Posts Tagged ‘Chrome’

Podcast #24: Weeping Angels

Friday, April 5th, 2013

Dylan and I talked about Blink last night, as well as discussing our experiences at the Squeetup event we had that coincided with AEA’s opening night party.

Here’s Dylan’s recap of the podcast:

Kyle and Dylan talk through the implications of Google’s new Blink browser engine and what it means for the future of web standards. Also, a review of the Squeetup, a Joel Spolsky reference, and Dylan’s exhaustion causing a few too many pregnant pauses.

You can go listen to it now at

Forest Browser Friends: The Great Race

Wednesday, March 16th, 2011
CSSquirrel #84: Forest Browser Friends - The Great Race!

Even if haters can’t admit it out loud, they probably need to admit it to themselves deep down inside: Nine is a contender.

For years, Internet Explorer has been out of the game when it comes to any discussion of what constitutes a modern browser. Version 8, as much as it was a drastic improvement over what had come before, was something I viewed more as a correction of 6 and 7′s many errors, and clearly not an effort towards embracing more modern features.

But Nine? Hardware acceleration. A blazingly fast JavaScript engine. Robust CSS3 support (missing things, but includes a decent chunk of what I wanted to see). HTML5 features like <video>, <audio> and even <canvas>. SVG support. On top of it all it’s got a slick, minimalist interface.

Internet Explorer 9 is a modern browser. Period. Dissenters and naysayers are at best nitpicking and at worse lashing out due to old habit.

There are downsides. I wish that they’d made it for XP, but as Microsoft is in the habit of selling operating systems I understand how complex of an issue that might be for their business model. It doesn’t include all the CSS3 I want to see (gradients, anyone?) but they do give a reasonable-sounding reasoning why (ostensibly, they don’t want to add a feature that has to be changed or removed later, and gradients currently have at least two exclusive syntaxes).

But the bottom line is that although IE9 isn’t perfect, it’s also not the flawed, stunted beast of ill-will and developer-consuming horror that its ancestors were. We, as designers, should be grateful that we’ve got another modern browser making our websites look better (and capable of doing more) without requiring us to craft different code for different browsers.

(But feel free to kvetch about the challenge in getting XP users to upgrade to a modern browser. My opinion on that? Tell them to use Chrome or Opera.)

The Orange, Flaming Elephant In The Room

I don’t, as a rule, use Internet Explorer as my daily browser. After all, I want the whole, real web, and historically it was not the best candidate for that. Now that Nine is out, I’ve found in the past couple days that my tolerance levels for my de facto browser, one Mr. Firefox, is suddenly waning.

Firefox is slow.

Today’s comic makes light of this sad, sad bit of information.

Additionally, when using some newer “HTML5″ JS features (such as localStorage) I’ve found Firefox even locking up on what seems like a quick, trivial task for competitors like Chrome. And the old mainstay of my reason to keep Firefox, the plugins, is no longer as unique a feature as it was. I’ve been trying to stick it out until Firefox 4 is released, but I’m losing confidence rapidly in Mozilla’s formerly delicious love child. When using a laptop or trying to quickly load a page to show a friend a neat bit of code or a cute cat video, I’ve lost my patience with Firefox. I’ll fire up Chrome… or Heaven forfend, I’ve even used IE9 in the past day.

I’m not convinced that Internet Explorer’s plunge in its percentage of browser users is going to change yet, despite IE9. I do think, however, that if current trends continue then Firefox is going to find itself facing a plunge of its own while IE’s fortune improves. Of all the modern browsers out there it currently seems to be lagging the most.

That’s right, I said it. I think Firefox is lagging behind Internet Explorer now in terms of modernity.

It’s all well and good to support gradients and other CSS3 features. But right now with the blossoming trend of web apps and the general push to a web-based computer culture, speed is becoming the king of relevance in making a browser worth using. And at the moment, I’m not convinced Firefox 4 is improving enough to close the gap.

Nine isn’t going to be my browser of choice. It’ll take some time yet before Microsoft can convince me to get back to using the big blue e on a regular basis. But its dramatic improvement has made me strongly examine my current browser of choice. I hear Chrome has Firebug.

Good show, Nine. Firefox, time to pony up.

Comic Update: Opera’s Childish Antics

Monday, May 11th, 2009

I don’t need to write too much about this particular topic, as I’ve ranted about it in the past, but I couldn’t help but notice Andy Clarke’s micro-rants on Twitter about Opera’s recent bad behavior towards Microsoft (see here, here, here, here, here and even here for some samples of his thoughts). I was hoping to see a blog post manifest from him that I could read while laughing deeply, perhaps even shooting milk from my nose. Alas, Andy’s better sense took hold and he did the smart thing and went and watched Star Trek.

I also saw Star Trek. It was good. It was better than good. Go watch it, you’ll love it. I promise.

As it stands, I’ll take a swing or two in his place. First, let me direct you to today’s comic featuring Andy Clarke, wherein a couple of cheap shots are made at Opera’s expense. Then, continue reading.

