’ appears in the bookmarks’s URL.

  16. Bookmarks can be checked at a certain schedule

    One can set bookmarks to be checked at various schedules and notify when the content has changed. At least, in theory. IE has something like this, which is intended for synchronizing content for offline viewing. It can only check once per day, and provides no notification that the page has changed other than changing the icon or sending an email. Mozilla can check updates on certain days only and at any interval.

  17. Cookie Manager

    The cookie manager lets you view the cookies that have been set, their values and their expiry times.

    Some people have mentioned that one can view Cookies by pressing a View Files button in the Options, but that just provides a list of all cached files. While the list does include cookies, hidden amongst the other files, it isn’t tailored to cookies (it is just a generic file listing), so one cannot really view the data or expiry times easily.

  18. Can delete cookies individually

    The cookie manager lets you delete individual cookies without having to search around your file system. In IE’s file view, it’s tricky to distinguish cookies from similar domains, and all cookies from the same domain are stored in the same file.

  19. Block images from third party sites

    One can block images that come from a third party domain. This means that you can block images found on a page that come from a site other than that of the page. To set this in Mozilla, open Privacy & Security from the Preferences Window, and then select the Images panel. Choose “Accept images that come from the originating server only”.

  20. Can block images from certain sites

    Images can be blocked from particular domains, such as those that commonly display ads. You can disable an image from a site by right-clicking on an image, and then selecting “Block images from this Server”. You can change the list of blocked images from the Image Manager, opened from the Tools menu.

  21. Download Manager

    The download manager provides a tabular view of all of the files that you have ever downloaded, allowing you to open them without having to search around on your file system. It provides progress indicators in the window as items download.

    On the topic of downloading files, IE does not begin to download a file until you have selected where to save it to, while Mozilla begins as soon as the link is clicked, downloading in the background while you are selecting a place to save it.

  22. Can pause downloads

    In Mozilla, one cause pause downloads. Some people may find this useful during long downloads.

  23. View Source

    View the syntax coloured source of a page, without having to view it in Notepad.

    Some people have mentioned that one can edit the page using Notepad (or at least a copy of it). True, but that’s what Edit in the File menu is for. Some people like a simple source viewer for viewing content.

  24. JavaScript Console

    The console displays a log of errors that you can easily scroll through, or ignore if so desired.

  25. JavaScript Console displays script warnings

    The console separates warnings and errors. The warnings allow you to see obsolete script usage and so forth.

  26. JavaScript Debugger

    This is a utility for debugging JavaScript.

  27. DOM Inspector

    View the structure of a document using a nifty tree view. Also lets you view script properties and style applied to each element. You can open it from the Tools -> Web Development men.

  28. DOM Inspector image capture

    The DOM Inspector has a tool to capture an image of part of a page, although it doesn’t seem to work all too well.

  29. Select text and perform search

    Select some text, bring up the context menu, and choose ‘Search’ to search for the selected text.

  30. Can select custom search engine

    You can select any search engine you wish, not just one that has been chosen for you.

  31. Can display search results in sidebar

    When one does a search via a search engine, results are automatically interpreted and displayed in the sidebar. You can then view pages without hiding the search results.

  32. Supports any Sherlock search plugin

    Supports the Macintosh Sherlock search format, so any search engine that supports it can be used.

  33. Can manage saved passwords

    Lets you view and delete stored login and passwords. Choose the Password Manager from the Tools menu.

  34. Can fill-in complete forms automatically

    Stores complete forms which can be later be filled in automatically. This is useful if you want to register for something 600 times. To fill in a form, choose Fill In Form from the Edit menu.

  35. Master password encrypts info

    A single master password can be used to protect all of your other passwords.

  36. Can disable tooltips

    Not very exciting, but useful if someone thinks they get in the way.

  37. Caret Browsing

    Press F7 and a cursor appears on the page. This can be used to navigate a page and select text using only the keyboard.

    Some people thought this was this the same as setting contenteditable=”true” on an element. While that does show a cursor in IE, it actually allows the content to be edited, and disables all links and mouse events with-in the content. Caret browsing in Mozilla is designed to allow one to browse, navigate links and select text using only the keyboard.

