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The first Concordance was built using Internet Explorer 6, which was at the time the most popular web browser. The idea was to make the software work with the most commonly used tools. Without seriously checking out or comparing other browsers, I just assumed, mistakenly, that there was no dramatically superior product readily available.
Later I tested the software on every other commonly used browser and found, to my surprise, that everything worked better in Firefox. The reason is simple. The Concordance is a tool for searching and the browser’s “Find Button” (generally [CTRL + F]), is the keystone of the whole system. With most browsers you type in a search string, press RETURN and then wait for it to find the search string. That’s ok when it works, but if the string is not found, you are given no clue as to why it was not found. Then you have to start guessing.
With Firefox, each letter you type in the search string causes the frame to scroll to the next match. This is really cool to watch the cursor jump to the next match as you type the string. The instant your string has no match, the search box goes red and you know in that instant what the problem is. This is particularly useful in phrase searches, but is also useful in instantly recognizing typing mistakes.
This is difficult to describe in words, but as soon as you try it, you will see what I mean. It is much quicker and more effective at finding things and identifying typing errors in your search string. Also, you find what you’re looking for faster because you usually don’t have to type the entire string!
Also, by adding a space before and/or after the string, Firefox will discriminate between “not” and “nothing” for example. That is, it will do “whole word only” searches in that manner. You don’t have to go to a dialog box and check boxes. By typing all caps, the search will be almost entirely confined to the Wordlist frame, whereas typing regular lower case strings, the search will extend to all frames.
This kind of flexibility is much more difficult, clumsy and time-consuming to achieve in other browsers.
In 2006 I think it was, Microsoft “upgraded” Internet Explorer 6 to version 7 and astonishingly, the Concordances would not work at all in that version. It handles frames differently. Every other browser tested does work with Concordance, but none has such good text search capability as Firefox. But Internet Explorer 7 doesn’t work at all.
Now there is a workaround to make things function to some extent in Internet Explorer 7 which has been implemented. The best this does is enable limited, clumsy capability with IE 7. To get the full power of the Concordances, you need Firefox anyway. It’s free and it is all around better than Internet Explorer 7.
So, unless there is intense demand, I’m not going to “fix” this software to work with Microsoft’s latest abomination. I’m just going to say “install Firefox you won’t regret it.”
Firefox is not just better for the Concordances, it is better period! As I write (May 2008) Firefox 3 is in beta test and will soon be released. I haven’t tried it on the Concordance software. Here’s a prayer that it won’t introduce any incompatibilities. Just in case there might be a problem, Firefox 2 is provided on the DVD.
Setting the Default Browser
There are many ways to set a given browser as the default. Here are a couple of handy ones.
In order to ensure that Firefox is used to display the HTML files, when it first loads (right after installation) it will ask if you wish to make it your default browser. Click “Yes.” If you wish to make another browser the default later, simply load that other browser from the start menu, from a desktop icon, or from “All Files” and it will ask you if you wish to make it the default. If you do, click yes.
This software will load the HTML pages into the current “default browser.”
To change the default directly, from Windows Explorer right click on any HTML file, such as index.htm in the DVD root directory. Then click Open With and then Choose Program. Simply designate which program you wish to be the default by clicking on it and then check the box marked “Always use the selected program to open this kind of file”. The default program can be changed easily and quickly should you desire to do so.