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Internet Explorer 10 Release DateBack in November last year, we announced the availability of a “preview” version of Internet Explorer 10 for Windows 7 users. Users of Windows 8 already have the full IE10 browser!

Why was Internet Explorer 10 not made available to Windows 7 at the same time as Windows 8? Could it be that Microsoft intentionally delayed the release in order to encourage/boost sales of Windows 8? Whatever the reasons, it’s finally looking like IE10 is about to be officially rolled out to Windows 7 through Windows Update!

Whilst Microsoft remain tight-lipped over the precise release date, there are a number of indicators that point to a release this month.

The strongest indicator follows an announcement on Microsoft’s official IE blog yesterday that the “IE10 Automatic Update Blocker Toolkit” is now available to download.

What’s the “IE10 Automatic Update Blocker Toolkit” we hear you ask?!

Basically it’s a small application that can be run to prevent IE10 being delivered to your computer through Windows Update when it becomes available.

Why would you want to do that?

Well, most people wouldn’t – that is unless you’re a large organization/company who’s IT department isn’t ready/doesn’t want to update to IE10 just yet. The reason is usually because they’re worried about compatibility issues with web based business applications deployed within their organization.

With our web-based room scheduling software, MIDAS, there are no such worries – MIDAS runs great in Internet Explorer 10!

So if your organization uses MIDAS, we’d encourage you to deploy IE10 as soon as it becomes available!

What light then does the release of this update blocker shed on a potential release date for IE10?

Well, Microsoft have previously released update blockers just prior to the release of IE9, 8, etc

For example:

  • IE7 was released on Wednesday 18th October 2006 (the IE8 blocker was released 84 days earlier in July 2006)
  • IE8 was released on Thursday 19th March 2009 (the IE8 blocker was released 73 days earlier in January 2009)
  • IE9 was released on Monday 14th March 2011 (the IE9 blocker was released 32 days earlier in February 2011)

So the length of time between a “blocker” being made available and the actual browser release has decreased for each major incarnation of IE over the years. It’s sensible then to assume, given that the IE10 blocker was made available yesterday, that IE10 can expect to be fully released before the end of the month!

Now, the second Tuesday of each month, is affectionately known in the IT world as “Patch Tuesday”. Traditionally the day on which Microsoft regularly release a big update of security patches. “Patch Tuesday” this month will be 12th February. So could Microsoft be gearing up to release IE10 through Windows Update on the same day?! …is 13 days a long enough time period to allow all those IT departments wishing to prevent an automatic update to IE10 to deploy the blocker? After all, we’ve noticed that Microsoft tend to panda more to the needs/demands of large corporation’s IT departments than to regular home users. So they’re unlikely to push IE10 through a Windows Updates update until they’re happy that those who want to block it, have done.

Either way, as soon as we learn that IE10 has been fully released and available through Windows Update, we’ll be sure to let you know!

…and if you’re an IE user we’d certainly encourage upgrading to IE10 when you can, it really is a big leap forward from IE9!

UPDATE: 26th February 2013: Internet Explorer 10 is now fully available to download for Windows 7

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. The video focuses on how people “love to hate” Internet Explorer. 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. This is 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. Yet in comparison to the latest offerings from the other major 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 released a long time ago. 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 promises to have support for the new and emerging “Web Speech API”. This may 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 Star Trek IV…

Scotty - Hello Computer

In other Chrome news; if you’ve got an Android smartphone, 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 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. This may however be a restriction imposed by Apple, rather than by choice.

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 seen exactly what impact Firefox OS will have!

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 taken a back seat at Apple in recent times. Apple are seemingly more focused on their hardware offerings, than on their web browser. In fact, as we reported, they’ve ceased development on the Windows version of Safari. Perhaps 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 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. This might actually 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 was 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.

