Tag Archives: browsers

Browser Extensions: A Call For Standardization

I use Firefox as my main browser, and have since it was released pretty much. Over that time I have become dependent on a variety of extensions. ColorZilla, Web Developer, Firebug, StumbleUpon, etc.. I use them daily, and a browser without them would feel…incomplete to me.

What if I wanted to switch to another browser, say Safari? The new Safari 4 Beta is pretty good. I couldn’t take those wonderful extensions with me. (Of course, I’m happy with Firefox…providing Mozilla can fix it’s slow launch time soon…)

Many browsers support extensions of some sort. Safari and Internet Explorer do now, following Firefox’s lead.

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How Much Longer Will IE Last?

Internet Explorer CSSInternet Explorer is notorious for it’s laughable support for W3C standards. Look around in the web design community and you’ll find that a lot of designers do not like the browser one bit, as a result of having to find workarounds so a page that will display in most other browsers will work in IE as well.

Security isn’t exactly the browser’s strongpoint either, as the public is becoming increasingly aware of.

Microsoft has been losing market share in the browser area for the past few years, as people move away from IE. Slowly but surely, IE’s userbase is decreasing, and other browsers are picking up the switchers. Internet Explorer has 43.6% market share as of February, down from the 54.7% early last year, or the 91.1% from early 2005.

Firefox is up to 46.4% market share now, while Chrome, Safari, and Opera collectively have roughly 7%. (Chrome has shown very fast growth considering its age.) The general public is becoming more aware of browing alternatives, and the security benefits of switching to them. More people are buying Macs too, which include Apple’s Safari browser instead of Internet Explorer. People are learning, and moving away from IE.

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What You Must Know About the New Safari 4 Beta

Safari 4 Top SitesMy first post at NETTUTS was published a few days ago. What You Must Know About the New Safari 4 Beta is an overview of the beta of Apple’s latest browser release.

The updated browser is lean and lightning fast, and it passes both the ACID2 and the ACID3 test.

With Safari 4 and Google Chrome on the loose, Mozilla needs to get going and deflate Firefox’s bloat, ans fix the overly large startup time especially. The New Browser Wars are upon us, and this time it’s between Mozilla, Apple, and Google.

Read the full details on Apple’s new browser over at NETTUTS.

CSS Tip: Remove Link and Form Field Outlines

In most browsers, a dotted outline appears around links when they are clicked.

In some cases, this is annoying, such as with a JavaScript tabbed box or a graphical navigation menu. While it’s a minor issue, it still doesn’t look quite right…

Then you have Macs. In Apple’s Safari web browser, or any browser running under Mac OS X, when you click inside a form field to start typing, a glowing blue outline appears around it.

While it’s a nice touch, it doesn’t always look quite right. If you style the form field with custom borders and background images, then it can look really odd.

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Only 4.13% of the Web is Standards Compliant?

Browser maker Opera has conducted a recent study to see how much of the web is standards compliant. Using a specialized web crawler, dubbed “MAMA” for “Metadata Analysis and Mining Application,” that searches around 3.5 million pages, the company has determined that a mere 4.13% of the web is standards compliant.

Of course, one wonders about the accuracy of this study. There are certainly more than 3.5 million pages on the internet. Perhaps they were only searching a portion of the web that had less valid pages? And does a site with 100 non-compliant pages count as 100 invalid pages? How many of those sites are invalid because they try to comply to Microsoft’s bogus standard (a.k.a the “does it look alright in IE?” standard) at the same time?

I can understand the small figure, and maybe it is realistic. After all, many a website almost validates, such as Reddit.com, which has one lone (and minor) error stopping it from validating. And heck, Google and Amazon are validity-challenged. Amazon has “1445 Errors, 135 warning(s)” on it’s front page.

Many monolithic sites that you’d think would validate don’t, though they look fine in most browsers anyway. This brings up an interesting question: Does it matter whether you meet the standard to the letter, or is it okay if it looks fine in all of the standards-compliant browsers? What’s your opinion?

News article: Opera study: only 4.13% of the web is standards-compliant

Interesting Reddit Discussion: http://www.reddit.com/r/programming/comments/77grk/

Browsershots

BrowserShots.org is a service that, as the name suggests, can show you screenshots of what a website looks like in a multitude of browsers and conputer configurations. (If you’ve already heard of the service, sorry I’m boring you to death. :D )

You can select from a wide variety of browser makes and models, choose from four operating systems, and then specify further parameters such as resolution and color depth.

