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The Features That Make Each Web Browser Unique

CmdrTaco posted more than 3 years ago | from the what-a-boring-monday dept.

IT 132

snydeq writes "InfoWorld's Peter Wayner offers a look at 13 promising features unique to one browser. From Chrome's support for SPDY, to IE9's emphasis on energy efficiency, to Firefox Sync, browser vendors are working hard to establish any edge that might attract more users to their stack of code. And while speed and HTML5 compatibility remain key in the battle of the Web browsers, unique features often point the way forward. 'Given the pace of browser updates these days, don't be surprised to find the best of the bunch being copied by competitors soon,' Wayner writes. 'After all, yesterday's browser bells and whistles are today's must-have features.'"

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132 comments

Thank you for linking to print page (4, Insightful)

jgtg32a (1173373) | more than 3 years ago | (#36000726)

It made me find the actual article and that is apparently 4 pages.

Again thank you

Re:Thank you for linking to print page (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36000986)

It made me find the actual article and that is apparently 4 pages.

Again thank you

do fat people ever have thoughts like "now that I have to waddle because the friction between my gigantic thighs prevents me from walking like a normal person, maybe I am eating too much and should really do something about that"? they don't seem to. they just keep getting fatter and fatter. and for fucks sake quit making so many god damned excuses. eat less, exercise more, or both. that's all it takes.

print page links not needed (3, Interesting)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | more than 3 years ago | (#36001552)

Thank you for linking to print page It made me find the actual article and that is apparently 4 pages.

This is interesting in an article about unique browser features. Maybe a better article would go through features rarely known about. Like in Safari you can click the "reader" button in the URL bar and it consolidates multi-page articles in to a single page including the images. There is a Firefox extension called "repagination" to do the same thing. Given how much I see people complaining about multi-page articles, it would have been nice for this article to have covered this.

Similarly, Safari and some Firefox plug-ins allow the user to grab the corner of text input boxes and resize them, which is an indispensable feature once you've used it, but was also overlooked in this article.

Re:print page links not needed (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36001858)

> Similarly, Safari and some Firefox plug-ins

I think FF4 does that by default without plugins. At least it does for me on Linux.

Re:print page links not needed (2)

_0xd0ad (1974778) | more than 3 years ago | (#36001918)

Same here (Windows). As of Firefox 4.0 it's a standard feature.

Re:print page links not needed (1)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | more than 3 years ago | (#36002382)

I think FF4 does that by default without plugins. At least it does for me on Linux.

Funny. My plug-in became incompatible when I upgraded to 4, but 4 added the feature anyway, so I never noticed. I'm glad they finally got around to rolling it into the core application. It is certainly one of those things that benefits all users and should be a default feature.

Re:print page links not needed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36003232)

I use PageZipper to automatically advance through pages, similar to repagination. PageZipper is a bookmarklet that you can click while on a page.
http://www.printwhatyoulike.com/pagezipper

Also, you can resize text boxes with this one:
http://www.themaninblue.com/experiment/FormTextResizer/

IE9's Energy Efficiency (2)

Sonny Yatsen (603655) | more than 3 years ago | (#36000730)

Is IE9's touted energy efficiency really a feature that sets it apart from the other browsers? It really feels like Microsoft was reaching pretty hard when they released that data, much of which only showed that IE9 was only marginally more energy efficient on many of the tests than Firefox.

Re:IE9's Energy Efficiency (1)

PmanAce (1679902) | more than 3 years ago | (#36000818)

Except IE9 will run smoothly on Windows Phones soon and well Firefox won't in Android for example.

Re:IE9's Energy Efficiency (1)

JackieBrown (987087) | more than 3 years ago | (#36001146)

That's not really a fair comparison. How well does IE9 run on Android phones? Or firefox on WM phones?

Re:IE9's Energy Efficiency (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36001496)

But Firefox runs on Android.

https://market.android.com/details?id=org.mozilla.firefox&hl=en

Re:IE9's Energy Efficiency (2)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#36001566)

To add the the ACs point, I use Firefox on my Nexus One, it's not like perfect, but it runs pretty well at this point, and certainly better than whatever crap it is that they bundled with Android. I get my tabs and everything is works fine. There are still some issues, but the progress has been just astonishing since I first installed it.

Re:IE9's Energy Efficiency (0)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 3 years ago | (#36000914)

I found it interesting the IE and FF4 used about 5 watts less than Opera, Safari, or Chrome. It doesn't matter for me since my computer is always plugged-in, but could make a different for a frequent laptop/netbook user (like a college student or metro rider).

