UPDATE 3/8/2013: I can no longer recommend IE View Pluggin for Firefox. A recent update to the pluggin now includes JavaScript for superfish.com. While IE View was helpful as I reprogrammed myself to make the switch to Firefox and open enterprise resources in IE, I have fully reprogrammed my habits in the last 3 years and no longer need the Pluggin. (I also use 3 browsers at work: IE for enterprise sites, Firefox as my default, and Chrome for departmental logins.)

This is the exact reason I originally posted the disclaimer at the end about security (or privacy) issues arising and to always check recent reviews to make sure you get the most up to date information about an app, software, or plugin.

However, this post is still useful as a case study in the reason you may want to use multiple browsers so I will leave it up without edits.

I recently made the switch to 100% Firefox. Well, with the exception for two sites, which I will get to in a moment.

My browsing experience relies heavily on productivity, whether it is for work or personal use. I hesitated switching because my work is heavily embedded in Microsoft products (Outlook, Sharepoint, etc) as well as web applications (Web content, IBM Cognos). I needed to be able to use each of these systems without switching back and forth between Firefox and Internet Explorer. I also had to force myself to only use Firefox by removing the shortcut to IE. This posed a problem early on when I realized I couldn’t auto-check-out and save documents back to Sharepoint using Firefox.

No problem, I made a bat file with the following code and added it to my quick launch:

This made Sharepoint more like an application plus I now had a link that went directly to it. However, an hour later, I was using our web content app and found I couldn’t upload files to the web directory. On a side note, the switch to Firefox has been relatively painless. I can use 99% of the features in my work’s web applications, and could go a day or two before finding a glitch. However, when I find a glitch, it is a major one (such as no check-in/check-out or uploading).

I was forced to make a decision between three choices: dump Firefox, create another bat file, or install an IE pluggin.

I didn’t want to dump Firefox as I had come so far and was enjoying the security benefits of having it locked down with the NoScript pluggin (which I love!). I dreaded creating another bat file as I may start to end up with more and more of them as I found other minor (yet important) functions on web apps I couldn’t use. I certainly did not want to install a pluggin that emulated IE as who knows what security risks that would unleash.

I also wanted a solution that would allow me to not only use Firefox for myself, but eventually convert my department to Firefox use. That meant any work based sites needed to work seamlessly without the hassle of remembering to open Internet Explorer for this, and Firefox for that.

I did a search and found a pluggin that doesn’t emulate IE, doesn’t use the IE API, and essentially doesn’t let IE touch Firefox. It is called IE View and was developed by Paul Roub. Even better, you can set certain sites to automatically launch IE when you browse to them within Firefox.

Ability to set Always in IE Sites

Options >> Main tab >> Always In IE

You can designate what sites always open in Internet Explorer. For example, if you have two web apps that you need to use which don’t work with Firefox you can enter their URLs into the add field and the moment you click on a link or type it into the Firefox address bar, it will [poof!] open IE and you can be on your merry way.

For example, if I wanted https://ms-sharepoint.myintranet.com to always open in IE because Firefox can’t handle check-in/check-out procedures, I would add that to the Always Open in IE field. Same with http://web-editor.myintranet.com.

Does not use the IE “API” from within Firefox

Again, my biggest concern was installing a pluggin that would place an IE window within the Firefox browser. Especially if it was always on (what would be the point) or activated automatically without my knowledge (again what would be the point of using Firefox?).

Because this pluggin just opens IE for you (with your knowledge) it really makes it seamless.

I know there are die hard anti-IE people out there, but c’mon, I need to do my job. Plus, by automatically having Firefox launch IE for sites that aren’t 100% compatible which are on my TRUSTED work intranet anyway, there should be no issue. Now, if I started adding YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, etc to the Always Open in IE list, then yes, that would be stupid. I would just deal with any incompatibilities. I only recommend this for those sites that are work related (and maybe those others that you really, really… really trust).

Download IE View from Mozilla’s Web site (eh, see my update from 3/8/2013 below before installing)

Please note: Security issues may arise after this article was written or there may be issues not known to me as I post. Check the date. If any issues are made known to me forcing me to lose favor with a particular product I will post such information in a separate blog post. Please do your own research (outside of my research) and check the tag(s) “IE View”, “firefox” and “NoScript” on this site for any recent posts about products mentioned in this post. If you have any ideas or concerns, please post a comment and I will take it into consideration. Also note, I am not a security expert, just a security minded power user–the best kind of user there is!

UPDATE 3/8/2013: I can no longer recommend IE View Pluggin for Firefox. A recent update to the pluggin now includes JavaScript for superfish.com. While IE View was helpful as I reprogrammed myself to make the switch to Firefox and open enterprise resources in IE, I have fully reprogrammed my habits in the last 3 years and no longer need the Pluggin. (I also use 3 browsers at work: IE for enterprise sites, Firefox as my default, and Chrome for departmental logins.)

This is the exact reason I originally posted the disclaimer at the end about security (or privacy) issues arising and to always check recent reviews to make sure you get the most up to date information about an app, software, or plugin.

However, this post is still useful as a case study in the reason you may want to use multiple browsers so I will leave it up without edits.

About Chad Leigh Kluck

I enjoy technology development and management by following new trends, change and disruption, and security. I have a Master of Science in Software Engineering and my hobbies include railroads, history, do-it-yourself projects, writing, and ham radio (K0RRX). More...

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