It’s been a busy end to the month in the world of web browsers in June… So here’s our take on what’s been happening..

  • Internet Explorer – IE11 preview available & IE11 is to be available for Windows 7
  • Firefox – v22 released this week
  • Chrome – Now 5% faster on average
  • Opera – v15 preview available
  • Safari – Even the developers admit its gone quiet!


Internet Explorer:
Internet Explorer 11 Preview
This last week saw Microsoft release the first public preview of Windows 8.1, which contains the first glimpse of what IE11 will have in store for its users!

Microsoft believes that “the best experience of the web is on a Windows device with Internet Explorer 11“… we’ll let you decide!

However, one of the main focuses for IE11 is on better support, performance, and responsiveness for touch actions

Internet Explorer 11According to Microsoft’s corporate vice-president for Internet Explorer, Dean Hachamovitch, speaking at last week’s BUILD developer conference in San Francisco; “Most of the web wasn’t designed for touch, but users still expect it to just work“. An example given was that navigation and interaction within web pages or web apps often relies on “mouseovers”, where hovering the mouse over a particular region causes a menu or tooltip to open. The natural behaviour for users with a touch screen is to tap the area, which usually just activates a element resulting in a “click” event rather than a “hover” action, or if they tap and hold opens a software menu bringing up browser options.

In IE11, Microsoft has integrated support for such scenarios, allowing users to touch a hover “hotspot” so that the menu/tooltip stays open rather than automatically clicking the element.

IE11 is also the first of the major browsers to offer HTML5 drag-and-drop support for touch interaction. These “hover” and “drag-and-drop” improvements for touch should offer MIDAS users on tablets or other touch-screen devices a richer experience when using our web based scheduling software.

The great news too if you’re a Windows 7 user is that like IE10, IE11 will also be available to you! …although whilst Microsoft have confirmed this, there is no specific date for when IE11 may become available for Windows 7 (…and if it’s anything like the delayed IE10 release for Windows 7, Windows 7 users may have to wait 4 months longer than Windows 8 users to get their hands on the next version of IE!)

MIDAS is already supported in the preview version IE11, as well as in IE8-10. However, if you’re still an Internet Explorer 8 user, we will no longer be maintaining compatibility with this obsolete browser once IE11 becomes fully available – if this affects you please read this!


Mozilla Firefox:
Firefox 22
Also within the last week, Mozilla have released Firefox 22, bringing with it a number of improvements and new features. Some of these improvements, particularly those relating to core Javascript performance, should mean your MIDAS experience on Firefox is better than ever!

Firefox 22 also introduces support for new technologies and better compatibility with existing web standards. One of the exciting new technologies introduced with Firefox 22 is “Web Notifications”. This will allow websites/apps to display notification messages on your system (similar to new mail or new message notifications that other applications you have installed may display). Whilst not widely supported by other browsers at this time (Opera 12, Safari 5, and no versions of IE currently support it), once this becomes more widely adopted, you may see “web notifications” being introduced to MIDAS (for example it could be used to notify you of booking reminders as well as new watches or messages)… so watch this space!

Firefox Logo Redesign 2013
In other highly exciting(!) Firefox news, the logo has undergone a redesigned:

…and yes, you’d be forgiven for thinking that it looks virtually the same! In justifying the new logo, Mozilla explain, “Unlike previous versions, the updated logo was created specifically with mobile in mind. Although we think it looks great at any size, it’s been optimized to be crisper and cleaner on small screens and lower resolution devices. However, it also scales quite nicely for use in retina displays, and (unlike previous versions) can be accurately recreated in SVG so it’s more ‘of the Web’

MIDAS is currently supported in Firefox 4+ (v22+ recommended)


Google Chrome:
Chrome 27
We’re having a hard time keeping up with the latest stable version number for Chrome! For Windows, Max, and Chrome OS it’s currently version 27, however the Linux the current stable version of Chrome is 28. This is unusual, as Google tend to keep major version numbers in sync across all platforms!

So, what exciting new features have v27/28 brought? Well, not a great deal actually, aside from a variety of fixes mainly for Flash-related exploits, the highlight of the v27 release is the claim that web pages load 5% faster on average! …and if you’re interested in Google’s own rather technical justification for these claims you can read more here

MIDAS is currently supported in Chrome 9+ (v27+ recommended)


Opera:
Opera 15
If you’ve been following our blog, you’ll know that at the start of the year, Opera announced it was ditching its own Presto rendering engine and essentially joining forces to use the same rendering engine to that of Google Chrome. Such a major change in the fundamental nature of the Opera browser was going to take time to emerge, and after much confusion and changes, at the very end of May, Opera lifted the lid on their “next generation” Opera 15 browser to mixed reviews.

As this was the first “preview” release, it was essentially just a shell of a browser, with many of Opera’s previous features removed to the anger of Opera’s loyal user base.

However, as June has progressed, so have the updates to Opera 15… although these updates haven’t exactly been earth shattering, instead just offering a handful of fixes each time and a way to import data/settings from Opera 12.

Whilst understandably there’s a massive amount of work involved in changing rendering engines, Opera really need to start getting their act together and think about what set Opera apart from other browsers in the first place if they really expect Opera 15 to complete with other major browsers. Right now, whilst Opera 15 hasn’t yet gone on general release, it’s lacking a lot of features and functionality that Opera 12 offered.

That said, MIDAS is supported in Opera 15 (as well as Opera 9-12 (v12+ recommended)


Safari:
Safari 7/6.1
Well, activity on the Safari front just seems to get quieter and quieter each time we post! In fact, on the Safari blog itself they admit they’ve been “quieter than usual” which they attribute to Apple developers being away at a conference(!)

Anyway, A small update to Safari, 6.0.5, was released at the start of the month for OS X and iOS.

At Apple’s World Wide Developer Conference this month, it was announced that Safari 7/6.1 would bring improvements in JavaScript performance and memory usage, as well as a new look for Top Sites and the Sidebar, and a new Shared Links feature. Additionally, a new Power Saver feature pauses Plugins which aren’t in use. Safari 7 for OS X Mavericks and Safari 6.1 (for Lion and Mountain Lion) is expected to be available this Autumn… but sadly, there’s still no sign of any more updates for Safari on Windows (which is still currently stuck at v5.1.7)

MIDAS is currently supported in Safari 4+ (v5+ recommended)

« »