Might also explain why Macbooks seem to drain their batteries faster than regular laptops?

Re:IE9's Energy Efficiency (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36002666)

It doesn't matter for me since my computer is always plugged-in, but could make a different for a frequent laptop/netbook user (like a college student or metro rider).

Might also explain why Macbooks seem to drain their batteries faster than regular laptops?

Even if you're always plugged in, think of the environmental effects: This is software used by BILLIONS of people. Those watts add up...

Re:IE9's Energy Efficiency (1)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | more than 3 years ago | (#36002826)

Might also explain why Macbooks seem to drain their batteries faster than regular laptops?

Seem? Seeming is rather relative I suppose. Anandtech's tests on real world laptop battery resulting the following quotes:

Lal Shimpi says the fixed, flat-pack battery gives the new MacBook Pros "the best battery life I've ever seen." "There’s no other way to say this," wrote Shimpi. "If you care about battery life and portability at all, buy the new MacBook Pro. Go to the Apple store and buy one."

Arsechnica, on the other hand concluded from their real world use tests that Macbooks are just, "better than average". So I guess I'd have to ask you how you formed your perception that regular laptops have better battery performance in real world use.

Re:IE9's Energy Efficiency (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36001458)

I am also slightly suspicious that while the baseline showed that IE9 came in 3rd place (only by a little) the 2 specific tasks they picked meant that they came out better on average (visiting "news sites" and using Galactic on their IETestDrive site). I would be curious to see the results based on a much larger number of tasks averaged (that includes things like say watching a you tube video, using hulu or netflix, or browsing facebook)...

It just seemed like the test (or the reported results) may have been a bit biased.

P.S. Their charts are also horrible and don't use a proper baseline and make small performance differences look huge.

Re:IE9's Energy Efficiency (1)

Your.Master (1088569) | more than 3 years ago | (#36002012)

Their charts are baselined to approximately the baseline of system idle.

Re:IE9's Energy Efficiency (1)

QilessQi (2044624) | more than 3 years ago | (#36001494)

Even TFA says that they only claim it's more efficient:

"Here, Microsoft is leading the way, claiming that IE9 is the most energy-efficient browser. Of course, there's no easy way to test this assertion, even with an electrical meter because the computer could be burning electricity on some background task."

So why did they even bother putting it in there?

Re:IE9's Energy Efficiency (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36001766)

because if they didn't put IE in there the Microtards would scream bloody murder. all five of them.

User Agent (1, Informative)

fermion (181285) | more than 3 years ago | (#36000760)

The one I use the most is
Safari 5: Easy user agent alterations

While most modern web sites do not check for user agent, at least not to prevent access, there are a few that still are loyal to MS, so block non-IE browsers from accessing content. In a perfect world we could just all ignore these sites and let them fail, but unfortunately most of these sites are corporate and so much deal with them to keep our jobs. I was sad to discover that most browsers had removed this functionality, and that Safari was pretty much the only one that had it build in,

Re:User Agent (4, Informative)

ledow (319597) | more than 3 years ago | (#36000846)

Opera's had that for ages. Literally 4, 5 or maybe even 6 "major" versions.

Re:User Agent (0)

Verdatum (1257828) | more than 3 years ago | (#36000862)

Opera has this feature too...or at least it used to. Back in Opera 3 days, when websites had never heard of Opera, I found it hugely useful.

Re:User Agent (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#36000886)

Firefox does it with plugins. Is it really that big a deal to go get a plugin to change the user agent?

No, but (1)

name_already_taken (540581) | more than 3 years ago | (#36000954)

Firefox does it with plugins. Is it really that big a deal to go get a plugin to change the user agent?

No, but it's far easier when it's already built in.

Re:No, but (2)

bunratty (545641) | more than 3 years ago | (#36001080)

Firefox doesn't have it built in because the vast majority of users never need it. Nearly all sites work with Firefox's default user agent string.

Re:No, but (3, Informative)

_0xd0ad (1974778) | more than 3 years ago | (#36001974)

Firefox does have it built-in. You go to about:config and add a "general.useragent.override" string. Plugins just make changing it an easier and friendlier process.

Re:No, but (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#36001316)

And I find firefox would be easier if it came with vimperator by default. Both of these are things the average user will never need or want.

Re:User Agent (1)

obarthelemy (160321) | more than 3 years ago | (#36001474)

Yes. I hate plugins, they break regularly, especially with major releases, and they can be a security risk.

