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I was thinking just now about how long this site has been around. It’s been long enough now that I forget quite how long it is. I would guess around three or four years. It started off with just ShellOn and one of the most weird designed I have ever come up with. It had a black background with white text and a logo that I knocked up in Adobe ImageStyler in about five minutes. Still, for a first site, I was quite impressed. I was using tables, which for some reason surprised many people I spoke to, for they thought frames would have to be used for a layout like that.

How things have changed. Back then I was one of the ‘getting it to look right in IE’ crowd, happily using whatever hacks were about to sort the page out like I wanted it to look. I’d used Netscape, but IE seemed much better. In fact, back then, IE was much better than most of the other browsers out there. IE5 was one of the best browsers around at the time, a much smoother ride than NN4 was willing to give.

As time passed, things changed. I saw that there were other browsers and tried them out, but for a long time I stuck with IE. Opera was the main ‘other’ browser I tried out. I tried both versions 4 and 5 before going back to IE, it was only with Opera 6 that I finally made the switch to Opera full time. And so I used Opera for a year or so as my main browser. Then, I started to use Linux. Much as I liked Opera, their Linux version just wasn’t quite as polished. Maybe this is due to the toolkit used, Qt, which I didn’t use anywhere else on my Linux box, so it looked fairly out of place. I tried Mozilla, but that seems clunky and slow. So I contiued using Opera a while. Then I realised how many other Gecko based browsers there were and tried out Galeon, which blended in superbly with my GTK desktop. However, there were many things I didn’t quite get on with in Galean. Then, I found the Phoenix project. I tried a few nightlies, but didn’t think so much of them for quite a while; it was just too buggy to be used day-to-day. I was won over by the 0.5 version, however, and haven’t looked back since.

The main point of this little diatribe is to urge you to go and try the other browsers out there. Now IE isn’t being developed outside of new OS releases, there is no reason to continue using it. <a href=“http://www.mozilla.org/projects/firebird/”>Firebird</a> and <a href=“http://www.opera.com/”>Opera</a> are much better browsers if you are willing to take the hour to learn how to use them well. If you take the plunge, you won’t regret it.

Seeing some of the cool stuff new CSS techniques are making possible, I really don’t want to have to wait until 2008 to be able to use them. Which is when new IE will be widespead enough to warrent their use. After Netscape’s death, don’t forget there are still other browsers to choose from!