There’s plenty going on in the world of web browsers at the moment, and as our web based scheduling software, MIDAS relies on a web browser, we take a keen interest in the ever changing browser landscape… so here’s our round up of what’s been happening recently with the 5 major browsers:

  • Internet Explorer – Google Apps dropping IE8 support.. and still no word IE10 for Win7?
  • Chrome – More popular than IE? Depends who you talk to!
  • Firefox – 10 years old.. and Windows 8 “modern” app round the corner
  • Safari – No further updates for Windows users?
  • Opera – Development continuing at pace!

Internet Explorer:
Internet Explorer - Google Apps dropping IE8 support.. and still no word IE10 for Win7?Google have announced that starting from November 15, their suite of “Google Apps”, which includes services such as Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Docs and more, will no longer be officially supported Internet Explorer 8. We predict that it won’t be long before other major sites begin to drop support for IE8.

Internet Explorer 8 is now nearly 4 years old – a long time in today’s fast changing browser landscape, and offers poor support for today’s web technology standards. So why are people still using it then? Well, one of the main problems is that if you’re still running Windows XP (which many people still are!), you can’t install Internet Explorer 9 on it! – a bad decision on Microsoft’s part we feel – in fact they’ve pretty much shot themselves in the foot by not allowing Windows XP users to upgrade their browser past IE8! By not allowing Windows XP users to upgrade past IE8, it’s allowed other browser’s (such as Firefox and Chrome) – which can run on Windows XP, to steal a lot of the market share that Internet Explorer has – quite simply because end users want to use a fast, up-to-date, modern browser – something with IE8 isn’t by today’s standards.

Sadly, at the moment, this could be a trend that Microsoft continues with their upcoming Internet Explorer 10. Internet Explorer is currently only available to users of Windows 8 (which sees it’s full release later this month on October 26). Users of Windows 7 are presently unable to update from Internet Explorer 9 to Internet Explorer 10. Microsoft have said that IE10 will become available for Windows 7 users, but have been very vague and noncommittal about exactly when, or indeed if, this will happen.

If you’ve used IE10, you’ll know how much better it is (in terms of speed/performance, as well as compliance with the latest web standards) than IE9. We hope Microsoft make IE10 available to users of Windows 7 as soon as possible!

MIDAS, our web based scheduling software, is currently supported in Internet Explorer 8,9, and 10! However, for the best experience, we recommend IE9/10. There are no immediate plans to drop support for IE8, as Google Apps are doing, however, there will come a time when we no longer support such an old version of a web browser. Therefore, you should always keep your browser up-to-date with the most recent version available to you. If you’re still using Windows XP, and have no plans to upgrade to Windows 7/8 in the near future, you may wish to consider installing one of the other modern browsers that will work on your system

Google Chrome:
Chrome - More popular than IE? Depends who you talk to!Still somewhat on the subject of Internet Explorer – opinion continues to be divided as to which browser – Internet Explorer or Google Chrome is currently the most widely used browser in the world. It all depends on who you talk to!

Last months figures from one leading company, Net Applications, show that IE 8 is the most popular web browser for PC’s, with 24.09% of the market share, followed by IE 9 with 19.45%, Chrome 21 (which was updated to Chrome 22 last week), has a 14.32% shared of the web browser market.

Net Applications - Browser Market Share - Sept 12
Source: Net Applications

However, StatCounter, another leading company, have very different numbers for September. They show Chrome 21 in a clear lead with 27.34%. IE9 comes second with 17.93%, followed by IE8 at 13.06%.

StatCounter - Browser Market Share - Sept 12
Source: StatCounter

Why such a difference between the two sets of statistics? Well, both companies use very different ways for assessing browser usage. Net Applications for example only counts “unique visitors”, where as StatCounter counts browser hits, regardless of whether they are unique or not. For example, if a user views the same page 10 times, Net Applications would count that once, StatCounter would count that ten times.

It’s also worth noting that the Google Chrome browser has a “pre-fetch” function, which can silently fetch web pages in the background that it thinks you’re going to visit – so this has the potential for skewing the data slightly.

That said, if there is one thing that both Stat Counter and Net Applications are in close agreement on, its Mozilla’s Firefox place in the web browser standings. Firefox 15 is fourth on both lists, with Net Applications showing a market share of 10.91% and StatCounter fractionally more at 13.01%.

MIDAS is supported in Chrome 9+ (v22+ recommended)

Mozilla Firefox:
Firefox - 10 years old.. and Windows 8 'metro' app round the cornerFirefox celebrated it 10th birthday a couple of weeks ago! Firefox has come a long way in its 10 year history, although it wasn’t actually called “Firefox” until 2004. Originally, it was called “Phoenix” in 2002, then several months later, after complaints from BIOS manufacturer Phoenix Technologies, that name was dropped in favor of Firebird. The community didn’t like “Firebird” either, because there was and still is a database server carrying the same name, so the name “Firefox” was adopted in early 2004.

Firefox became quite popular thanks to Microsoft’s Internet Explorer 6, which didn’t receive significant updates for many years. Firefox however introduced a lot of people to tabs, RSS-feeds in the bookmarks bar, themes and extensions. In February 2008, Firefox had been downloaded 500 million times and established a record with version 3.0 several months later, with the “Most Downloads of a Software Application in 24 Hours,” according to Guinness World Records.

Today, Mozilla are busy on developing a special Windows 8 “modern” version of their popular browser in time for the launch of Windows 8 later this month.

MIDAS is supported in Firefox 4+ (v16+ recommended)

Safari:
Safari 6 - Not for Windows users?Apple’s Safari browser was recently updated to version 6.. however, if you’re a Windows user, Safari 6 isn’t available to you, as is only been made available to iOS users. The most recent version of Safari available to Windows users if 5.1.7, but even this has now been quietly removed from the Safari download page (at time of writing 5.1.7 is still available to Windows users with an earlier version of Safari already installed via their “Apple Software Update” application). No reason has been given by Apple as to why Safari 6 hasn’t been made available to Windows users, but the speculation is that the move was made because Safari 6 is more tightly integrated with features only found in iOS6. We hope that this is only temporary, and Apple will make Safari 6 available to Windows, however as Safari has the smallest market share of Windows-based browsers, they may now just be focusing on their own operating systems

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

Opera:
Opera - Development continuing at pace!The Opera name has been with the browser since the very beginning – in fact, Opera v1 was first released back in 1994. Often overlooked, this well established browser has retained a small, but loyal following over the years. Although historically not seeing the same growth as other browsers have, for the last year or so, development work on Opera has really gathered pace! Opera software have been regularly putting out developer snapshots and beta builds – sometimes several times a week! All this work culminated with the major release of Opera 12 back in June. We’ve been quite impressed with Opera 12’s speed and compatibility with the latest web technologies and standards, and the work the Opera team are putting into their software shows no signs of slowing down any time soon! Opera 12.10 was released as a beta last week, so expect a public update to Opera very soon.

There were also rumors earlier in the year that Facebook may be gearing up to purchase Opera in the not too distant future. Whilst unsubstantiated, if true, Opera’s market share may see a significant increase as a result of an acquisition of Facebook – so Opera’s slipped under your radar, or you’ve perhaps dismissed it in the past – it’s perhaps worth taking another look!

MIDAS is supported in Opera 9+ (v12+ recommended)

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