I'm not 100% against them per se, but, if a browser has a specific functionnality built-in, while another requires a plug-in... I'll tend to use the full-featured browser, instead of the plugin-crutched one. In firefox's case, the situation used to be very extreme, with plugins needed for almost any interesting feature that was standard in Opera (synch, mouse gestures...). I tried Ffox a handful of times, and always gave it up due to incessant plugin updates, or plain broken plugins.

Re:User Agent (1)

Cogita (1119237) | more than 3 years ago | (#36001594)

Yes. I hate plugins, they break regularly, especially with major releases, and they can be a security risk.

I'm not 100% against them per se, but, if a browser has a specific functionnality built-in, while another requires a plug-in... I'll tend to use the full-featured browser, instead of the plugin-crutched one. In firefox's case, the situation used to be very extreme, with plugins needed for almost any interesting feature that was standard in Opera (synch, mouse gestures...). I tried Ffox a handful of times, and always gave it up due to incessant plugin updates, or plain broken plugins.

This was the issue I had with IE. It used to try to do everything, and as a result did nothing well, including your standard browsing. I preferred firefox where if I wanted so specific functionality, I could add it, but I knew the base functionality would work and work well. It's part of my problem with ff atm, it feels bloated and slow, which is why I use chromium.

Re:User Agent (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#36001606)

Which leads to bloat. Certain things like greasemonkey, noscript and flashblock make more sense as add ons than they do in the browser proper. The bigger issue is that they haven't finished their extension sandboxing yet and that they make stupid decisions like taking away the status bar without really considering that most users have the space for them, and that it could easily be enabled/disabled from a configuration menu. I'd be curious as to who thought it was a good idea to make that text appear in the URL bar when you're hovering over a link. Thankfully they did end up backing down on that.

Re:User Agent (1)

Rockoon (1252108) | more than 3 years ago | (#36002978)

Then why is it that Opera runs significantly better on low memory systems than Firefox-with-no-extension does?

Now, add extensions to Firefox. Its horrible in low-memory scenarios because *it* is the bloated one. The fact that Firefox sometimes uses significantly less memory when there is actually gobs of memory available is also evidence of a problem with Firefox.

Re:User Agent (4, Informative)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 3 years ago | (#36000960)

>>>so block non-IE browsers from accessing content.

These sites don't actually "block" the content - they are just poorly programmed. For example I cannot access Youtube Mail from Mozilla's SeaMonkey or Opera's opera, because the idiot web programmer didn't recognize the browser as "IE" or "FF" and simply didn't send the HTML (or javascript). He made the stupid assumption that the browser was incapable of displaying youtube. Either that or he was lazy.

>>>Safari was pretty much the only one that had it build in

Opera has had user agent strings since the early 2000s. You can set it as Opera, or Internet Explorer, or Mozilla Firefox, or IE/opera, or FF/opera.

Re:User Agent (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#36001632)

I wouldn't blame the programmer for that, that's more a result of the fragmented nature of browsers. The people designing these sites aren't necessarily paid to test every possible browser version and type, I remember back years ago when people would have a hard time getting approval to test for Firefox.

The proper solution for that is to have a test suite that can make such determinations, unfortunately things are rarely that simple and I have a feeling that such an undertaking would be rather involved. Which is really stupid since theoretically there are standards, thankfully they're more respected now than during the 90s.

Re:User Agent (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36002422)

The idea was at one time MS pushed everyone to program to IE. This meant using a certain set of features, and usually a certain size screen. Some of this made sense. There were certain things that could only be done in IE. On a larger scale, this did not make sense as people were use HTML as a page layout program rather than a text markup language. Many people wanted the later as they were used to having control of the page and largely were not able to think abstractly in terms of content. This idea of precision control on the server side rather than end user customization of the experience lead to many web developers blocking non-IE browsers. Such browsers had the ability to display content in non-authorized manner and therefore were bad.

CSS and, frankly, techniques developed by Google lead to the obsolescence of the MS paradigm. Wew can see the complete turnaround of the MS philosophy as their new found adherence to web standards and focus on efficiency rather than a guaranteed consistent user experience. However, we still have develppers who are obsessed with control, and this is a choice. So yes, we can blame the programmers for not generically programming web pages for any device. It has been possible to do so since HTML 1.0. It is a specific choice to design a page to not do so.

Re:User Agent (1)

beelsebob (529313) | more than 3 years ago | (#36001120)

I found it utterly bizarre that they highlighted this for Safari, when the Safari Reader feature, which pulls multipage articles down into one single readable page is *far* more interesting and unique.

