Home > Web Browsers > 5 extremely basic things Internet Explorer is missing

5 extremely basic things Internet Explorer is missing


It really is sad how primitive Internet Explorer still is, compared to the other browsers. From its clunky Trident rendering engine, to its somehow “crowded minimalist interface”, to its tab bar that is filled up with three pages open, not to mention all of the security problems under the hood, as well as its lack of web standards support. But there are still a few things that we all expect web browsers to have, but they’re still not integrated into the world’s most used (and bundled) browser.

1. Spell checking.

All decent word processors have a spell checker, and now that more and more people are composing email, blog posts, tweets, and other pieces of writing online, a web browser should also employ the same feature. And Firefox, Chrome, Safari, and Opera do. The dead Netscape Navigator has it. “WorldWideWeb”, the first, I repeat first, web browser, launched in 1991, had spell checking. So, it seems only fair that the browser bundled with 9 out of 10 PCs worldwide should have it. Sadly, it doesn’t.

2. A download manager.

Download managers are simple pieces of software integrated into web browsers that allow users to view a history of files that they have downloaded. They also let you see what files are currently being downloaded. Firefox, Chrome, Safari, and Opera have them, but Internet Explorer does not.

3. Support for SVG images.

A relatively new but already widely supported image format, SVG, a type of vector image format, differs from the leading formats, JPEG, PNG, and GIF, known as raster image formats, in one key way: rather than using pixels to display an image, SVG simply consists of shapes, which can be blown into infinite sizes. Supported by Firefox, Chrome, Safari, and Opera, SVG is a step forward for graphics. It’s too bad Internet Explorer needs an add-on, downloaded separately, to display them.

4. Availability in a wide range of languages.

Internet Explorer is currently available in 33 different languages. That may seem like a lot, but take this into account: Firefox is available in 75 different languages. Google Chrome is available in 50. Epiphany, a Mozilla-powered (soon to be WebKit powered) web browser that comes with some distributions of Linux, is available in 70 different languages. Maxthon, an IE-based web browser that runs on the same layout engine, supports 42 different languages. Opera is available in 40. Safari only supports 14, probably due to the poor reception of Macs outside the United States. Internet Explorer may not be really be completely behind the pack on this one, but a browser included on almost all PCs throughout the world needs to be available in a large number of languages.

5. The ability to be cleanly uninstalled.

Internet Explorer is embedded deep into the Windows operating system, making it almost impossible to completely uninstall. And after facing numerous lawsuits and repeated criticism for that reason, it looks like there’s hope: IE8 can be disabled, but not uninstalled, in Windows 7. This is a step in the right direction, and adding the option to completely uninstall IE might not be optimal, as there is still a significant bias on the web leaning towards Microsoft and Trident.

There may be more to this list, too. If you’ve thought of something that I forgot, be sure to leave it in the comments!

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Categories: Web Browsers
  1. October 28, 2009 at 5:23 pm

    > 3. Support for SVG images.

    MS attended (and sponsored) SVG Open earlier this month.
    At the very least they’re not ignoring SVG.

    Plus with SVGWeb you can do SVG on IE without needing an extra install.
    And there’s also Chrome Frame.

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