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Posts Tagged: mozilla

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.

Mozilla Corporation

You’ve probably heard of Mozilla – they’re the folks behind the well known and popular Firefox web browser, and as you may know, we develop a powerful browser-based Room and Resource Scheduling System, MIDAS, which we support in all major browsers, including Firefox.

In fact, ever since we first began development of MIDAS back in 2005, the primary browser we continue to do the bulk of our development and debugging in has been Firefox! It’s been our browser of choice, and we’ve long since been admirers of Mozilla’s open and inclusive approach to the development of Firefox and the web, and their company ethos, that:

“Mozilla believes both in equality and freedom of speech. Equality is necessary for meaningful speech. And you need free speech to fight for equality”

However, today Mozilla have demonstrated that this ethos is in fact untrue, and that they no longer believe in equality and freedom of speech for ALL.

Here’s a brief outline of what’s happened:

Mozilla Firefox Last month, Mozilla appointed a new CEO, Brendan Eich. Eich was the inventor of Javascript (one of the programming languages that our software utilizes!) and co-founder of mozilla.org.

Six years earlier, in 2008, long before he became CEO, Eich made a personal donation to a campaign for “California Proposition 8“, a bill which, rightly or wrongly depending upon your view, opposed same-sex marriage taking place in the state of California.

Following his appointment to CEO of Mozilla last month, a number of Mozilla employees, board members, and members of the global L.G.B.T community expressed their unhappiness with his appointment to the role of CEO, as they felt that because he’d previously supported a campaign opposing same-sex marriage this made him unsuitable to be CEO of a company that had equality and freedom of speech at the very heart of its core values.

For the past several weeks, since Eich’s appointment, there has been a sustained and vicious campaign targeted against Mozilla, Firefox, and Eich himself, with pressure from all sides for Eich to stand down/be removed from his role as CEO.

Today, following this sustained pressure, Eich has stepped down as CEO.

Many are celebrating this, however, regardless of your view of Brendan Eich or your position on same-sex marriage, Mozilla as a company promoted “equality and freedom of speech” for ALL. By this token, Eich (along with every other Mozilla employee, regardless of position, gender, religion, or sexual orientation) has the same right to express his views without fear of censorship or persecution – whether you agree with his views or not.

No one should be denied the right to express their PERSONAL opinion or view on any subject, and remember, this was only a personal view of Eich, not an official Mozilla/Firefox view/policy/position.

In pressuring and forcing their CEO to step down because of his *personal* view on a subject, Mozilla have denied Eich his right to equality and demonstrated that they no longer stand for true equality and freedom of speech for everyone.

We used to believe that Mozilla were promoting an “open web for all” – we are now struggling to reconcile this ethos with Mozilla’s actions and stance today.

Many Firefox users have since taken to Twitter to vent their anger & disappointment at @Mozilla and @Firefox‘s stance on this matter, with many previously loyal users uninstalling and boycotting their products in protest.

Our web based Room and Resource Scheduling Software MIDAS is supported in Firefox, but also supported in Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, Apple Safari and Opera browsers as well – as we believe in giving you the choice over which browser (and company) you choose.

UPDATE 6th April:
Two days later, and Mozilla’s own customer feedback site (https://input.mozilla.org) clearly shows the amount of negative feeling towards the company as a result:

Mozilla Customer’s Feelings
Browser Logos

We put the latest web browsers head-to-head to try to find out which one is best!

In developing a powerful and feature-rich browser based room booking and resource scheduling system that’s supported in all five major browsers, we often get asked “So, which is the best web browser?”.

This time last year we put Chrome 23, Firefox 16, Internet Explorer 9 & 10, Opera 12 and Safari 5 head-to-head

Now, twelve months on, and less than a week since Internet Explorer 11 became available for Windows 7, Firefox celebrated its ninth birthday, and just a day after Google Chrome 31 is released, we decided it was high time to once again put the latest web browsers offerings “head-to-head” and independently, rigorously test and benchmark them to find out which one of the five major browsers is currently “the best”….

Browsers Tested

Google Chrome 31Mozilla Firefox 25Microsoft Internet Explorer 11Opera 17Apple Safari 5
Google Chrome 31Mozilla Firefox 25Internet Explorer 11Opera 17Apple Safari 5

The Tests

We broadly tested four key areas of browser performance: Speed, Memory Usage, Compliance with standards, and Javascript Performance.

1. Speed

The “Cold Start” test measures the time taken to load up the browser upon its first run after a computer reboot. This is measured from the point at which the browser is executed until the point at which its user interface (UI) is ready to accept input.

The “Non-Cold Start” test measures the time taken to load up the browser on second and subsequent runs after its first run after a reboot. This is measured from the point at which the browser is executed until the point at which the user interface (UI) is ready to accept input.