It doesn’t end there though. 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 certainly 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 Opera

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. As such, new features of the WebKit engine make it into sooner into one browser than the other. But if Opera also make the switch to WebKit at some point, 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

Download Internet Explorer 10 for Windows 7It’s not often that Microsoft release a major new version of their Internet Explorer browser. In fact, in the past three years, there had only been two major updates to Internet Explorer (8 and 9). Compare that with other browser developers, such as Mozilla. In the same period, Mozilla released no fewer than 13 major updates to their Firefox browser (4 – 16). Also in the same period Google have introduced the world to their increasingly popular Chrome Browser. To date, Google have released 23 major updates to Chrome!

So there’s no question that Microsoft’s development of their flagship browser has been lackluster in recent years to say the least. However, that may soon be set to change with the surprise departure today of Microsoft’s Head of Windows, Steven Sinofsky. In a press release by Microsoft, CEO Steve Ballmer says:

“I am grateful for the many years of work that Steven has contributed to the company. The products and services we have delivered to the market in the past few months mark the launch of a new era at Microsoft…. To continue this success it is imperative that we continue to drive alignment across all Microsoft teams, and have more integrated and rapid development cycles for our offerings”

Hopefully this commitment to “rapid development cycles” will mean that in the near future Internet Explorer will start being updated on a more regular basis. Years between updates really isn’t acceptable in this day and age, especially when competing developers are pushing out major browser updates every few months, if not every few weeks!

Anyway, back to Internet Explorer 10; Microsoft first released an “IE10 Platform Preview” on 12 April 2011. This allowed developers and Windows 7 users alike to get a glimpse of what’s to come in Internet Explorer 10. A second platform preview for IE10 was released shortly after… and then… nothing!

Then, when the developer previews of Windows 8 began to emerge, Internet Explorer 10 made a reappearance. Sadly, again only in “preview” form, but notably this time, Windows 7 users were left out of the loop. Microsoft wouldn’t allow these subsequent “previews” of IE10 to run on anything other than Windows 8. This decision left many developers who didn’t have access to Windows 8 developer previews frustrated as they were unable to check that their web apps/sites worked correctly with IE10.

The “final” version of Internet Explorer 10 (10.0.9200.16384) then came bundled with Windows 8 when Microsoft’s new operating system was released to manufacturers (RTM) on 26th October 2012. However, several weeks later and since the launch of Windows 8, IE10 still continues to elude Windows 7 users.

…until today! …well, kind of!

Today, Microsoft have made Internet Explorer 10 available to Windows 7 users!! Hang on, hold your horses! …it’s another “preview” only! A “Release Preview” to give it its proper title (Version: 10.0.9200.16438), which users can download and install alongside their existing IE9 installation.

You can download Internet Explorer 10 for Windows 7 here:
http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/internet-explorer/downloads/ie-10/worldwide-languages

Internet Explorer 10 build 10.0.9200.16438 This “Release Preview” requires that you have at least Service Pack 1 (SP1) of Windows 7 installed. Alternatively, you can also install this Release Preview if running Windows Server 2008 R2 (SP1) or Windows Home Server (WHS) 2011 too!!

There’s still no word on when a “final” release of IE10 will become available to Windows 7 users (via the usual Windows Update channel). But given that this is not just a “preview” but a “release preview” suggests a final release isn’t too far behind! The only clue we have from Microsoft is that “final availability to follow as we collect developer and customer feedback”

Should you wait for a “final” release of IE10 to become available for Windows 7, or should you download this latest “preview” now?

If you’re an avid Internet Explorer user, and have never tried one of the other browser offerings available today, the chances are you’re somewhat stuck in the past with your browsing experience in Internet Explorer 9. In which case, we think you’ll be pleasantly surprised with just how much better your web apps and favorite websites look and function in IE10 over IE9. So even though this is a “Release Preview” we suggest you install it!

Our browser based room scheduling software, MIDAS, is supported in all major browsers, and in Internet Explorer 8+ (although if you’re an IE user, we recommend IE10!)