Paul Roub

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On IE View Automatically Launching URLs

Michael Slattery writes, regarding a hypothetical IE View-like Firefox extension:

It could come preconfigured with all known sites that have problems (like msn.com), but allow a user to add custom entries

Some form of this will almost certainly happen, given sufficient free time on my part… there’s a Bugzilla entry about just this. Bottom line is that it’s simply a lot more work to trap all sorts of link activations than the simple stuff IE View does now.

But as for the preconfigured list? Unlikely – actually, about 100% certain that I won’t do it. Why not?

  1. Who comes up with the list?
  2. Based on what criteria? Is an “unsupported browser version” warning message enough, or do we draw the line at non-functional or Firefox-forbidden sites?
  3. Aren’t we further lessening the likelihood of these sites developing a clue if we more-or-less-automatically route around the problems?
  4. What do we do when a site is fixed?
  5. At least with the current IE View behavior, the site’s stats will show an initial hit from Firefox. Automatically skip to IE, and they’ll never know you were there at all.

It’s not a bad idea, at all, but the likelihood of getting it right for all – or even most – users is vanishingly small, and the downsides are worth considering.

User-supplied filters, an “always view in IE” item in the context menu – these seem more workable in the long run. That and continued evangelism – particularly if you’re a paying customer of the site that’s blocking your preferred browser.