  38. Type Ahead Find

    Press a few keys to search for links with that text. More information

  39. View Selection Source

    Select some text, bring up the context menu, and choose ‘View Selection Source’ to view the source just for the selected content. This can also be used to view the generated source after an XSLT transformation.

  40. Properties dialog lets you see info about various tags

    Right click on certain links and images and so on, and view info about them, such as language and whether links will open in a new window. The window can also be resized.

  41. View scripts and stylesheets directly

    Mozilla can display scripts and stylesheets directly as plain text without a separate application which is useful if you just want a quick peek at something.

  42. More font options

    One has more control over the fonts used, including customizing the various CSS fonts. To change this, select Appearance and then Fonts from the Preferences window.

  43. Can set minimum font sizes

    Can set the minimum font size that text is displayed in which is useful on some sites. To change this, select Appearance and then Fonts from the Preferences window.

  44. Mouse wheel options

    Pressing Alt and scrolling the wheel will navigate back and forward in the browser history. One can also configure the wheel for other modifier keys for scrolling and changing the font size.

  45. Multiple profiles

    Can handle multiple profiles so you can use one for testing, or share them between multiple persons. You can do something like this in Windows with multiple user accounts, although it affects all applications.

  46. May be installed quickly and anywhere

    Mozilla may be installed on any drive and at any location. It may installed on a network drive and run directly from there. In fact, it really doesn’t have to be installed at all.

  47. Can be easily uninstalled

    One can uninstall in the same manner as one does with other applications.

  48. May have multiple versions installed at once

    One can have as many different versions of Mozilla installed at once which is useful if you need to test on various versions.

  49. Cross-platform

    Mozilla is available for a number of different platforms. (8 to 12 depending on the exact version). It has the same the same features on all of them. IE only runs on Windows and Mac and supports quite a different set of features on each. Limited versions of IE for Unix platforms were available at one time, but are no longer available.

  50. XUL

    The XML User Interface Language is used to create complex user interfaces using markup.

  51. XBL

    The eXtensible Bindings Language is used to create custom widgets or elements and bind them to other XUL, XML or HTML elements.

  52. RDF

    Mozilla can read and manipulate Resource Description Framework files.

  53. MathML

    MathML is a markup language for displaying math equations.

  54. XPCOM

    Native interface accessible via C++ or JavaScript which lets you perform various Mozilla functions.

  55. Properly handles MIME types

    Properly displays content using the content type supplied by the server instead of various other incorrect things. You can learn more information about this.

  56. Supports documents sent as application/xhtml+xml (XHTML)

    The debate is still on whether this content type should be used for XHTML, but Mozilla supports it. Mozilla also supports XHTML sent as text/xml.

  57. Can render XML documents with styling

    Can render XML documents with associated style sheets. IE must convert the documents into HTML before displaying them.

  58. Link Prefetching

    Mozilla allows one to set documents or images to prefetch in the background. They are loaded after the document has finished loading so as to not affect performance. Usually, this would be used for the next page in a sequence.

    More information

  59. Displays ABBR/ACRONYM underlined and with titles in tooltips

    Content in these tags are displayed with an underline and the titles of various elements are displayed in a tooltip. (IE does display tooltips for acronyms though).

  60. Supports blinking text

    You can make text blink. This list isn’t subjective. Of course the tag is supported, but you can also use the CSS ‘text-decoration: blink’

  61. CSS min/max-width/height

    Set minimum or maximum sizes on content to constrain it. For more information see the CSS specification for min/max-width and min/max-height.

  62. CSS position:fixed

    This feature allows content to be fixed to a particular part of the window. If the user scrolls the document, the content stays where it is.

    For an example of this, go to the W3C’s CSS page, and watch the menu in the upper right corner as you scroll the document.

  63. CSS display:table and related display types

    Allowing one to create custom table element.

  64. CSS generated content

    Generated content refers to :before, :after, the content property and so on.

  65. CSS2 selectors

    Select elements for styling based on attribute values among other things.

  66. Supports a handful of CSS3 selectors

    Matching on attribute substrings, selected text and so on.

