Cloud computing and company web apps have raised the profile of web browsers in business, but how on earth do you decide which browser?
Once upon a time, important corporate applications were delivered either to desktops or through classic client/server infrastructures. Now, many of the applications that your company relies on are delivered to the web browser, and this makes the browser more important than ever when it comes to business.
With all of the major web browser makers releasing new versions of their wares in the last year, users have several very good and innovative choices. You can choose the browser that works best for you or even choose to use several different browsers for different tasks.
However, few companies are willing to be so egalitarian when it comes to browsers.
Most companies will probably want to standardise on one, or maybe two browsers, that are acceptable for company use. By doing this, companies can ease support and development issues centred on corporate web applications and general browser use.
But how do you decide which browser your company will use? It isn’t as simple as picking the best browser. You’ll need a browser that works well with your important web-based enterprise applications, isn’t plagued with security issues and can be easily supported by IT.
Testing five browsers
In this report, eWEEK Labs looks at all of the major web browsers: Microsoft Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Apple Safari, Google Chrome and Opera Software’s Opera.
I tested these browsers based on the criteria most important to businesses; administrative capabilities, application compatibility, security and performance.
I rotated use of the browsers on a daily basis, on different systems and platforms. I also ran some specific tests in areas such as application compatibility and performance. While I did do some testing with beta versions of some of the browsers, the majority of tests were performed using the current versions of the browsers;
- IE 8,
- Firefox 3.0,
- Safari 3.2,
- Chrome 2.0 and
- Opera 9.6.
No browser came out as the clear choice for any business. As with most applications, a company will need to look at the issues most important to it and pick the browser that best fits its needs.
For any business, the most important criterion by far when picking a web browser is application compatibility. A web browser could have the greatest features, fastest performance and best standards support, but if it can’t run the sales applications you use, it’s essentially useless.