Latest News: MIDAS v4.25 Now Available | COVID-19 Support

Posts Tagged: chrome

Web Browser Roundup – January 2013

Well, it’s a new year, so here’s what’s been happening in the world of the web browser since our last update…

  • Internet Explorer – Microsoft’s self-proclaimed comeback – has IE really “grown up”?
  • Chrome – v24 out now, v25 around the corner – with voice control!?
  • Firefox – 64-bit development fiasco, but “Junior” for iPad and Firefox OS on their way!
  • Safari – It’s oh so quiet! Shhhh…
  • Opera – Continuing to improve stability and security… plus a new Android and iOS browser coming, and a possible move to WebKit?

Internet Explorer:
Internet Explorer 10 - The Browser You Loved To Hate
At the tail end of 2012, Microsoft released a video on YouTube touting the comeback of its Internet Explorer browser by focusing on how people “love to hate it”. In the video, an individual is depicted trolling news stories, videos and Twitter accounts about how much Microsoft’s browser “sucks”.

The video ends by the troll typing “IE sucks… less,” after which Microsoft proclaims “progress” is being made and that “comebacks come in many shapes and sizes.”

Following that, the video mentions Microsoft’s new website to promote the campaign, TheBrowserYouLovedToHate.com.

Now, Microsoft’s IE “comeback” campaign is gathering more pace. By specifically targeting those who grew up in the 1990’s, and using the Twitter hashtag “#childofthe90s”, Microsoft are flooding the social network with a host of photographs of 90’s children’s toys with the tag line “You grew up. So did we. Reconnect with the new IE”

It’s all well and good Microsoft promoting that IE has made a “comeback”… but has IE really grown up?

Their latest incarnation is Internet Explorer 10 (available for Windows 8, and currently as a IE 10 “Preview” for Windows 7). Back in November, we put IE10 “head-to-head” with the other current browser offerings from Mozilla, Google, Apple, and Opera software. You can read our full test report and conclusions here, and you’ll see that IE10 performance was rather disappointing!

So has Internet Explorer “grown up”? Well, in comparison to earlier versions of IE – yes, but when in comparison to the latest offerings from the other majors browser vendors, Internet Explorer still has a LOT of growing up to do!

For us to be convinced that their flagship browser has truly “made a comeback”, Microsoft’s will need to ensure that they now maintain and update IE on a more frequent basis, as all the other major browsers do! …otherwise this self-proclaimed “comeback” will be short lived!

Months, or in IE’s case – years – between major browser updates really doesn’t cut it in the highly competitive – and ever evolving – browser market we’re in today!

MIDAS is currently supported in Internet Explorer 8+ (v10+ recommended)


Google Chrome:
Chrome - Talk to me!
Earlier this month, Google pushed an update to their Chrome browser, bringing the version number up to 24. Google’s main claim with this new version is that performance has improved “26.3% since Chrome 15”.

Now, Chrome 15 may seem like seem it was a long time ago, but in actual fact it was less than a year ago that Chrome 15 was the “latest” offering of Chrome!

If you’re a regular follower of our blog, you’ll know there’s been a whole version number supremacy battle going on between browser vendors in recent times! In a blog post, Google justify their “rapid release schedule” and lack of noticeable “new features” in Chrome 24 by saying “What you may not know is that things are changing under the hood every six weeks, thanks to auto-update. It’s like a mechanic stopping by every six weeks to give your car a new engine”

So whilst v24 may have lacked in the way of “new features”, v25 – which is just around the corner – promises to have support for the new and emerging “Web Speech API”. This will ultimately allow websites, and web apps – such as our own Room Scheduling System – to be voice controlled! …which is quite exciting, and ever so slightly reminiscent of this scene from StarTrek IV…

Scotty - Hello Computer

In other Chrome news – if you’ve got an Android smart phone, did you know that you can get the Google Chrome browser for your mobile device?! …well, only if your device runs Android 4.0+… which is a shame, given that mobile versions of both Opera and Firefox are currently available for earlier Android devices.

MIDAS is currently supported in Chrome 9+ (v24+ recommended)


Mozilla Firefox:
Firefox 16

Mozilla seem to be loosing a bit of direction of late! Back in November, we reported on a number of setbacks for Firefox. Including a major update that was subsequently withdrawn, a large fine imposed by the EU, and a drop in market share.