  67. Supports some extension CSS properties

    user-focus,user-select,border-radius, and many more. Mostly used in themes, but they can also be used by Web pages as well if you really need to.

  68. XML Base

    For specifying the base of an XML document. I really don’t know if this is supported in other browsers.

  69. FixPtr support

    FixPtr is for referring to parts of XML documents.

  70. Simple XLink support

    This is used for links in XML documents.

  71. XML-RPC

    Simple API for doing XML-RPC.

  72. Built-in SOAP API

    Fairly extensive set of SOAP functions are available without any extra libraries needed.

  73. PNG alpha transparency

    For viewing partially transparent images. See a demo.

  74. MNG image support

    MNG is an animated image format, usually used for animated PNG images.

  75. Supports ‘favicons’ in any image format

    Supports any image format that Mozilla supports (GIF,JPEG,PNG,MNG,XBM,BMP,ICO). You can even make them animated if you’re insane. IE only supports the BMP and ICO format.

  76. Display icons in tabs and address bar

    Displays site icons in the tabs and in the address bar.

  77. Available for more languages/locales

    Mozilla is available for many different languages, including ones you’ve never heard of before. IE 6.0 is currently available for 24 languages. Mozilla 1.1 or later is available for 29. Mozilla 1.0 or later is available for over 40 languages.

  78. Support for standard event handling

    Supports the standard capturing/bubbling event model.

  79. Support for additional DOM0/DOM1/Core features

    Supports almost all of DOM0 and DOM1.

  80. DOM2 namespace handling

    Supports the various DOM methods that deal with namespaces.

  81. DOM2 Style interfaces

    Supports most of the standard DOM style interfaces.

  82. DOM2 TreeWalker interface

    The TreeWalker interface is used to navigate through a document.

  83. DOM2 Range interface

    Supports the Range interface for grabbing blocks of content.

  84. DOM3 XPath interface

    Supports retrieving elements using XPath expressions in HTML/XML/XUL documents using the DOM3 XPath interface.

  85. Can set size of printed output

    This may vary based on your printer, but one can scale the printed document or fit it to the page. Useful for those sites that are just a bit too large.

  86. Can bookmark groups of pages (in tabs)

    You can bookmark a set of pages and them open them all at once in multiple tabs. To do this, choose Bookmark This Group of Tabs from the Bookmarks menu.

  87. Can set multiple pages as a home page.

    You can set a group as your home page, so multiple pages appear when you start Mozilla. To set this, open the pages you wish in tabs, and then choose Use Current Group in the Navigator preferences panel.

  88. Can search bookmarks

    You can search bookmarks without having to search through your file system.

  89. Easily create and add custom components

    XPInstall can be used to easily install custom components, using an install script written in JavaScript. No special tool is required except a ZIP utility.

  90. Supports finger protocol

    Can use the finger protocol. This has been disabled in newer versions of Mozilla.

  91. Supports data: URLs

    data URLs can be used to embed data in a URL.

  92. HTTP Pipelining

    Allows for better performance when viewing pages.

  93. Supports JavaScript getters/setters

    For adding custom properties to objects that invoke code when retreived or modified. For an example, see the IEEmu which implements some of the non-standard properties of IE.

  94. JavaScript supports strict error checking

    Which means displaying errors for things you didn’t think were errors. (Think Perl’s strict mode.

  95. Easily accessible preferences file

    Preferences are all stored in a single file (prefs.js) which one can easily edit to add custom settings which have no UI.

  96. Preferences can be moved around easily

    One can easily copy preferences, bookmarks and other settings to another system as they are all stored in a single directory.

  97. Various security related features

    Surely you knew Mozilla had better security features.

  98. Supports the jar protocol

    Supports the jar: protocol for referring to HTML pages or images inside JAR or ZIP files. This might be used to compress a downloaded site.

  99. Open Source

    So keen developers can always find out exactly why Mozilla behaves the way it does, or change it if they so desire.

  100. Bugzilla

    This is Mozilla’s bug tracking system, where you can find information about problems you encounter and can help get them fixed.

  101. Giant lizards are cool

    Much more exciting than a blue e.

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