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Posts Tagged: internet explorer

Web Browser Roundup – April 2013

It’s been a busy few weeks in the world of web browsers… and there’s been some major changes in the browser landscape too! So here’s our take on what’s been happening..

  • Internet Explorer – IE11 coming later this year? / IE10 available for Windows 7 / Farewell IE8
  • Firefox – v20 now available… and a new rendering engine on the horizon?
  • Chrome – v26 out now… and ANOTHER new rendering engine on the horizon?!
  • Opera – 12.15 now available… and a change in rendering engine to.. WebKit? no wait.. Blink?
  • Safari – What will all these rendering engine changes to other browsers mean for Safari?

Internet Explorer:
Internet Explorer 11 coming soon
Microsoft are busy working on their next update for Windows 8, currently billed as being “Windows 8.1”, and expected to be available in the latter half of this year. Windows 8.1 will almost be a kind of “service pack” for Windows 8, but will also contain a number of improvements and updates to apps & software. Perhaps the most exciting updating coming with Windows 8.1 will be Internet Explorer 11.

Yes, that’s right, no sooner is IE10 out of the door, but Microsoft are following it up with IE11 in a relatively short space of time (well, for them anyway!). We think this is great to see from Microsoft, as in the past updates to their flagship browser have been few and far between. Compare that with Mozilla’s current release cycle for Firefox, who are churning out a new version of Firefox every 6 weeks!

MIDAS will be supported in IE11 when it becomes available. It remains unknown presently as to whether IE11 will be “exclusive” to Windows 8.1, or if like IE10, it will also be made available for Windows 7 users as well.

…and yes, you did read that right – Internet Explorer 10 is available for Windows 7 right now! (and has been for over a month). If you’re a Windows 7 and Internet Explorer user, we strongly recommend that you update to IE10 get the best out of MIDAS.

Finally, if you’re still an Internet Explorer 8 user please read our “Saying farewell to Internet Explorer 8” post and upgrade your browser… as we won’t be supporting MIDAS in IE8 indefinitely!

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


Mozilla Firefox:
Firefox 20
Mozilla’s rapid release cycle means that we’re now up to Firefox version 20! In a tweet yesterday, the Firefox team claim that with their latest version of Firefox “you can get the web up to 7 times faster than older versions”.

Mozilla also announced last week that they were collaborating with Samsung on a new rendering engine, named “Servo”. A “rendering engine” is essentially what converts raw web page code into what you actually see on your browser screen. Mozilla’s long standing rendering engine has been “Gecko”, but according to Mozilla;

“Servo is a research project to develop a new web browser engine. Our goal is to create an architecture that takes advantage of parallelism at many levels, both on the CPU and GPU, while eliminating common sources of bugs and security vulnerabilities associated with incorrect memory management and data races. With Servo, we aim to take the kinds of fluid, richer multimedia experiences expected in today’s smart phone and tablet applications to the next level on tomorrow’s web and tomorrow’s hardware.”

“Servo” is still in its early days and according to Mozilla;

It’s too early to say how [Servo] will be adopted going forward. No decision has been made as to whether Servo will replace Gecko. Gecko remains the ‘productised’ web engine for Mozilla.

So it may be that Servo ends up being a rendering engine for Mozilla’s smartphone/tablet browsers, and Gecko remains for desktop Firefox editions (which could get confusing!), or more likely in time, Mozilla will standardize their rendering engine across all platforms.

MIDAS is currently supported in Firefox 4+ (v20+ recommended)


Google Chrome:
Chrome 26
The current version of Google’s Chrome browser is v26. Ever since its first release – which was only 4 years ago! – Chrome has always used the WebKit rendering engine, most notably used by Apple’s Safari web browser. Chrome’s subsequent input into the WebKit project has really driven WebKit development forward in the last four years. WebKit is now arguably the most standards-compliant of all the rendering engines currently used by the major browsers.

However, Google recently announced that they would be developing a new rendering engine for Chrome, called “Blink”. Blink is expected to make it into builds of Chrome within just 10 weeks! Unlike Mozilla’s “Servo” engine, which is being built from the ground up, Blink is heavily based on the WebKit project.

Google have released a Blink Q&A video if you’re interested in learning more about this new rendering engine and its implementation

MIDAS is currently supported in Chrome 9+ (v26+ recommended)


Opera:
Opera 12.15
Opera are having a bit of a turbulent time of late, and in some respects appear to be loosing a sense of focus and direction!
Opera was first released in late 1994, making it the longest running browser that’s still in active development and current use today.

Apart from its longevity, what also makes Opera unique is their own “Presto” rendering engine.

Now, you may remember that back in January, we reported that Opera were making a switch from Presto to WebKit at least for their mobile browser offerings.