Well, since then, there’s been more controversy! Mozilla announced that they would no longer be developing a 64-bit Windows version of Firefox.

Mozilla Engineering Manager Benjamin Smedberg made the decision to kill off development. He outlined his view on the matter in a post titled “Turn off win64 builds” on a Google Groups development board. Smedberg blames the decision partly due to 3rd party plugins, commenting “Many plugins are not available in 64-bit versions.”

However, following a backlash by users, his decision was subsequently reversed.

In a later post on the Mozilla Google Groups support page, Smedberg admitted that “there was significant negative feedback” on the move to cancel 64-bit development of Firefox. After his change of heart, he then claimed “I believe that we can keep a set of users happy by making a modification to the original plan” This plan essentially involved moving all those users of 64-bit builds of Firefox back to the 32-bit channel, and then having those users manually download a new 64-bit build.

Aside from the 64-bit Firefox fiasco, Mozilla have recently announced a number of other projects they have in the pipeline – namely, a new web browser “built from the ground up” for the iPad, called “Junior” (expected in the first half of 2013). Interestingly, Junior will use WebKit layout rendering (also used by Chrome & Safari), rather than Mozilla’s own “Gecko” rendering.

Plus, Mozilla have been working on their own mobile operating system, “Firefox OS”, with developer preview phones now available! Will Firefox OS have any impact on the mobile os market? With iOS, Android, and Windows Phone being the key players, Firefox OS will have a hard job taking a significant market share! Many mobile phone providers have tried to launch their own proprietary operating systems before and failed.. so it remains to be see exactly what impact Firefox OS has!

MIDAS is currently supported in Firefox 4+ (v18+ recommended)


Safari:
Safari 5
Sadly, there’s just no new Safari news to report this time! As you’ll know from our last update, Safari development seems to have take a back seat at Apple in recent times, with Apple seemingly more focused on their hardware offerings, than on their web browser. In fact, as we reported, they’ve currently ceased development on the Windows version of Safari – perhaps because they feel they can no longer compete with the likes of Internet Explorer, Firefox and Chrome and prefer to stick with an operating system where Safari has had the monopoly.

However, with a version of Firefox soon to become available to iPad users, Safari’s dominance on iOS may soon be in jeopardy, which actually might be a good thing, as it may drive Apple to further develop Safari!

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


Opera:
Opera 12.13
Whilst the other major browser vendors had a bit of a break over Christmas, it seems like development over at Opera continued at a pace! Since we last reported on Opera, version 12.11 was released in late November, 12.12 released just a few days before Christmas, and now 12.13 looks set for imminent release in the next couple of days.

There’s nothing major to report on these releases – they primarily just contain “stability and security improvements”, but it’s good that Opera are commitment to the continued improvement of their desktop browser even during the festive period.

But it doesn’t end there – Opera are pushing forward with their various other browser offerings – their latest project, “Ice”, will see a minimalist browser being introduced for both Android and iOS devices.

According to Opera’s CEO, “Ice” is “a reboot of your average web browser, it has no buttons, no menus, and all you see is content … Everything is gesture based and that’s what Opera is all about.”

What’s interesting is that Opera will drop their own “Presto” layout rendering engine, and instead use WebKit rendering for “Ice”. There’s no word yet whether this move will ultimately mean that “Presto” is also phased out of their desktop browser as well.

In many respects, this would be a good move from our point of view, as a developer, as it would simplify development somewhat!

We always ensure that our browser based scheduling solution runs smoothly in the 5 major browsers. This means we have to make sure that MIDAS looks as close to identical as possible regardless of which browser you use. At present, different browsers use different “rendering” (or “layout”) engines. This is how a browser interprets the code that goes to make up a web page (or web app) and subsequently displays (“renders”) it to your screen.

At present there are 4 main browser layout/rendering engines:

  • “Trident” – Used by Internet Explorer
  • “Gecko” – Used by Firefox
  • “WebKit” – Used by Chrome and Safari
  • “Presto” – Used by OperaBecause both Chrome and Safari use the same rendering engine, in theory web pages (and apps) should look identical in both browser. (In practice this isn’t quite true, as each browser is updated on a different release cycle, therefore new features of the WebKit engine make it into Chrome sooner than Safari for example). But if Opera also make the switch to WebKit at some point, then in theory, sites/apps should look identical in Chrome, Safari AND Opera.

