Tag Archives: Web Browsers

IE: Sucking Hard Since Version 5

This code (extracted from a javascript file) works in every major browser except IE (including IE8):

          'frameWidth' : 500,
          'frameHeight' : 465,
          'hideOnContentClick' : false,
          'centerOnScroll' : true,

This is the fix:

          'frameWidth' : 500,
          'frameHeight' : 465,
          'hideOnContentClick' : false,
          'centerOnScroll' : true

See the difference? Yeah, neither did I. The difference is the last comma in the argument list.

That’s 3 consecutive major versions of IE that have been absolutely crap.  Why anyone continues to use IE is beyond me.  IE: sucking hard since version 5.

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IE8 STILL Doesn’t Support CSS border-radius

I find it absolutely amazing that IE8 doesn’t support border-radius. No wonder more & more people think IE sucks. It’s just ugly.

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Firefox is Still King When It Comes to Development

At home, I prefer Camino.  At work, I use Google Chrome.  I find both to be very pleasurable experiences.  But no browser out there comes even close to challenging Firefox when it comes to development.  

First of all, extensions such as Stylish and Firebug are invaluable.  In fact, scratch Firebug, the default Firefox error console alone is aces to me.

Is there anyone who can tell me why no browser besides Firefox has a “View Background Image” link even as an option? How come no other browser has developer friendly stuff? I know that the Web Inspector in Webkit browsers is really cool – I love Webkit – but ultimately, it’s Firefox I often resort to when I’m doing real work.

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Holy Mackerel, Chrome is Fast!

Google’s new Chrome browser, released yesterday, is blazing fast. I can’t tell you the last time I used the internet and experienced page load times like this. Gmail is particular is insanely fast, but every other site I visited demonstrated a noticeable speed bump. Ready to be my main browser for Windows? Not sure yet, but I’m running Chrome only today, so we’ll see.

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Firefox: Like An Old Shoe

Opera Browser

Opera Browser

I’ve had a long and painful war with which browser to use on my Windows machine at work. Firefox has let me down many times before, and the Mozilla Firefox developers have disappointed me. So I switched to Opera, and it’s made me very happy. I have really learned to love Speed Dial, and user javascript is nice. I enjoy the built-in BitTorrent client, the fact that it runs all day without consuming a terabyte of virtual memory, and the fact that it’s about as standards compliant as it gets. But, I’ve had my share of problems with it — small problems that, for the most part, are tiny nitpicks that on most days wouldn’t bug me too much. But today, they got me.

First of all, sometime in the last few months, Gmail version 2 starting working in Opera. It’s frustrating enough that Google rarely support Opera, but in this case, by shooting Gmail the ?nobrowsercheck query string, things were functioning. In the last few weeks, though, that ceased working after about 5 minutes. Things would get stuck on “Still loading…” and I’d have to revert to the “old version.” Easy enough, albeit frustrating losing my “Quick Links.”

I’ve also noticed that the Flashblock component I have installed works so aggressively that about 50% of the time, I can’t actually properly authorize Flash I want to play. I will sit there clicking on the “Play” button over and over to no avail. This one has annoyed me time and again.

Somehow, over the last 30 days, something happened that made Opera crash on a semi-daily basis. At least twice a week, I get the Vista grey-out “This application is no longer responsive. Would you like to Close the App and check online for a solution, or just close the app?” Yeah, thanks. Except, it’s just Opera that’s been doing this.

I'm Back on Firefox

Firefox: Like an old shoe

As a web developer, this was maybe the killer item for me: for the last month, the “View Source” menu on any web page doesn’t work, or if it does, it’s once in 50 tries. I’ve adjusted the “view source” menu to point to the built in viewer, Programmer’s Notepad, and Windows Notepad. None work. Most of the time, I simply have to open Firefox.

Therefore, I find myself, today, back on Firefox. Like an old shoe, it just fits. Once I slapped on the CamiFox theme, I felt right at home. I imported my Opera bookmarks, updated my extensions, and it was very nice. Now I have a very capable Javascript console, Firebug, Stylish, and a host of other useful tools at my fingers. I’m very happy here 5 hours into the day and feeling comfortable with the choice. Yes, I’m still pissed that I can’t style my RSS, but then, I haven’t gotten around to tinkering with that via WordPress anyway. I’ll let you know how life in Firefox 3 turns out.