With the browser open, an empty cache, and showing a blank page (about:blank), the “Page Load Time (No-Cached Load)” test measures the time taken to completely load a complex webpage. This is measured from the point at which the “Enter” key is pressed on the URL in the browser’s address bar until the point at which the test webpage has fully loaded (as reported by an “onLoad” event on the test webpage).

With the browser open, and the test webpage already loaded in a single tab, the “Page Load Time (Reload from Cache)” test measures the time taken to reload a complex webpage. This is measured from the point at which the F5 key (refresh) is pressed until the point at which the test webpage has fully reloaded (as reported by an “onLoad” event on the test webpage).

2. Memory Usage

The “Base Memory Usage (Blank Tab)” test measures the amount of memory used by the browser with just a single blank (about:blank) tab open.

The “Memory Usage (10 open tabs)” test measures the amount of memory used by the browser with 10 tabs open, each displaying the home page of a popular website.

3. Compliance

The “HTML5 Compliance” test measures how well each browser conforms to the current state of the HTML5 specification.

The “CSS3 Compliance” test measures how well each browser conforms to the current state of the CSS3 specification.

4. Javascript Performance

There are a number of different Javascript Performance Benchmark tests available today, all of which give quite different results. We’ve analyzed results from 6 of the most popular Benchmarking Tests and aggregated the results below:

Individual details of each of the 6 individual Javascript benchmark test suits used to arrived at these aggregated scores may be found in our full test report, available to view/download at the end of this page.

Summary

CategoryTestWinnerRunner Up
SpeedCold StartFF25IE11
Non-Cold StartIE11SF5.1
Page Load Time (Non-Cached Load)OP17IE11
Page Load Time (Reload from Cache)GC31OP17
Memory UsageBase MemoryIE11SF5.1
10 Open TabsFF25SF5.1
ComplianceHTML5GC31OP17
CSS3OP17GC31
PerformanceJavascript Performance (Aggregate)GC31OP17

Results

1st Place2nd Place3rd Place4th Place5th Place
Google Chrome 31Opera 17Microsoft Internet Explorer 11Mozilla Firefox 25Apple Safari 5
Google Chrome 31Opera 17Internet Explorer 11Mozilla Firefox 25Apple Safari 5

The above overall positions were derived based upon the sum of the positions that each browser finished in in each of our tests. For example, in our HTML 5 compliance test, Chrome came first and so was assigned 1 point, Safari came 5th and so was assigned 5 points. Browsers were then ranked according to the lowest number of points to give the 1st-5th places above (1st being the best)

Analysis

Google Chrome 31 Google Chrome
When we last tested the five major browsers back in November 2012, Chrome came first in 8 out of 13 our tests, making it a clear winner!
A year later, and Chrome is still going strong, coming top in 8 out of 15 tests, and second in a further two tests.
Where Chrome still doesn’t perform quite as well is when it comes to its memory usage, using well over 3 times as much memory with a single blank tab open than Internet Explorer 11.

Mozilla Firefox 25 Mozilla Firefox
We were a little surprised that Firefox only came top in 3 out of 15 tests, and only once came runner up. To Firefox’s credit, its main strength still seems to be in its memory usage. With 10 websites open in separate tabs, the amount of memory used was less than half that of Chrome with the same ten sites open.

Microsoft Internet Explorer 11 Internet Explorer
We were pleasantly surprised by the improvement of Internet Explorer 11 over previous versions as well as other browsers.
IE11 came top in a couple of our tests, and runner up in a further three.
Where IE11 appears to have improved most over earlier versions of Microsoft’s browser in is the length of time taken to load and pages (either from a server, or from the cache) as well as start/restart the browser itself. In our tests, starting IE11 took just 0.01463 seconds! – some 280x quicker than Opera started.
That said, in general Internet Explorer 11 still has a way to go to come up to par with the other major browsers in terms of HTML 5 compliance.

Opera 17 Opera
A lot has changed with Opera since we last tested browsers twelve months ago. Since then, Opera have switched from using their own “Presto” layout rendering engine to instead using the same engine as Chrome.
Whilst this change has been received with mixed reviews by Opera users, with some unhappy that many of Opera’s original features were dropped, our test results actually show that the “new” Opera is a browser to be reckoned with, out performing Internet Explorer 11, Firefox 25 and Safari 5 in our tests.
Opera 17 came top in 3 out of our 15 tests, and runner up in 6.
The browser also scored highly on HTML5/CSS3 compliance and in our aggregated Javascript performance tests, however, Opera’s memory usage was fairly high, second only to Chrome. Opera 17 was slow to start, however, once running it loaded and rendered web pages swiftly.