It’s a great concept, and a useful service I’ve used on more than once occasion. (Now I know for sure that Fantasy Folder looks right in pretty much every fairly modern browser, save for some PNG transparency issues in IE5-IE6). The only problem I have with it is it takes at least 20 minutes for them to process a group of twenty screenshots, and then I only have ten more minutes to look through them before they expire and are deleted (unless I click the Extend button to get a few more minutes). Maybe I’m a little impatient, but I don’t think more than three to five minutes of waiting should be necessary.

Anyway, if you don’t happen to have twelve different computers to test various configurations and browsers, you’ll probably appreciate Browsershots.

Chrome: Google’s Shiny New Browser

After years of rumor and speculation, Google finally released a web browser. Google Chrome is the company’s attempt to make a web browser that fits the times better than the others.

Since we spend so much time online, we began seriously thinking about what kind of browser could exist if you started from scratch and built on the best elements out there. We realized that the web had evolved from mainly simple text pages to rich, interactive applications and that we needed to completely rethink the browser. What we really needed was not just a browser, but also a modern platform for web pages and applications, and that’s what we set out to build.

Thus Chrome came about. Chrome is a clean and easy to use browser, designed to be clutter-free, and to use less system resources than other browsers. I installed it on a Gateway machine with 1.25GB of RAM and a Pentium D (there’s no Mac or Linux version yet). After clicking the desktop shortcut, the browser opened in less than a second, and used significantly less resources than Firefox 3 when left idle with one tab open.

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Fighting Internet Explorer 6

Adii, the web designer who created Premium News Theme, and one of the people behind WooThemes, is seriously considering dropping Internet Explorer 6 support from future works, and charging a premium if a client requests it.

I’ve been contemplating about what to do re: IE6 for a while now, and it wasn’t until Elliot published his announcement last week that I decided that I will indeed follow suite. So from now on, I will be adding a premium (probably 10% / 15%) on all custom design work, should the client request IE6 compliance.

Go for it, Adii! IE6 is over seven years old now, which is rather long for any piece of static software (meaning software that dosn’t have software updates pushed to it, like an operating system or such). It’s CSS standards are laughable, and it’s about time it went away.

Do you want to do something to help combat Internet Explorer 6? Campaigns to kill the web browser that just won’t die: Internet Explorer 6.

StumbleUpon Comes to Opera

The popular social bookmarking StumbleUpon has long caused problems for users of thr Opera web browser. Their lack of a toolbar for Opera has annoyed them for quite some time now. There have been some less than perfect solutions in the past, as well as a very good solution — switch to Firefox — that a lot of the users probably don’t want to do.

Well, there’s another option out now. It’s called Opera Stumbler. It has most of the features of the official StumbleUpon toolbar, but in a menu up on the menu bar instead. It looks like a fairly workable solution, though I haven’t tried it myself yet.

I’m a card-carrying Firefox fanatic, and I couldn’t live without my Firefox extensions, so I doubt I’ll be seeing much use of this for my own purposes, but I know that quite a few of you use Opera (according to Google Analytics). Hopefully you’ll find this useful.

Poll Results: What’s Your Browser Startpage?

Around mid-July, I asked you what you used for your browser’s homepage. Unlike most of my polls, I this time allowed the selection of multiple options, seeing as most modern browsers allow you to have multiple tabs open on startup.

We ended up with some interesting results, and, predictably, Google is the #1 choice.

An interesting strategy, though quite different from mine, which is to have a custom page with links to my Google Apps email page, and the like.

The numbers are as follows: 40% of the 50 votes have Google.com, 20% use Netvibes, iGoogle, or similar; 20% use “other,” 16% about:blank, 6% a custom HTML file, 2% use Yahoo or AOL, and another 2% have their blog set as their homepage.

Google is leading by a large margin, which I kind of expected. Really, it makes a good homepage. It’s quick to load and fairly empty, sort of like about:blank, but it provides some useful function as well.

Michael Martin of Pro Blog Design uses this strategy:

My blog, Todoist, Google Reader and Digg.I read Digg first, then Google Reader. Once I close each of those tabs, I try not to open them again until the next day. It usually works.