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


    MIDAS Discount As a New Year is an ideal time to make a fresh start with your room bookings, to celebrate the start 2013 we’re offering 13% off new purchases of our web based software throughout January! – simply use Promo Code “NEWYEAR13” on our website when making your purchase.


In developing a leading browser-based Room Booking & Resource Scheduling System that’s supported in all major browsers, we often get asked “Which is the best web browser?”. So less than a day after Internet Explorer 10 becomes available for Windows 7, we decided it was time to put the latest web browsers “head-to-head” to find out which one of the current offerings is “the best”….

Browsers Tested

Google Chrome 23
Mozilla Firefox 16
Internet Explorer 10
Internet Explorer 9
Opera 12
Apple Safari 5

The Tests

13 different tests were performed on each browser, covering four key areas in Speed, Memory Usage, Compliance with standards, and Javascript Performance.

The results revealed some varied and rather interesting findings – We even found to our surprise that Internet Explorer 9 out performed Internet Explorer 10 in two of the tests!

Results Summary

Read the full test report, with explanations and our conclusions here

Web Browser Roundup – November 2012

Following on from October’s Web Browser Roundup, here’s what’s been happening in the world of the web browser since then…

  • Internet Explorer – IE10 for Windows 7 coming this month… sort of!
  • Chrome – v23 out now, and can increase your battery life by 25%?!
  • Firefox – Market share drops below 20% – tough times ahead!
  • Safari – Download links for Windows users buried
  • Opera – 12.10 out now.. and Opera Mobile 12.1 also available

Internet Explorer:
Internet Explorer 10
The buzz with Internet Explorer revolves right now revolves around IE10, and the growing anticipation for the eagerly awaited release of IE10 for Windows 7, which Microsoft have stated in a recent blog post will be available “mid-November“.

In fact, for a short period just before the launch of Windows 8, the download page for Internet Explorer 10 actually went live (although the download links contained therein were not live). Microsoft quickly pulled the download page within a matter of hours, and now at time of writing returns a “Page not found” error. However, we understand that when IE10 does become available for download it will be at this link

Great, you might think… however, there’s a catch… the upcoming release in “mid-November” is only going to be yet another “preview” version of IE10 with “final availability to follow as [they] collect developer and customer feedback”. Why they can’t just fully launch IE10 for Windows 7 users outright we don’t know! As there have already been several “developer preview” releases of IE10 for Windows 7 users going back well over a year, and of course IE10 is included as standard in Windows 8. You’d think that if there were any “issues” with IE10 these would have been identified and addressed by now! You’d also think there would be a real desire from the Internet Explorer team to get IE10 out, as Internet Explorer 9 is now quite literally years behind the current offerings from the other main browser developers (Mozilla, Google, Apple, and Opera Software). Come on Microsoft! Get your act together!

We’re keeping our eye on the wires, and as soon as IE10 is available for you Windows 7 users, we’ll let you know!

UPDATE: 12th November: We understand from Roger Capriotti, Product Marketing Director for IE that the “Preview” build of IE10 for Windows will be available from tomorrow (Tuesday 13th November) – Watch this space!!

UPDATE: 13th November: As predicted, Internet Explorer 10 for Windows 7 is now available

MIDAS is supported in Internet Explorer 8+ (v10+ recommended)

Google Chrome:
Chrome more popular than IE
Today, Google have released the latest update to their Chrome browser, which has now reached v23 (v23.0.1271.64 to be precise!). According to their blog one of the noticeable features in v23 is that this new release offers longer battery life when running their Chrome browser on your tablet/laptop – they claim it can extend your device’s battery life by up to 25%! …if these claims prove true, that’s some noticeable improvement! Thanks to Google Chrome’s auto-update feature, if your an existing Chrome user, your browser should silently automatically update to v23 very shortly!

Also, Google Chrome’s share of the browser market continues to grow at almost the same rate as Internet Explorer’s share declines… it remains to be seen what affect the wider availability of IE10 will have on this…

Google Chrome's share of the browser market continues to grow
Image via StatCounter

MIDAS is supported in Chrome 9+ (v23+ recommended)

Mozilla Firefox:
Firefox 16
Just after last month’s Web Browser Roundup, Mozilla released Firefox 16… only to withdraw it the following day due to a security vulnerability. This was promptly fixed, and Firefox 16.0.1 was released in its place.

