Category Archives: Browsers

Google Chrome for iOS arrives

Mobile Safari has served my iPhone web browsing needs admirably since 2008, but I was probably waiting for Google’s Chrome browser, though I didn’t really know it.

Though I still favour Firefox as my browser of choice whilst doing web development and design, I switched to Chrome for general desktop browsing. With the arrival of Chrome on iOS, I have made a similar switch to Google’s browser.

What’s more, I’m sticking with it; the killer feature for me is the persistence of tabs across devices. Being able to open the chrome on my laptop, and then be presented with the same tabs on my iDevice is a great addition. Together with this, the browser seems very fast, and has a great UI.

A detailed review of Chrome is available at engadget.com, but trust me – install it, it’s free, and you may find yourself leaving Safari for dust.

That’s why, for the first time ever since 2008, I’ve changed the Apps in my dock from this:

to this:

No Flash player in Metro IE

Microsoft IE lead Dean Hachamovitch:

Running Metro style IE plug-in free improves battery life as well as security, reliability, and privacy for consumers. Plug-ins were important early on in the web’s history. But the web has come a long way since then with HTML5. Providing compatibility with legacy plug-in technologies would detract from, rather than improve, the consumer experience of browsing in the Metro style UI.

No Flash then.

 

October web round-up

October Web Roundup

It’s been a busy old month, and with so much time working, I’m going to share some of the things that have interested me during October.

Windows 7 Desktop Improvements

With hardware compatability issues and a reluctance from users and computer manufacturers to adopt it, Vista hasn’t perhaps been the success that Microsoft had hoped. The next version of Windows gets a preview over at channel9. There’s quite a lot of verbal fluff at the beginning, but forward through and you’ll get an idea of some of the features that’ll be present in the next version.

ASP.NET MVC Beta

Many of the great frameworks, such as CodeIgniter and Ruby on Rails use a MVC architecture, and it’s a concept that many web developers are familiar with. Maybe not so developers who have exclusively used ASP.NET for their development. Since the introduction of Visual Web Developer Express, developing has become very attractive for hobby developers wishing to get to grips with ASP.NET. I think the development of ASP.NET MVC will encourage those familiar with the pattern to give it a go. Scott Guthrie describes the beta release on his blog.

Microsoft to ship jQuery with future versions of Visual Studio

I’ve been using jQuery alongside ASP.NET for several months now, and find it to be an excellent JavaScript library. I was quite shocked that Microsoft will be distributing it with future versions of Visual Studio (including express versions), providing support for it, and providing intellisense support for it. Good on ‘em!

Google releases Google Earth for iPhone/iPod Touch

I’d definitely recommend a download of free app Google Earth – well worth taking a look.

For more information, head over to the Google Earth on the iPhone page.

Google Android Phone

Following the launch of Chrome , Google is pressing ahead with Mobile Device Platform Android. Now the first handset, the T-Mobile G1 has hit the market. It’s certainly no looker, but Google is a company that has the expertise to change the mobile market, and I’ll be keeping an eye on things, that’s for sure. For now though, I’ll keep my iPhone.

No opera for iPhone

Well well, a version of Opera has been developed for the iPhone, but Apple has refused to add it to their App Store, stating that it is too similar to Safari. So, I won’t be holding my breath for a version of Firefox, either. John Gruber offers his opinion over at Daring Fireball.

Google Chrome – A First Impression, or two

Google Chrome resembles the Simple Simon memory game

I can’t quite remember there ever being this much furore about the release of a web browser. Together with a large number of blogs mentioning the release of Google’s new Chrome browser, the BBC and Sky have carried large reports on their news programmes, and people at work, unconcerned with IE8 or Firefox 3 releases, have asked me about it. Even my wife, who normally couldn’t give a hoot about web browsers, has mentioned it. So, I downloaded and installed it. Here I present a first impression, or two.

I didn’t even know about Chrome until a day or so before its release. Once considered the David in the classic bible story, Google now seems to be amassing quite an armoury in its assault of Goliath Microsoft. Some people are now concerned that its very qualities as a rising star have now morphed into those of a Microsoft that they have always despised. They want to own the Internet, and I find that neither surprising or unconventional.

So, beyond the discussion of monopolies and competition, honour and integrity, let’s have a look at the browser itself.

Getting Started

To download the install package was less than 500k, but to download the main install took an age. I wonder how big the main install package is?
Currently, it’s only available for Windows machines, but a Mac and Linux version is on the cards.

Using

Chrome’s tabbed browsing is nothing new, but each tab runs in its own process, so theoretically, a typical browser crash results only in a ‘crashed tab’, allowing you to close just the tab and carry on seamlessly. A welcome feature. I’ve had to end the firefox process countless times because a page on a particular tab has caused a terminal problem.
Doing a Control + F (find on page) doesn’t overlap the page with a modeless dialog (like IE), but merges the dialog with menu bar at the top right of the main window. If text is found on the page, it is highlighted, like Safari. If the text is found, the number of occurrences is shown on the dialog. The particular occurrence (say, 1 of 3) is highlighted in orange, and others are highlighted in yellow. A useful feature.

Finding text on a Chrome web browser page

Opera’s ‘Speed Dial’ has been reproduced, but the sites shown are those that you have visited most often. Hmm… a useful feature methinks.

Chrome's Speed dial feature

Ever wanted to save some of your browsing history, but not all? Um, perhaps you have been browsing a site or two… perhaps to buy your partner a surprise gift? Well, select ‘New incognito window’ from the file menu and all browsing done within will be secret. Very useful. I buy a lot of gifts. :)

Incognito mode on Chrome Browser

What about us Geeks?

One of the main reasons I love Firefox is its extensions, particularly the web developer toolbar and Firebug. Right-clicking on a page and selecting ‘Inspect Element’ provides a poor-man’s Firebug. It’s early days, but it’s there.

Chrome's Poor Man's Firebug

However, this is the tip of the iceberg. Chrome provides ‘Gears‘, an effort aimed at developers, and allowing for the browser to be extended. Quite how this will pan out remains to be seen, but I’m sure well see some good things coming from the Gears initiative.

Chrome uses Webkit for its rendering engine, so if you’ve been using Web Standards and your sites look good on Safari, Firefox and Opera, you’ll have no issues.

Together with the obvious start-up speed, Chrome’s JavaScript rendering engine has been built by the ground up and promises faster execution speed.

The ACID2 test renders perfectly.

ACID2 test in Browser

What next?

I’m not one for discussing the rights and wrongs of Google’s strategy, nor am I prepared to muse the future of the Internet. I have read many blog comments that another standards compliant browser will be the final nail in the coffin for IE. I disagree. Though people have turned away from IE to some extent with the advent of Firefox, I think that it’ll be mainly those in the know that will try Google’s browser. Though the trend appears to suggest that Internet Explorer is losing popularity, in the short term, I feel that Firefox users will try Chrome. I started this post using Chrome, and having got to this point, like it quite bit. For now, it’s only the lack of firebug that’s stopping me switch for good.
I welcome the browser – competition is good.

Asides

Surely I’m not the only one to recognise the similarity between the Chrome logo and Simple Simon, the memory game that I owned in the 80s.

Chrome Logo's startling resemblance to Simple Simon Memory Game

Do a Google search for Chrome, and the Browser is listed as result number 3, though there is a ‘news story’ at the top of the results page. I wonder how long it’ll be before it’ll be returned as number 1? :)

Chrome search results in Google

I just went through the motions of uploading the images used in this post to Flickr, and I couldn’t use their photo upload page with Chrome. Oh well, back to Firefox :)