Browsers

Here’s a great article on the educational reasons why Firefox should be standard on institutional standard builds

Browsers: “

Firefox

Educational reasons why education institutions should provide Firefox on the standard disk image for client (staff and student) desktops.
Background: IT may want to only support one browser.

  • Pedagogical reasons:
    • We need to help students become bi-browseral (aka bi-lingual), i.e., students should be learning to make effective use of the two most frequent browsers in the market – only providing one browser risks inadequately preparing students for work environments.
    • FF is free and opensource..non-propriety..good model of use for education.
    • Need to test web materials on multiple browsers because students are not all using IE.
    • Production subjects require more than one browser to test pages in – IE and Firefox at a minimum
    • It is important for a public educational institution to be non-proprietary where possible.
  • Features:
    • IE6 doesn’t offer tabbed browsing (IE7 is better but not supported at UC?)
    • FF has lots of add-ons (this one really needs to be emphasised – it has GREAT add ons- RG) – to not include FF on the desktop will be to actively discourage users from utilising many valuable research and productivity tools that are becoming common and expected features for the workflow of an increasing proportion of staff and numbers.
    • FF supports RSS feeds and good feed management – this is becoming especially important to teaching and learning
    • Firefox is faster than IE and more stable
    • FF is a cross-platform browser, supported on Mac, Windows, and Linux (IE is windows only) – thus students can be trained once for both platforms (saves on training costs and lost tutorial times) – this suggests Firefox should be the standard browser, with platform-specific browsers such as IE, Safari, etc. supported as secondary browsers.
  • Security
  • Standards compliance
    • IE is not standards compliant does not fully support W3 standards
    • Lack of standards compliance should be a major issue for the University, as web-based applications developed for IE may not be compatible with future versions of IE.
    • There is a good business case for not standardising to IE because of its lack of standards compliance.
  • Usage
    • Many people already use and prefer FF, especially people who like using computers
    • According to http://www.w3schools.com/browsers/browsers_stats.asp about 1/3rd of the population use FF, one half IE
      • Within educational institutions with more demanding users, this figure may be substantially higher
    • Numerous students now use Apple computers at home or as laptops – they will not be using IE since it is not supported on Macs
    • The trend is towards increased use of FF, not less; if UC decides not to support FF, we’re moving against the tide – is there a sound reason for doing this? According to one study, in 2005 26% of companies supported FF. In only one year that figure jumped to 44%. See IE7 Vs. Firefox 2.0: Why This Browser Battle Matters To Business
  • Business case
    • What is the business case for not supporting more than one browser?
    • Surely there’s a case for user choice, esp given that it’s not even complicated – it’s just a browser
    • What support ‘costs’ are associated with supporting more than one browser?
  • Customisation

More information

(Via Wikispaces : talo – all changes.)

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