Apple Safari 5.1 Safari
Our browsers tests were performed on a Windows machine (test specifics are included at the end of this report). Whilst the latest version of Safari is 7, Apple took the decision after the release of Safari 5.1 to no longer continue developing Safari for Windows users – a mistake in our view! Therefore, the most recent version of Safari available to Windows users is 5.1.7, which was used in our testing.
Given that Safari 5.1.7 is now the oldest of the 5 browsers tested, it follows that is doesn’t perform as well as its peers.
However, surprisingly, it did come runner up in both our memory tests as well as our non-cold start test.

Conclusions – From a Developers Perspective

From our perspective, as developers of a leading web-based room booking and resource scheduling solution, perhaps the most important factors in determining which browser is “best” are compliance with the latest HTML5 and CSS3 standards. As we work hard to ensure our software works well in all the major browsers, this is where having universal standards between browsers becomes so important. In theory, a website (or in our case, a web app), should look and behave the same regardless of the browser being used, which should in theory happen if all browsers complied 100% with standards! Chrome 31 currently comes the closest to the HTML 5 standard with 93% compliance, but as can be seen, CSS3 compliance still has a long way to go for all browsers, with the winning browser in the CSS3 compliance test (Opera 17) only achieving 58% compliance.

Speed (page load time) and Javascript Performance are also important factors for us, as we want our web app to be as fast and responsive as possible. Opera 17 and Chrome 25 loaded pages faster in our tests, with Internet Explorer 11 following close behind. As for performance, both Chrome 25 and Opera 17 outperformed other browsers in our aggregated Javascript performance test scores.

A few surprising finds:

  • Microsoft have made some significant steps forward with Internet Explorer 11 over earlier incarnations of their browser.
  • Opera 17 performed better than expected
  • Firefox 25 performed worse than expected, finishing an overall 4th place in our tests.
Online Web Based Room SchedulingMIDAS, our popular Browser-Based Room & Resource Scheduling Software is currently supported in all browser versions we’ve tested here. Find out more at https://mid.as

Conclusions – So which browser should I use then!?

• If you work with lots of browser tabs open at once, and/or the amount of available memory on your system is limited, Firefox 25 would seem a good choice of browser to use, as this used the less memory than other browsers under the same conditions.

• If you regularly open and close your browser, Internet Explorer 11 or Firefox 25 would seem a good choice as these browsers start up quickly. If, however, you tend to keep your browser running most of the time, Opera 17 would be a better choice, as even though its start-up time is considerably longer, initial page load times are the quickest of all the browsers we tested

• If you’re still using an earlier version of Internet Explorer – it’s certainly worth upgrading to IE11, or if that’s not possible (for example, if you’re using Windows XP, you won’t be able to update your Internet Explorer past version 8!), maybe it’s time to try a different browser!?

• At the end of the day, use the browser that you feel most comfortable with! …BUT make sure you keep it up-to-date, and don’t ignore the competition – if you do, you risk being left behind as other browsers overtake yours in terms of their speed, security, memory usage, standard compliance, and performance!

• In recent years, browsers such as Internet Explorer and Opera have been somewhat overlooked by many regular internet users – but if you’ve not used these browsers for years having previously dismissed them – a lot has changed, and it’s certainly worth giving them a second look again now!

View/Download The Complete Web Browser Test Report HERE

Test Specifics

Browsers Tested: Chrome 31.0.1650.48 m | Firefox 25.0 | Internet Explorer 11.0.9600.16428 | Opera 17 (Build 1652) | Safari 5.1.7 (7534.57.2)

Browser tests were performed on an Intel® Atom™ CPU D525 @ 1.80GHz system, with 4GB Ram, running Windows Home Server 2011 SP1 (Windows Server 2008 R2) 64-bit. Each browser was a clean install, using default install and browsers settings, and with no extensions/addons installed or enabled.

Speed tests were measured using Rob Keir’s millisecond timer and PassMark AppTimer v1.0. Each speed test was performed 10 times for each browser, and the results averaged to provide the data presented in this report.

Compliance Tests: HTML5 | CSS3

Javascript Performance Tests: Dromaeo | Speed-Battle | Sunspider | Peacekeeper | Octane | BrowserMark

Memory usage was measured 60 seconds after tabs had finished loading and was measured through the Windows Task Manager. Memory usage includes all associated processes running with the browser (for example, running Safari spawns both “Safari.exe” and “WebKit2WebProcess.exe” processes, the memory usage of both is taken into account)

The 10 sites open in tabs when measuring memory usage (10 open tabs) were:
//mid.as | http://news.bbc.co.uk | http://facebook.com | https://twitter.com | http://google.co.uk | https://youtube.com | http://wikipedia.org | http://linkedin.com | http://bing.com | http://amazon.co.uk

Test Date: 13 November 2013

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:
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:
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)