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Firefox on Windows XP/Vista If you’re still accessing our web based room booking and resource scheduling software MIDAS via a Windows XP or Windows Vista machine, you’ll want to read this!

As you should be aware, Windows XP and Vista are now considered obsolete operating systems which are no longer supported or maintained by Microsoft.

As a result, over the past few years major browser vendors have been slowly dropping support and updates for their products in these operating systems.

For instance, the most “recent” version of Internet Explorer that can be run on Windows XP is IE8 (MIDAS requires at least IE9). For a while this wasn’t a major issue as XP/Vista users could simply switch to either Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox instead (both of which were still being actively updated by the respective vendors on these operating systems).

However, Google announced back in November 2015 that Chrome would no longer be supported or receive updates on Windows XP or Windows Vista after April 2016.

Since then, Firefox has been the only major browser to continue supporting and providing updates on Windows XP and Vista.

This week, Mozilla have now announced that Firefox 52 (due for release in March 2017) will be the last version of their browser to receive updates on Windows XP and Vista.

Whilst Firefox 52 will still work on XP/Vista after March 2017, it will no longer receive updates. At this point, none of the modern major web browsers that are supported in MIDAS will continue to be updated on these operating systems.

We are therefore advising the handful of MIDAS users who currently still access their scheduling systems via Windows XP or Vista to upgrade their operating systems as soon as possible to ensure their web browser(s) are kept up-to-date and they’re able to continue using MIDAS in the future.

Web Browser Roundup – June 2013

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 2013In other highly exciting(!) Firefox news, their 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!

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

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 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)

In developing a web based app like MIDAS, we had to make some decisions as to which web browsers we were going to support. When we first started work on MIDAS back in 2005, there were at the time only really two main players in the browser market – Internet Explorer and Mozilla FireFox, and we supported them both. Today, there are now 5 key players in that same market; Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, Opera, and Apple Safari… all of which compete for a market share. There was a time when Internet Explorer dominated the market, with nearly a 90% share at its peak, but its dominance has been steadily decreasing in recent years, as evidenced from our own website visitors so far in 2011:

Current Browser Share
Current Browser Share
Current IE usage
Current IE usage

From our own stats, we can see that 6.96% of Internet Explorer users are still using IE6, (surprising slightly more than are using the latest version, IE9 (only 6.92%)). Most Internet Explorer users currently use IE8 (67%) or IE7 (19%)

Current versions of our web app, MIDAS, will run in recent versions of all 5 main browsers, but we finally dropped support for Internet Explorer 6 last year.

Yet we know that many organizations around the world are still forcing employees to use Internet Explorer 6 on their corporate networks.. but why is this? Why do companies insist on sticking with a web browser that’s now a decade old, given how fast the Internet has changed and evolved during that time!? We set out to try and find out why…

From IE6 to the present day..

Internet Explorer 6 logo Internet Explorer 6 was first released back in August 2001 just a year after the release of IE5.5. Since IE6’s release, Microsoft have subsequently released 3 major versions of their Internet Explorer software. IE7 was released in October 2006, IE8 in June 2009, and this year saw the release of Internet Explorer 9, with IE10 already well in development. But there was a very long gap between the release of IE6 and IE7 (5 years in fact!) this allowed for widespread adoption of IE6 by IT departments the world over during this period.

The importance of keeping up to date

Now, any home user knows it’s important to keep their web browser up-to-date, not only to ensure the best possible viewing experience with the latest web technologies (which are moving at a very fast pace these days!), but also, and more importantly to keep their browser and computer secure and protected from security vulnerabilities and new exploits. Browser updates are always provided free of charge and are readily available – some even automatically update themselves!… so why do corporate IT departments stick with IE6 and not keep their software infrastructure up to date?

Should Corporations & IT departments be doing more?

We’d always put the main reason why organizations haven’t updated from IE6 down to laziness, but speaking to one IT professional about her own experiences of a recent corporate roll-out of IE8, sheds a different light on the issue:
“We went from (Internet Explorer) 6 to 8 and it’s a nightmare, it’s random things like some of our web based apps which use Windows authentication no longer work, others that use the “remember me” option now don’t log you out properly, we have issues retaining our proxy settings and to top it off it’s so slow! … (IE6) works better!”

So are corporations simply not upgrading due to usability and compatibility issues with their existing software infrastructure? At MIDAS, we always ensure that our web based room scheduling app is fully compatible with the very latest versions (and development builds) of the 5 major browsers. Should other developers of web apps be doing the same? We believe so!! …but could Microsoft themselves be doing more too?

Should Microsoft be doing more?

Ditch Internet Explorer 6 Whilst Microsoft do provide some helpful resources for corporate IT departments looking to migrate from IE6, Microsoft have committed to continue support for IE6 until 2014 (coinciding with the “End of Life” of Windows XP), primarily because of this corporate sector! In our opinion, Microsoft should have ended support for IE6 a long time ago. If they had, it would force corporations and developers alike to get their act together and upgrade and modernize their software. Ultimately, this benefits the wider Internet community as developers can then concentrate on utilizing new and emerging web technologies, such as HTML5, CSS3, and so forth, providing a better, more stable and secure user experience, rather than developers having to spend time trying to make their modern software backwards compatible with a decade old obsolete browser!

The future for IE6

Google, YouTube, Hotmail, WordPress, and many other well known sites have already dropped support for IE6 in recent times, and we ourselves took the decision last year to no longer focus on ensuring IE6 compatibility for our web based app, MIDAS, as it was holding back development and preventing us from implementing new features, taking advantage of new and emerging web technologies.


Whilst we’re encouraged by Microsoft’s recent reinvigorated approach and commitment to further development of Internet Explorer, they should never have left IE6 to stagnate for as long as it did between releases of IE6 and IE7. This has led to many corporations becoming too dependent on an outdated and vulnerable browser. Microsoft’s pledge in continuing to support IE6 until 2014 is, and will continue to hold back development of the web.

We would urge any organization or IT department still using IE6, not to wait until its “End of Life” but to upgrade as soon as you feasibly can! If there’s compatibility issues with your 3rd party apps or software, contact the publishers/developers of that software… if they are as committed to their software as we are to MIDAS, they’ll want to ensure full compatibility of their product with the latest web browsers. If they can’t do this, perhaps it’s time to start looking for alternatives now before it becomes too late!

We’re really excited about the future direction that the web is taking, with the new standards and technologies that are emerging, but we need corporations to help drive the web forward! This is hindered by the continued use of IE6!