Then in February, it was confirmed that Opera would drop Presto for their entire range on browsers (not just mobile).

This was a move that surprised a lot of analysts, and received a mixed response from Opera’s loyal user base.

Whilst it would have been sad to see a very mature rendering engine being put out to pasture, it would have meant that with Google and Opera both contributing to WebKit (along with Safari), it provides more continuity between browsing experiences on the three browsers. Also with three major organizations contributing to the development of WebKit, it would have become very powerful. It would certainly have Mozilla and Internet Explorer (who don’t use WebKit) quaking in their boots!

…but this was before Google announced Blink… and shortly afterwards, Opera changed their minds and decided to also jump on the Blink band-wagon too, after having gone all out and confirming they were moving to WebKit!!

So it’s a little confusing at the moment as to the direction that Opera are going to be going down! ..but as things stand at the moment, here are the list of rendering engines that the five major browsers are using/will be using in the near future:

BrowserCurrent Rending EngineFuture Rendering Engine
Trident Rendering Engine Internet ExplorerTridentTrident
Gecko Rendering Engine Mozilla FirefoxGeckoServo?
Blink Rendering Engine Google ChromeWebKitBlink
Presto Rendering Engine OperaPrestoBlink?
WebKit Rendering Engine Apple SafariWebKitWebKit

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


Safari:
Safari - The Future of WebKit
As you’ll know from our previous Web Browser Roundups – it’s been pretty quiet on the Safari development front in recent months, with not much happening!

Safari’s rendering engine is WebKit, and last month it looked like both Google and Opera would begin contributing code to the WebKit project (in fact, Opera even began contributing code to WebKit).

This was before Google announced it was moving away from WebKit in favor of a new rendering engine, Blink, and then Opera followed suit and announced it was also teaming up with Google for the new Blink rendering engine.

So what will this mean for WebKit and the browser that will soon be the sole user and primary contributor to the WebKit project, Safari?

Well, it remains to be seen! WebKit was successfully developed without Google’s input in the days before Chrome. It may well survive without Google’s input in the future. But with Google and Opera pooling resources into Blink, and Firefox potentially introducing a new rendering engine too, the WebKit team (and Safari) are going to be facing a tough challenge to keep up!

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

Internet Explorer 8Exactly four years ago today, back on March 19th 2009, Microsoft first released Internet Explorer 8. In today’s fast changing web browser landscape that’s now very old indeed!

To allow us to continue to develop new and exciting features for MIDAS, occasionally it becomes necessary for us to “phase out” support for older browsers. This is when a browser’s market share drops very low, and it becomes too difficult and time-consuming to maintain compatibility with, limiting the capabilities of our scheduling software – which relies on your web browser.

For example, if you’re still running MIDAS in IE8 you’re already missing out on some features. This includes the ability to quickly drag-and-drop bookings around the booking grid to instantly reschedule them! We’ve not purposefully held this feature back from IE8 – the browser itself simply doesn’t support it!

Browser compatibility with the latest web technologies and standards (HTML5, CSS3, SVG, etc):

 

Chrome 25 89%
Firefox 19 80%
Safari 6 78%
IE10 74%
Opera 12.1 73%
IE9 43%
IE8 20%

Source: caniuse.com

We have previously dropped support for Internet Explorer 6, back in 2010. Two years later in early 2012 we also dropped support for Internet Explorer 7.

Back in November 2012, we first indicated that in the near future we would be dropping support for Internet Explorer 8.

At the start of this year, we gave further notice that IE8 support would likely be dropped “during the course of 2013“. At the same time we introduced a new feature to help notify users if their browser is too old:

Obsolete Browser Warning
Obsolete Browser Warning

Major companies such as Google have already discontinued support for Internet Explorer 8. Google took the decision in September 2012 to drop IE8 support across their range of services (including YouTube, Gmail, Docs, Drive, Blogger, etc) with effect from 15th November 2012.

Internet Explorer 10Microsoft’s 10th and latest incarnation of Internet Explorer was first introduced with Windows 8. Last month, IE10 also became available to Windows 7 users.

Given the global availability now of Internet Explorer 10, it is highly likely that we will be dropping IE8 support for our room scheduling software before the end of the year. (We’ve already seen a noticeable 4.6% drop in IE8 usage from our “hosted” clients alone so far in 2013!)

What does this mean?

Firstly, once we no longer support IE8, we won’t simply “block” MIDAS from being accessed via Internet Explorer 8! It may well be that subsequent updates to our browser-based scheduling software continue to function to some extent in IE8 after we officially drop IE8 support.

However, it does mean that we will no longer “test” MIDAS in IE8. Therefore, should you use IE8 and contact our support team with any issues, you will be advised in the first instance to update your browser.

