Developing for multiple browsers *sigh*

I know it’s unfortunately the “taboo” of modern website design, but many developers don’t want to simply leave their IE7 visitors and IE6 visitors in the dark. It’s fine for sites like this one, or for web applications but what about corporation websites? For sites that HAVE to support older/alternative browsers. This came to light ever more when I recently worked on a website which would mean that customers worth millions could possibly be using IE6. There’s 50% of employees there too who still run IE7 so not supporting them wasn’t an option. I needed (and used) a large set of tools to help me accomplish this task, and I’m going to tell you about them.

Every web developer should (and probably does) use these tools on a daily basis. They streamline your development and help speed up little niggles with your site. Continue reading Developing for multiple browsers *sigh*

Google Chrome

 

With the release of Google’s new web browser named “Chrome”, will this mean a shift in browser usage?

It’s the same situation as Firefox found itself in nearly four years ago, and it’s only just catching Microsofts browser.

So, is Chrome any good? I downloaded the BETA yesterday and have been playing ever since.
I am pleased to say it’s extremely fast. It features a new open source Javascript Engine named “V8″ as well as multiple tab processing. This means the browser can handle processes from each individual tab rather than processing the lot at the same time, which competitors such as Firefox 3 and IE7 do (IE8 BETA has a similar system to Chrome).

Although it may take up a little more memory and power it ultimately makes for a faster browsing experience and more stability. If one of the processes fail you only lose one tab rather than the whole browser.
Firefox has a similar stability system included where it re-initiates your tabs after a crash. Google Chrome never has to close when a piece of dodgy Javascript breaks the tab. It just closes it.

Things I like in Chrome:

  1. The truely awesome Chrome Inspector
    A great debugging tool is built right into Chrome. Want to know what’s making your page load slowly? Not sure how long your page takes to load? Want to know which elements load first? This shows you the lot. You can see which order elements load, how long they take to load, how long it takes for each element to load after the previous as well as file information and the built in debugger and property inspector. You have to use it to truly understand it’s complexity. Simply click the control button, then down to Developer>Javascript console and click away!
  2. Incognito Browsing (and the awesome logo)
    It’s basically a porn mode. Very much like IE8’s new privacy feature. Upon opening this new “Incognito Window” all your history and web cookies won’t be stored meaning your basically invisible on the internet. It also means your mom/mum won’t find that dirty website you have been visiting over the past few days…
    I also love the “spy” logo very similar to Gamespys logo. It looks very cool for a Google graphic! (I also love the Chrome logo).
  3. The iGoogle like welcome page
    When opening a new tab you have the option of showing a “New Tab page”. It shows your most visited websites in order and also shows your full browser history with time and date. Clicking show full history actually allows you to see your online travel path. The new tab page also shows new bookmarks and recently closed tabs. A feature I like very much as losing closed tabs can be easy.
  4. Organised tabs
    When you have several tabs opened, keeping track can be difficult. And when Firefox adds your tab onto the end of the list it can be hard to find again. Google Chrome adds the tab next to the currently opened one, which helps keep them organised. The more tabs you have open at any one time, the harder it becomes to sort, and the more valuable this feature becomes.
    Click on the image to see a better example.
  5. Unobtrusive status bar
    This is a personal preference. The more browser space is available, the better. This means you can see more of the page at any one time. Even if it is 10px worth of space, every little bit helps.
    When hovering over links the status bar pops up in the lower left corner, then fades away when you move away from the link. Simple and effective.

To be honest I could write about the new Chrome all day, but I know that it’s already been well documented. Maybe I got a little carried away.

To download Google Chrome simply head over to their website.

Microsoft releases IE8 Beta II, try harder!

This week sees Microsoft leave behind the IE7 which had lasted for two years, and announces the second beta of IE8, but does more effort need to be placed on getting users to actually upgrade, rather than adding another version number to the mix?

According to W3.org there are more or less the same amount of users toddling along with IE6 as there are IE7. IE6 is seven years old yesterday (27th) and still holds a market share of around 25% while IE7 holds 26%.

Firefox is steadily climbing up the browser tree holding 42%, and nearly all of those users are on the latest version (or there about). Why is this? Do Internet Explorer users not bother? Is it too complicated? Or is it even due to piracy? After all, if you have an illegal key, you won’t be able to upgrade. Let’s make a few points and ask some questions… Continue reading Microsoft releases IE8 Beta II, try harder!