Articles in the ‘Browsers’ Category

Chrome or Opera

opera and chromeI’ve been experimenting with browsers for the past few days. Ever since Firefox 4b11 blew up (literally couldn’t do anything, even with a re-install) I’ve been playing with other browsers. I’ve been an Opera user since 9.5 and I’ve been very happy – but you can’t help thinking, “is life greener on the other side of the fence? Is Chrome better?” So, I tried to answer that

No, it’s not.

After setting my default browser to Chrome 10 dev channel, I set about finding extensions to match what Opera gives you out of the box. I end up with the speed dial, gesture and colour picker extensions, as well as a funny little flag icon that is supposed to tell me where a server is from, but doesn’t work. Overall, none of these extensions were as good as Opera’s default functionality. The speed dial slowed my computer down more than sped it up and it didn’t have the Ctrl+(num) navigation that I love so much. The gesture plugin was good but not as quick as Opera. The colour picker was fine and matched Dragonfly fine.

Just, in general, browsing seemed slower. Tabs seemed slower to change and page rendering wasn’t as smooth. Font rendering wasn’t as smooth and, although it was GPU accelerated, didn’t feel right.

So, what was better in Chrome? Well, the web inspector has a better UI, but Dragonfly has come on leaps and bounds in terms of performance. Neither of them are as good as Firebug, but web inspector currently trumps Dragonfly. To be honest, that’s about it. The Omni-bar is good but just as good as Opera’s. Weirdly, Chrome works better on my company’s network. I guess software designed for windows just understands NTLM authentication better than browsers designed for Unix.

So, for me it’s back to Opera. Have a go with both yourself, download Opera and Chrome today and see which you like best. Let me know in the comments.

It’s time to upgrade your browser, no, really

IE 8 Logo
Internet Explorer 8 has now been unleashed upon the Windows world to a small ripple of applause and a snigger from every other browser manufacturer. It’s a big step forward for Microsoft, the IE team have put in a lot of hard work and should be proud of everything they’ve done to enforce standards on the web.

Now it’s your turn.

IE6 still accounts for 20% of all web browsing, and its even higher for corporations where policy gets in the way of letting people upgrade.  This browser is now so far behind in terms of security, speed and browsing experience that it’s not even funny, and has become a perennial headache for all web designers who want to push the Internet forward as a medium.

So, I implore you, upgrade your browser today. I’m going to do so and declare from the rooftops that I shall no longer support IE6. My web sites will be standards compliant and I will not be making any exceptions for this browser.

So, farewell IE6. It’s been a long time coming, but you’re gone.

Safari update makes itself obsolete on Windows

Last week, Apple announced the Safari 4 beta with a whole host of updates and enhancements. Whilst all of this is great for Mac users, it renders the browser completely obsolete for Windows users. Let me explain:

Lets go through the list of new features.

  • Top SitesOpera first added this feature 3 years ago, Google Chrome has it, all Apple did was make it fancy and unusable
  • Cover Flow – I like the live page preview (other browsers do have that) but cover flow, to me, is something that windows users will never understand
  • Full history search – Safari is the last browser to get this function
  • Tabs on top – Google spent a lot of effort getting this right, Apple haven’t put the same level of thought into it. If anything, it makes Apple look like they’re copying Google, badly.
  • Nitro engine – Makes pages run fast. Cool
  • Native look and feel – looks good in Vista, awful in XP. Considering Vista usage is < 10%, that’s not a good thing
  • Developer tools – once again, Apple is playing catch-up

So, what does this all mean exactly? Well, Safari is becoming more and more like Chrome. In fact, all Google has to do is update their Webkit rendering engine and they will be the same browser. In this manner, Safari for Windows has just shot itself in the foot by removing any differentiating features between itself and its nearest competitior.

I fully expect Safari 5 to make itself even more like Google Chrome (whatever that may look like in 2 years time).