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ACID3, Safari 3, Opera 10, Take 2

And so the real race begins. Yesterday, Opera software announced via blog post that their post Opera 9.5 builds are passing the ACID3 test. Cool!

But alas, the Webkit team – who really have a great track record of being successful with bleeding edge, one upped them by not only passing the test, but releasing the code. So behold, this is Webkit nightly for Windows, build 31368 from 2008-03-26.

ACID3 on Webkit

We know that Safari 3.1 doesn’t and Opera 9.5 won’t pass ACID3. We know IE8 is a long way off. We know Firefox 3 is still pretty far from it too. But now we have browsers that can do it. The the big question is, who will have the first stable general release that does it? Safari 3.2? Opera 10?

It’s an exciting time in web development, and I hate to admit that I think it’s largely due to IE8. If the IE team steps it up, some of themes technologies have the potential to reinvigorate the web. No serious e-commerce site would alienate all IE users – even today, they make up 80% or so of internet users. But as things progress here, we’re likely to start seeing some incredible things in the next few years.

Update: A bug in ACID3 was apparently noticed as a result of the Webkit team’s work. This awesome detailed blog post from the Webkit site chronicles the final steps of the adventure. Note that the “animation smoothness” criteria is subjectively, and that the team is apparently giving themselves a fail, but nothing that they think they are “faster than all other browsers“. Congrats again, Webkit team. Well done!

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Acid 3 on Webkit Nightly

The Acid 2 test has, for a few years now, been the de facto test for your browser’s CSS capabilities. The Acid test, fewer people know, is not really about conforming to standards – passing it does not make your browser standards compliant or complete, so it’s best to understand that all it really means is that it properly handles the elements tested as well as certain errors properly. Sometime in 2005, Safari passed Acid 2, becoming the first mainline browser so earn that honor. A few years later, the current or development versions of all major browsers – including Firefox 3, IE8, Opera 9.5 – all pass the Acid 2 test.

Enter Acid 3. Acid 3 measure even more goodness, including these six “buckets”:

  • Bucket 1: DOM Traversal, DOM Range, HTTP
  • Bucket 2: DOM2 Core and DOM2 Events
  • Bucket 3: DOM2 Views, DOM2 Style, CSS 3 selectors and Media Queries
  • Bucket 4: Behavior of HTML tables and forms when manipulated by script and DOM2 HTML
  • Bucket 5: Tests from the Acid3 Competition (SVG,[5] HTML, SMIL, Unicode…)
  • Bucket 6: ECMAScript

Using recent browsers, everything fails pretty spectacularly. My Opera 9.26 install gets a 42/100. Safari (including iPhone) does 39/100. IE7 does 12/100, Firefox 2 does the most respectable with 52/100. Even IE8 only does 17/100 while Firefox 3 tops out at 59/100 and Opera 9.5 at 60/100. The current generation, even the next generation of major browsers are still far from coming close to rendering Acid 3 with any accuracy.

I have been playing, now and again, with Webkit nightlies, since Webkit is actually a really neat engine, and guess what it kicks out? This:

Webkit nightly on Windows Vista

Pretty impressive. Safari is pretty limited when it comes to extending its function – it doesn’t even support a “new tab” button. But the webkit and javascript core engines are respectable both in rendering skill and speed.

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I Switched to Safari 3

I really did not expect to ever post something like this, but it’s true: I switched to Safari 3.

I love Camino, really I do. But recently, its limitations have been bothering me. I prefer my tabs in a very specific order and often I have several tabs open. If ever I close a tab by mistake, I cannot get that same order without doing tons of work or re-launching. Safari 3 draggable tabs.

One of the things that used to bother me about Safari was that there was no “New Tab” button available for the toolbar. There is now. It’s also got great keychain integration, private browing, the original embedded RSS, true Aqua widgets, resizable text boxes, easy PDF integration, and it’s super-fast.

Camino doesn’t support Ad-Block, but rather, stylesheet-based filtering. Safari does that too, by default, and it’s even easier to use than it is in Camino. Safari doesn’t have any Flash problems and once you add “Safari Stand” and enable the debug menu, you have a perfect drop in replacement.

