Thanks to the comment left by Mariam, on my IE7 RELEASED (for most)! entry I learned something interesting, Microsoft has a site, Add-Ons For Internet Explorer. Now given my experience (nearly 2 years now) with using Mozilla Firefox as well as Netscape, when I think add-ons I think extensions. Extensions, as in min-programs that integrate into and can be managed (removed, configured or disabled) via the browser. Extensions which are one with your browser. I was somewhat excited, thinking finally IE has moved into the 21st century!
As I looked through this site I notice these “add-ons” are not extensions. Sure they may integrate or become part of the browser, but they are third-party standalone programs which will take up a lot more hard drive space (some take up several MB) than a Firefox extension. Further because these are standalone programs, some of them are not free or are shareware. Finally, while they may be ‘approved’ by Microsoft, one has to wonder is there a standard to which these add-ons need to follow? No, these add-ons certainly can not be compared to extensions.
So if I were to install one of these add-ons (not that I have or will), I have to agree to yet another EULA for the software and I end up with more programs runnig in the background (as if I don’t already have enough of those) not to mention another program loading while Windows starts. If I want remove the add-on I would need to run the uninstaller (if there is one) or go through the Windows Control Panel, ‘Add/Remove’ Programs.
Heck I wouldn’t be surprised if after I have removed the add-on I would have to reboot the PC. At least removing or adding a Firefox extension, I only need to restart the browser. I wish Firefox was more like Opera 9, where widgets (extensions) and skins (themes) can be added and removed on the fly (no need restart the browser).
Firefox still has the advantage here with their ‘add-ons’, which don’t take up as nearly much space, can be managed through the browser and most importantly, will always be FREE and NEVER be shareware.
As I looked through IE7 features as well as the limited number of Add-Ons which are available, I notice IE7 seems to be lacking in some areas. Sure it does have built-in pop-up blocking (about time) as well as anti-phishing, but two now STANDARD features in Firefox 2, Inline Spellcheck and Session Restore don’t appear to be part of IE7. There is however are a few add-ons for spellcheck, but nothing like what is included with Firefox 2.