First, I’m aware that browser usage statistics are like a dark art, much akin to necromancy and astrology, where accuracy isn’t really achievable. But the fact is (and take a look at Wikipedia’s page on the topic) that Opera according to some of these browser usage sources does in fact have less users than Netscape.

That’s right, there’s still people using Netscape. How scary is that? I wonder if they think grunge is alive and watch reruns of Family Matters while downloading websites on 14kbps modems. And just to reiterate, there’s more of these people (according to some sources) than there are people using Opera.

Beyond that, Google Chrome is the new hot browser in town and has already exceeded Opera’s user base in less than a year. That’s right, less than a year.

Look, I’m not saying it’s the number of users that count. After all, IE6 is utter rubbish and it’s still being used by too many people out there. What I am saying is that instead of wasting your company’s public image whining about the fact that Microsoft is doing us all a favor and forcing IE8 updates over their update system, you could be spending time looking at your own browser and figuring out why among other things a browser that has been dragged along for a decade by AOL then finally shot in the head (aka, Netscape) still has more users than your product.

Instead of making absurd suggestions that your competition serve your product via their update service, maybe you could look at Google Chrome and devise how it so rapidly out-paced you in such a short period of time?

Microsoft’s browser, even its newest version, isn’t even close to the coolest browser on the market. I don’t like Internet Explorer, and I only use it to check website compatibility in my job. But I don’t use Opera either, and that’s because (among other reasons) it has thus far convinced me (and the rest of the world) that it’s not worth the effort of installing and using rather than Firefox, or Safari, or the other web standards-compliant browsers on the market. It’s enough to make me wonder why we consider Opera part of the Big Four (now the Big Five). At this rate, with even terminated browsers giving Opera a run for the money, should we expand that name to the Big Six?

Is Opera a good browser? Yes. If that’s not the reason that it’s being ignored, than what is? Perhaps a lack of add-on support. I’ve always felt that Opera’s too busy telling people how to surf the web, and not spending enough time figuring out the features people want. Firefox isn’t popular on accident.

But I’ll tell you the number one reason why I don’t use Opera. It’s because of the company’s public behavior with their legal actions and petulant whining. The rank-and-file employees are talented people creating a worthwhile (albeit, not standout) product. But the big shots on top cost the company their credibility every time they make a cheap, transparently spiteful shot at the current market leader.

And lest I let the others off the hook, shame on Mozilla and Google for getting involved with the EU nonsense. Focus on your products, not on begging the government to get people to install your browsers for you.

Comic Update: The Cake Is A Lie

Sunday, December 21st, 2008

I don’t believe that Google Chrome is going to kill Firefox as today’s comic implies (with a Portal-inspired twist), but I do believe that if there’s a non-Microsoft browser that stands a chance of overtaking Firefox’s #2 position in the browser usage market, I see Chrome as the most likely candidate.

The reasons seem pretty straightforward to me, but I’ll enumerate them for those that think I’m off my rocker:

1. Safari is too Apple-centric to ever catch Firefox, with the possible exception of a far future where Mac OS is in the market position Windows is. Of course, it won’t ever be, because Mac OS is tied exclusively to Apple hardware, and I don’t foresee Apple computers reaching the price point where they’ll take such a commanding lead in sales. Then, if Apple reached that point, they’d probably be sued for monolopy-related software bundling just like the challenges IE/Window is always receiving.

2. Opera is too preachy to ever escape its small market share. They don’t want to build the software that people want. They’d rather build the software that they think is best and then try to evangelize to the masses until they convert to Opera’s way of thinking. One example of what I mean here: addons. It’s more than clear at this point that end-users want to customize their browser with any doodad they can dream up. Opera’s adamantly against that. It’s a shame, because they have a GREAT browser.

3. Google’s a verb of the 21st century. It’s gone past being a product, or a web app, or a service. It’s something you do to find something on the Internet. And with their main portal and their other big sites like YouTube quietly recommending Chrome, it’s going to get exposure to hundreds of millions of “average” web surfers who’ve never even heard of Opera or Firefox.

4. So far, Google appears to be positioned to making Chrome into the kind of browser people want. It’s fast and streamlined, but at the same time they plan to make it capable of supporting addons and other features that will let people make of it what they will. Give someone a car, and they’ll drive it. Give someone a fast car and a garage to tinker in, and they’ll obsess over it their entire life.

Take into account all that and the fact that many major hardware vendors are talking about making Chrome the default installed browser on machines they ship, and you’ve got a good reason to claim that Chrome could rapidly rise in the ranks.

To me, the question isn’t whether Chrome will overtake Safari and Opera. It will (and as it finally gets Apple and Linux versions that should accelerate adoption). The question will be whether Firefox’s head start, existing community of users and addon-makers, and equal devotion to constantly improving standard compliance and JavaScript speed increases will be enough to keep the lead.

Frankly, whichever keeps ahead in standards support, speed, and expandibility (addons, etc) will be the one that I make my browser of choice. Regardless of which wins, I hope they collectively continue to chip away at the undeserved lead of clunky, slow Internet Explorer.