My biggest complaint about Camino was the lack of development tools. It doesn’t have a Javascript debugger (ChimericalConsole never worked me for), doesn’t have a decent source viewer, doesn’t have many third party hacks to add functionality – it’s a browser for users, not developers. Without XUL, it’s tough to add features easily. And that made it tough to use for me. When I did any serious work, I’d always switch to Opera or, more recently, Safari 3. Safari 3’s Inspector is just awesome.

So… for now, I am Opera on Windows and Safari on Mac. My browser requirements are more demanding than most. I have felt for some time that Opera and Firefox on Mac just “feel” wrong, they don’t fit. So we’ll see how the Safari experiment goes.

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Safari 3 Nightlies Are Awesome

Safari is not now, nor has it ever been, my browser of choice. Aside from the fact that KHTML is generally the least compatible of browser engines these days, Safari is pretty barren from a feature standpoint. I rarely use it on my mac. I also find the lack of the “button” widget in Aqua annoying, because it makes Gmail ugly.

When I started using Safari 3.0.1 beta at work, I was impressed, but not impressed enough to ditch Opera. At home, however, I am using Camino, which I love, which is based on Gecko, the underlying Mozilla engine that also forms the core of Firefox. The problem is, as much as I love Camino, it’s tough to use for development: it doesn’t support extensions, it doesn’t have a javascript debugger that works, it doesn’t have draggable tabs, or tab restore, and it’s not very easy to extend functionality. There are lots of tricks at PimpMyCamino, but even today, the most useful add-on, “CamiScript,” is billed as unstable on Camino version above 1.0. Camino 1.0 was released in the first half of 2006. We’re over a year later.

This is not a post to bitch about Camino though. I love 1.5 and it’s serving me well. The thing is, I downloaded a nightly build of Webkit recently. Webkit is to Safari what Gecko is to Camino, and Webkit comes easily packaged in a disk image that requires no installation.

Webkit nightlies are awesome. First, there’s the page inspector. From a development standpoint, this is awesome.

click image to view at full size

The inspector shows you each detail of the page load. You’ve got the entire page transfer size, as well as the page transfer time. You can break it down by element or by element type. You can view the headers sent and received. This is tremendously useful. It’s been very interesting to see what parts of requests are properly cached and compare original load to subsequent page loads.

Then we have “Drosera,” the Javascript debugger.

Javascript debugger
click image to view at full size

I haven’t quite figured out how to use this tool, but I’m excited that it exists. It’s something I’ve needed for some time on a Mac. This is all very promising.

Safari may be mostly bare, but by the time 3.0 final is released with Leopard, plus the fact that Safari exists on Windows, it, or its featureful offshoot based on Webkit, Shiira, just may be my main Mac browser.

You can get Webkit nightlies at nightly.webkit.org.

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Safari Windows Updated, Brings Welcome Changes

If you browser around the internet, particularly on tech sites, you’ll find person after person praising Apple for releasing Safari 3.0.1 a mere 3 days after releasing the first public beta on Monday. At first, I thought – here we go! First off, it’s a BETA release, and I *expect* it to be updated. Secondly, people are going crazy about Apple’s fast reaction time, but I wondered if it were Microsoft, would the reaction be the same, or would it be “They release a product and it takes less than 24 hours to find a major vulnerability!?”

But alas, I ran Software Update and updated my Safari/Win install at work to 3.0.1. Whereas 3.0 was a major disappointment at work – fonts were a mess, pages had major problems with rendering, and the browser would crash randomly – a few minutes after install I can tell you that 3.0.1, on my computer at least, is a HUGE leap forward. The browser hasn’t crashed on me outside of one bug that existed before (maximizing on the slave screen of a dual-monitor setup), the thing is SO much better!

Safari is far from usable as my main browser. The thing is feature-barren, is far less customizable than Firefox and Opera and even Camino, and on Windows, it sticks out like a sore thumb. That said, I just love having the rendering engine on my windows machine, I love that it’s available for iPhone and Mac-friendly web development.

Kudos to Apple for porting this great app to Windows fairly successfully. Microsoft has been very slow to move to OS X and Intel; they have let RDP stagnate, they have let Office go 5 years with no update, they have no management tools that work on Mac, no IE, no WMP, not even a fully compatbile Outlook Web Access (OWA)… yet.

I am usually wary of excessive praise on Apple, but after seeing the Leopard previews pushing the evolution of the desktop and the accessibility of backups, the iPhone pushing the mobile experience, and Safari pushing web standards, I’m really feeling good about what they are doing.

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