Mozilla seem to be having a tough time of late, and their troubles continue…

Due to supposed “glitch” in the Browser Ballot screen that the EU forced Microsoft to show to users in the European Union in order to offer them a choice of browsers, it emerged that this screen wasn’t in fact shown to a large number of users. Whilst this “glitch” had subsequently been fixed, and the EU are set to fine Microsoft for their Mistake, Harvey Anderson, the Vice President of Business Affairs at Mozilla, has commented that “Firefox downloads saw a decrease of 63% to as low as 20,000 per day and increased by 150% to 50,000 per day after the fix was issued.“. In addition, he claims that Mozilla lost 6-9 million Firefox downloads during the 15 month period.

If that was bad enough for Mozilla, Back in 2007 they decided that they didn’t need to pay taxes for the revenue that comes from their partnership with Google search. Why? Because according to Mozilla, $66 million (out of $77 million) dollars were a form of “contributions” and therefore, should not be taxable.

Unfortunately, the US government took a different view and as a result, Mozilla will now be paying up a total of $1.5 million dollars (which is considerably less than they were expecting, having set aside $15 million over this matter)

But the bad news still keeps coming for Mozilla! A report from NetApplications for October 2012 now puts Firefox at less than a 20% share of the browser market. The slight, but ongoing, decline in Firefox’s user base is due mainly to its users switching to Google Chrome, which has seen a steady increase in market share since its launch in 2008. Many users feel that Chrome is faster and lighter on memory than Firefox. Certainly some recent builds of Firefox have been pretty memory intensive, however, Mozilla have made significant improvements in this area, and v16 onwards has a much smaller memory footprint that earlier versions.

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

Safari:
Safari 5
It’s all quiet on the Safari front at the moment! Development on Apple’s web browser seems to take more a back seat to their hardware development, and so when there’s an upcoming product launch, such as the new iPad mini, other Apple-related news is harder to come by!

There’s still no news as to whether Apple will ever release another update for Safari for Windows users. currently Safari 6 is only available to iOS users, with 5.1.7 being the highest version of Safari that Windows users can update to (provided they have an earlier version of Safari already installed, as Apple have somewhat buried the download links for a fresh Safari Windows install deep within a KB article on their site! So, if you wish to download Safari 5.1.7 for Windows, here is the link)

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

Opera:
Opera 12
Development over at Opera Software continues at pace! Following 4 “release candidates” within just about as many days, today, Opera announced the release of Opera 12.10, which in their words contains “many updates and more bugfixes than I can count“. They also state that “This release is a recommended security update.“. The Opera browser is now quite impressive! It’s always had a small, but dedicated following, that’s never really grown much, but at the same time has also never shrunk. It’s also been around for a very very long time, in fact, it was first released 18 years ago in late 1994! So over the years, many people have tried it, and not really liked it for whatever reason. However, today, the Opera browser fast, sleek, modern browser that can easily give the other major browsers a run for their money!

One notable new feature in Opera 12.10 is support for a new “Fullscreen API” support. Previously the “Fullscreen API” has only been supported in Firefox 15+, Chrome 22+, Safari 5.1+… so now it comes to Opera 12.1+ too! (still no support in IE10 though at time of writing!). So what is this “Fullscreen API” and why bother mentioning it?

Basically, the “Fullscreen API” allows developers to make elements in a web page, such as a video, go completely “full screen” without having to use Flash or some other means. Whilst most browser can go a sort of “full screen” (usually by pressing F11), the address bar and some navigation buttons are usually still present. The relatively new “Fullscreen API” allows web pages to completely fill your screen with no toolbars/navigation buttons etc. We are currently implementing this API to allow you to use future versions of MIDAS in true “full screen” mode – which will mean there will be more space for displaying your bookings! …watch this space!

Did you know that Opera 12.10 is available for Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux… so if you’ve never tried Opera before, you’ve really no excuse!

Opera Mobile 12.1 for Android Phones is now also available, and if you’ve been following our blog, you’ll know that our website is now “tailored” to viewing on mobile devices. Currently, only Opera and Firefox offer mobile versions of their browsers, so if you have an android phone with an outdated browser, be sure to download Firefox or Opera Mobile for the best possible viewing experience!

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

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 rumours 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)