September 15, 2003
MyIE2: Internet Explorer on Steroids?
LawTech Guru Rating: 4.5 (out of 5)
Unhappy with the prospect that Microsoft could stagnate Internet Explorer 6.0? It doesn't mean you have to suffer without IE innovation and new features until Longhorn, the next Windows version, is speculated to be released in 2005 or 2006.
Ever since Mozilla hit the scene, I've really liked its tabbed browsing (initially introduced by the Opera browser), pop-up blocking, and numerous other features. After a while, using IE just felt like driving last year's model.
Enter MyIE2, a browser that's based on the IE extension architecture. Simply put, MyIE2 puts its own interface over the top of IE (IE 5.x or IE 6.0 required). I just took it for a test spin, and really like it.
Check out the added features for IE 5 & 6 when using MyIE2:
I ran SpyBot and Ad-aware (both latest versions and fully updated) on my PC after installing MyIE2, and it came up clean. Thus it doesn't appear to install any adware or spyware.
I still think Mozilla beats IE in rendering speed and standards compliance. If you want sheer performance, try Firebird. These browsers, along with Opera, are leading the charge in innovation. Despite this review's catchy title, MyIE2 can't improve upon IE's rendering performance, as it's more of a feature facelift. Another downside is that MyIE2's pull-down menus are somewhat cluttered with features, so it's a bit difficult to quickly find the desired feature or setting.
Other minor annoyances include the lack of displaying the IE link bar by default, which is where I keep my frequently-accessed sites. MyIE2 has a feature for marking selected IE bookmarks as "Most Favorite", but it's just not as convenient as IE's link bar. Fortunately, MyIE2's support forum decribes how to set your IE Links folder to appear on the MYIE2 "Favorites" bar to restore the IE Link bar equivalent, so it's not really missing. Also, the "close window" "X" buttons are not located on the same bar as the tabbed browser windows -- which requires some extra mousing to close the embedded browser windows, especially when I have the "autohide" feature enabled. But again, these are fairly minor, and thoughtful features like "minimize to system tray" help offset these shortcomings.
[Addendum 10/7/03: After further use, I've discovered there are several additional methods for closing the tabbed browser windows without using the standard "X" buttons on MyIE2's System Bar: 1) Double-click on the desired tab button, 2) Right-click on the tab button and click on "Close", and 3) Add the "Click Close Button" by clicking on the "Options" pull-down menu, then click on "MyIE2 Options", click on the "Tab" category on the left, and customize the options further, including checking the "Quick Close Button" option. I particularly like the ability to quickly close any tabs by double-clicking on them. However, it does take some care to avoid double-clicking when you intended a single click to select it instead of closing it.]
If you don't like switching back and forth between IE and another browser like Mozilla (think of the bookmark management issues), or just want to give IE some zing, this is one to check out. The tabbed browsing feature alone is worth the trip, especially in conjunction with the group tab save and restore. I also like how the skins and 3D menus really spruce up IE's plain jane appearance. Who knows? Perhaps we just might see some of these features in IE7. So here's your chance to drive next-next year's model today. (After all, Longhorn isn't due until at least 2005.)
Perhaps the best part is that MyIE2 flies in the face of Brian Countryman's (Microsoft's Program Manager in Internet Explorer) statement that "Legacy OSes have reached their zenith with the addition of IE 6 SP1. Further improvements to IE will require enhancements to the underlying OS." After all, think of all the great improvements MyIE2 added as an extension to IE 5.x and 6.0, and it just happens to run on "legacy OSes" such as Windows 98.
The price? Per its donation page: "MyIE2 is free, which means you could use it free of charge for non-commercial purpose [sic]."
Pretty darn good for this much functionality.
[Updated 9/22/03 re: tabbed browsing and IE link bar features.]
Topic(s): Web Wizardry
Posted by Jeff Beard