IHBT – Firefox vs. IE

So I was reading this article on Browser Speed Comparisons and I found out that apparently IE outperforms most other Windows browsers on just about everything except for scripts.

I responded, somewhat naively:

I suppose the fact that IE has all sorts of nice direct access to the Windows code with god-knows-what tricks embedded to speed it up helps. Firefox is bound by what any non-MS program can do with the API. That is not to say that I find Firefox slower – but thinking about it, I believe the Firefox interface (especially tabs and yes I know it was Opera first(?)) speeds _me_ up. So my perception is that using Firefox is generally faster than using Internet Explorer, even though it may be in actuality slower.

The great thing about Slashdot is that you won’t be allowed to stay ignorant for long, so I was quickly informed that*:

  • Nice try, but how does that explain IE being faster than FireFox under MacOS X as well in some areas?
  • The fact that IE leverages a lot of Windows services is a feature of IE that Firefox chose not to implement (for portability reasons). So Firefox takes longer to start up. This isn’t because Microsoft is cheating; its because it’s not a cross-platform browser
  • and

  • Nice try, but no. Mozilla/Firefox made the decsion to add a heap load of bloat as a portability/skins layer. So they run everywhere, slowly. It’s pretty funny that you accuse MS of using “tricks” when the GUI of your browser is written in frickin JavaScript. (Secret MS Speed Trick #1: Don’t use a scripting language). If they wanted to, they could have coded a native Windows app right to the documented Win32 API, and it’s very unlikely that you’d see any difference in startup speed. (See Opera)

Considering that the comments are spot on, I was probably half-asleep when I posted, ‘cuz I just didn’t think it through carefully. Either way, I still find it intriguing that despite technical superiority in speed, IE still feels significantly slower than Firefox for me. I haven’t voluntarily used IE for probably a couple of years now. Firefox’s interface is just that much better.

(* The people who wrote these comments own them, bla bla.)

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