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A Glimpse in to an "Enterprise" Intranet

The purpose of this document is to raise awareness of what Firefox is up against in a common enterprise environment. "Enterprise" refers to companies, organizations, and government.

Firefox is commonly used by people who have never had to experience the use of enterprise networks. Yet such networks are used by thousands of people hundreds of thousands of times over. Because such networks are locked away from the public, it is difficult to see what barriers to Firefox adoption lie within.

Such barriers include the proliferation of Microsoft applications, broken web applications, incompetent designers, and cluelessness in management.

Microsoft Exchange / Outlook Web Access

One very common enterprise application is Microsoft Exchange e-mail.

Generally Microsoft Outlook, a proprietary Win32 client, is more commonly used to access Microsoft Exchange, however some people use the "Web Access" component.

Right off the bat, it greets Web Access users with "If you are using a browser than Internet Explorer 6 or later" you can only use the Light client."

Allegedly the idea behind the so-called "Light client" is that it is supposed to be compatible with older browsers. However, the Light client provides a vastly inferior experience to users of the modern Firefox browser.

Exchange 2007 viewed with IE

Exchange 2007 "Light Client" as viewed in Firefox. 

A few things IE gets that Firefox doesn't:

And with with Firefox new messages don't automatically open in a new window - although arguably that is a good thing.

And if you think Exchange 2007 is bad, Exchange 2003 was worse!

Microsoft Project Server Web Access
Microsoft Reject Server
Microsoft Project Server 2007 in IE
At least Internet Explorer version 6 is needed to use Microsoft Project Web Access
Microsoft Project Server 2007 in Firefox

This is a favorite toy of most management. It's used to display pretty graphs of all the insane deadlines they have set.

The 1990s called. They want their Win32-only Active X back. Supposedly this isn't even "supported" on 64-bit Windows, even with IE.

As you can see, Firefox doesn't stand a chance of running this as this is not even a true "web app".

Sharepoint in IE
Sharepoint in Firefox

This is the new shiny Microsoft thing that has all the upper management buzzing recently. According to them this is the web app environment that will solve all problems!

With this product, Microsoft gives Firefox "Tier 2" support. In other words they snub their noses at it.

Like exchange, even though you can get around in it with Firefox, there are many "IE only" features. Even formatting text in an input box is restricted to IE. Despite the fact that every message board on the Internet has been able to do that in Firefox for years.

Other IE only features include editing spreadsheet-like data, and drag-and-drop file management.

Quest "ActiveRoles"

Quest ActiveRoles in IE

Quest ActiveRoles in Firefox

A little something that can be used to let users edit their Microsoft Exchange contact information.

For some dumb reason it only permits IE even just for entering a few text fields.

Pages from the HTML Cuisinart

It's like somebody put a bunch of HTML in the blender and pressed the "mix" button! These kinds of pages are all too common. Because they were developed by brain dead monkeys reporting their time in 15-minute intervals, who left years ago and nobody knows enough about the system to fix it.

Other issues

A few other problems Intranet enviorments have with Firefox:

In short, this is what you might find on a corporate internal network. Don't be like this.

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