Browsers LogosInternet Explorer 9 and 10 continue to be supported at this time, along with recent versions of all other major browsers. A full list of supported browsers can be found at https://mid.as/browsers

…but I currently use Internet Explorer 8 – what should I do?

If you’re a Windows 7 user accessing MIDAS though Internet Explorer, you can update your browser to IE10. This won’t apply if you’re running Windows 8, which already comes with IE10!

Alternatively, if you’re a Windows Vista user and use Internet Explorer, although you won’t be able to update up to IE10, you can still update Internet Explorer as far as version 9.

Our decision to drop support for IE8 will only impact a very limited number of MIDAS users; specifically those who presently use MIDAS in Internet Explorer on Windows XP. Unfortunately, the highest version of Internet Explorer that can be installed on Windows XP systems is IE8.

If you fall into this category, the good news is that MIDAS is also supported in recent versions of all other major browsers too. This includes Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, Opera, and Safari. All of these can be installed on Windows XP to allow you to continue using MIDAS! However, given that Microsoft themselves will cease all support for their XP operating system in 2014, perhaps now’s the time to be thinking about updating your 12-year old operating system anyway!?

So we apologize in advance if you are one of the small handful of users this decision may affect later this year. It’s never an easy decision for us to drop support for a browser – but we hope you’ll understand our reasons behind this move, to allow us to continue to develop a world-class web based scheduling solution that’s at the forefront of today’s new web technologies and standards!

By giving plenty of advanced notice again now – and with the introduction at the start of the year of notifications if your browser is too old – we hope you’ll take the opportunity to update your browser before our support for IE8 ends later this year!

IE10 now available for Windows 7Last month, we predicted that Internet Explorer 10 would become fully available for Windows 7 users towards the end of February.

Today, Microsoft have announced that Internet Explorer 10 is now out of “Preview” and fully available for Windows 7.

According to Microsoft, when compared to IE9, IE10 is “20% faster for real world Web sites” and has a “60% increase in supported modern Web standards

If you’re a MIDAS user who uses Internet Explorer, please update your browser to IE10. This will ensure that you have the best possible experience when using our web-based room booking system.

If you’ve already been using the “Release Preview” of IE 10, simply visit windows.microsoft.com/ie in your IE10 “Release Preview”, and you’ll be prompted to update.

To download IE10 in other languages, go to http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/internet-explorer/downloads/ie-10/worldwide-languages

IE10 Release To Manufacturing (RTM)
Internet Explorer 10 “RTM”

Internet Explorer 10 should be rolled out to Windows 7 users via Windows Update over the coming weeks. We’ve noticed however that the “About” box of today’s IE10 release (pictured above) contains letters “RTM” next to the “Update Versions”. “RTM” stands for “Release To Manufacturing”. This is a term used for software that’s made available to computer builders/manufactures before it’s actually fully released to the public.

Take Windows operating systems for example; “Windows 7 RTM” was made available to manufacturers months before Windows 7 actually became available to consumers. This was to allow manufacturers to have devices ready for the day of the actual launch of Windows 7. “RTM” editions of Microsoft software are generally not available directly to the wider public, which makes today’s IE10 release rather unusual! It also makes it unlikely that IE 10.0.9200.16521 (Today’s build) will be the same build that ends up being delivered through Windows Update.

…but perhaps the presence of “RTM” in the About dialog is just a small oversight on Microsoft’s part. After all, it does still state “© 2012” on the dialog after all, despite it being 2013!

UPDATE: IE10 is now available for Windows 7 through Windows Update. However, although it’s classed as an “Important” update, it is not selected by default! So if you have your Windows Update settings to “Install Important Updates Automatically”, this won’t currently also install IE10. You will instead need to manually check for updates, and “tick” the box next to the “Internet Explorer 10 for Windows 7” update in order to install

Web Browser Roundup – February 2013

Here’s our take on all the latest web browser news for February…

  • Internet Explorer – Speculation continues over the IE10 release date for Windows 7
  • Chrome – The most actively developed browser?
  • Firefox – 18.0.2 now available.. development slowing down?
  • Safari – Are its days numbered?
  • Opera – 300 million active users and a full move to WebKit confirmed!

Internet Explorer:
Internet Explorer 10 - The Browser You Loved To Hate
At the very end of last month, Microsoft released an IE10 Update Blocker Toolkit. This led to speculation that IE10 for Windows 7 may be just around the corner!

There was some speculation that IE10 may have been pushed through Windows Update on 12th February to coincide with Microsoft’s monthly “Patch Tuesday”, when they were already planning on releasing some “critical updates” to Internet Explorer.

