The people at Mozilla who are responsible for Firefox deserve admiration. They were the first organization to take on the IE monopoly effectively in the early 2000 time frame by targeting better standards adherence and strong JavaScript support. True, Opera had been battling Redmond much earlier and for a longer period of time but their effort was devoted to non-standard gestures, forms and a mobile capability[this latter has stood them in good stead following recent mobile trends and the surprising approval of the Opera mobile browser for the iPhone].

But Apple Safari and Google Chrome were nowhere to be seen when Mozilla threw the gauntlet on Redmond’s freezing of all feature enhancements to its IE browser. Firefox by 2006 with slow but sure market share gains, forced  Microsoft to succumb and upgrade IE with new features. But after promising a rapid series of IE upgrades, Microsoft dallied again while Mozilla churned out an agile fast upgrade every 4-8 months. With Apple [forced by the dropping of support for IE on Mac in mid 2003 to get back into the browser game] and then Google Chrome in September 2008 both showing superior HTML, CSS, DOM and JavaScript standards adherence and speed/performance closely matching Firefox [and in some cases exceeding Firefox], the Redmond delaying gig was up. As  IE continues to lose major market share, Redmond officially threw in the towel  a second time and announced in the  Spring of 2010 another  significant commitment to speed and standards improvement with the  IE9 Preview browser. There is another commitment to rapid  updates [now set at   every 7-9 weeks for the IE9 Previews – the second preview is out about on schedule] .

But Mozilla has lost some of its momentum as Google now tops the glitzy speed of JavaScript performance mark but still is not nearly as standards conformant as Firefox which has much better JavaScript E4X [its in Firefox but neither Chrome nor Safari] and XForms and SMIL and  SVG implementations as well as better features with many more themes and extensions plus a broader feature set including better developer tools with Firebug, etc.

So do look through  the  slideshow above and see if you can agree – Firefox continues to innovate and compete very well in the new Web 2.0 + HTML5 Browser Wars.