Whilst the critical updates for IE were included in this month’s Patch Tuesday, IE10 itself wasn’t. This isn’t entirely surprising, given that the update blocker (which prevents IE10 from being downloaded/installed via Windows Update) was only made available 13 days earlier. 13 days is hardly enough time for corporate environments (for which the blocker is aimed) to deploy the blocker throughout their IT infrastructure.

It’s instead more likely that IE10 will make a proper appearance for Windows 7 users at the end of the month, or in early March. This is based on when previous “IE blockers” were released. That’s assuming of course the IE team can be dragged away from devoting their time/energy/resources to developing endless web-based games, such as Contre Jour, to showcase how “great” Internet Explorer is. Instead, we think they really should focus instead on developing their actual web browser!

Anyway, you can read more about our predictions for when IE10 will likely be fully available in our blog post, “…and the final release date for Internet Explorer 10 on Windows 7 is…

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


Google Chrome:
Chrome 24
Chrome continues to receive regular updates – in fact the Stable channel was updated only yesterday for Linux users to fix *another* Flash vulnerability!

These frequently discovered Flash vulnerabilities are not confined to Chrome. They can affect any browser on a computer with Flash installed. This is also why Microsoft pushed a couple of “critical updates” to Internet Explorer yesterday.

In our opinion, the sooner Flash is killed off the better! For today’s modern web browser, it serves no real purpose! Everything that Flash can do can these days be accomplished through a use of HTML5, CSS3, and Javascript.

You won’t find any Flash on our website, or within our scheduling web app

Anyway, back to Chrome; So far this month, there have been no fewer than 3 updates to the “Stable” channel. If you’re a normal Chrome user, you’ll automatically receive updates from the “Stable” channel. Two updates were made to the Chrome Beta for Android, two to the “Dev” channel, and one update to the “Beta” channel… and we’re only halfway through the month!

Google Chrome is arguably the most “actively” developed web browser at the present time.

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


Mozilla Firefox:
Firefox 18
At the start of the month, Mozilla, released Firefox 18.0.2.

Primarily a security & stability update, 18.0.2 does have a handful of new features/improvements, most notably:

  • Faster JavaScript performance
  • Better image quality when scaling
  • Improved browser start-up time. (Chrome already has the fastest start-up times out of all the major browsers we tested a couple of months back to determine “Which Browser is Best?“)
  • Support for Retina Display on OS X 10.7 and up

In recent times, Mozilla have been releasing a “major” update to Firefox every six weeks or so. However, we wonder if this release cycle may now start to slow down whilst the Mozilla team focus more of their attention on their upcoming “Firefox OS” project.

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


Safari:
Safari 5
Sadly, once again, there’s no new Safari news to report! As you’ll know from our November update, Safari development has taken back seat over at Apple in recent times. Apple instead have been seemingly more focused on their hardware offerings, than on their web browser. As we reported at the end of last year, they’ve currently ceased development on the Windows version of Safari.

And with other browsers, such as Chrome or Firefox available (and soon to become available) for iPad and iOS users, you do have to wonder whether Safari’s days are numbered? Will it be long before Apple take the decision to cease Safari development completely?!

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


Opera:
Opera 12.14
Last month we reported that Opera were dropping their own rendering engine, “Presto”, in favor of “WebKit” for a new mobile browser “Ice”. WebKit is the rendering engine already used by the likes of Safari and Chrome.

At the time, there was no word as to whether this move would mean that “Presto” was to also be ultimately phased out of their desktop browser offering as well.

Well, now this has been confirmed in an official Opera Press Release. The primary reason for the press release was to mark the fact that Opera now has an impressive 300 million monthly users across its various browser products. In the release CTO of Opera Software, Håkon Wium Lie, also writes:

“The WebKit engine is already very good, and we aim to take part in making it even better. It supports the standards we care about, and it has the performance we need. It makes more sense to have our experts working with the open source communities to further improve WebKit and Chromium, rather than developing our own rendering engine [Presto] further.”

No timescale has been given for this transition. It’s likely though to be a gradual progression over to WebKit rather than a sudden overnight switch.

In some respects it will be sad to see the “Presto” engine go. The more different browser rendering engines there are, the more competition there is to be the “best” and most up-to-date standards compliant browser. But in many other respects, this could actually be a very good move!

WebKit is actively in development by both Apple and Google, and is what powers their respective browsers. Add to this mix the extensive development expertise that the Opera team have. We do mean extensive too! Opera has been in constant development since 1994!). It will likely have Firefox (which uses its own “Gecko” engine), and Internet Explorer (which uses its own “Trident” engine) pretty worried!

Because Chrome, Safari, and soon Opera too, will use the same rendering engine, in theory web pages (and apps) should look identical in which ever of these browsers you use. This should make life easier for web developers! (In practice this isn’t quite true, as each browser has a different release cycle, so new features in the WebKit engine itself make it into one browser weeks, if not months, before another).

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