Registered DLL files. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36000796)

That is how you can tell IE from Firefox from Opera.

Firefox Sync copied Opera Link (5, Informative)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 3 years ago | (#36000808)

per usual. Opera Software innovates (tabs, spell-checking, syncing of bookmarks, turbo compression) and others copy.

>>>There was a time when Mozilla combined the email program with the browser, but it stopped this integration long ago.

No. Not really. Look at Mozilla SeaMonkey (direct descendent of Netscape Navigator/Communicator). It includes not just email, but also Usenet newsgroups, relay chat, and a composer.

>>>Safari 5: Easy user agent alterations

Opera has had this for years, allowing users to display sites as Internet Explorer or Firefox-compliant.

Re:Firefox Sync copied Opera Link (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36001346)

>>>Safari 5: Easy user agent alterations
Opera has had this for years, allowing users to display sites as Internet Explorer or Firefox-compliant.

Well, Konqueror has had this for a long time too, so I guess that's probably where Safari got it from.

Re:Firefox Sync copied Opera Link (1)

Dynetrekk (1607735) | more than 3 years ago | (#36001654)

>>>Safari 5: Easy user agent alterations

Opera has had this for years, allowing users to display sites as Internet Explorer or Firefox-compliant.

I agree. I think Opera had this 10 years ago or something. Seriously.

Re:Firefox Sync copied Opera Link (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36001844)

This again? Opera didn't invent tabs. Please stop spreading this myth. Also, spell-checking? Please. Did you call it innovation when Nero gained the ability to edit disc covers? It's useful, sure, but it already existed, nevermind it didn't come with the software in question. Syncing of bookmarks was always half-assed in Opera. As was/is Speed Dial. Turbo compression is just some Opera marketing speak. Changing the user agent string wasn't innovation, it was a necessity for the (still) virtually unknown Opera.

Your turn.

Re:Firefox Sync copied Opera Link (1)

Verdatum (1257828) | more than 3 years ago | (#36002122)

True, Opera didn't Invent tabs. But who has heard of InternetWorks, NetCaptor, or IBrowse {{Flamebait}}? The innovation was taking a tabbed interface and adding it to a good browser.

Re:Firefox Sync copied Opera Link (3, Informative)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 3 years ago | (#36002490)

This again? Opera didn't invent tabs. Please stop spreading this myth

He said 'innovate', not invent. One of the things Opera had on FF for years was that the windows were tabbed... and the UI supported them properly. While FF's tabs were very basic, Opera's tabs had a lot well-implemented features for managing them.

That doesn't matter, though. The reason Opera people get uppity about who got what first is numerous people on Slashdot, while riding on a high of FireFox/Mozilla fandom and IE hate, made claims about how FireFox was 'inventing' these features. It gets a little old when you try out FireFox, coming from Opera, and find the UI can't do have the things the Opera UI can do.

Re:Firefox Sync copied Opera Link (2)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | more than 3 years ago | (#36002544)

pera Software innovates (tabs, spell-checking, syncing of bookmarks, turbo compression) and others copy.

Everyone copies from everyone. Tabs were in Omniweb (albeit with a slightly different implementation) in 1999. Spell checking should be implemented at the OS level and rolled out as a service to apps (as OS X does). Re-implementing it for every app is idiotic architectural design. Numerous browsers on OS X had spellchecking before Opera (since 2000) and they have grammar checking as well. Admittedly, Opera can't do a lot about the fact that OS's have failed to step up and implement spellchecking as a service, but they could at least plug into the native functionality when it is offered. There was Firefox plug-in to synch bookmarks in 2005. That's not to say Opera isn't a fine browser and even the first to bring some features into popularity, but don't go getting blinded by your like of one product. It's too easy to not look hard at the history an just buy into what you want to be true.

Re:Firefox Sync copied Opera Link (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36002696)

labs.mozilla.org should simply redirect to opera.com

Article makes some good points (1)

PeopleMakeMeLOL (1717442) | more than 3 years ago | (#36000836)

I've found that I prefer Firefox's handling and layout of add-ons. I know Chrome has many of the same ones, but it doesn't handle certain ones when in multiple tabs [last I checked, I might be fixed now]. Plus, I'm a creature of habit. I like Firefox's UI better. Chrome is far better at rendering, though.

Bloat (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36000838)

And so the size of browsers increases, until they all become unusable bloatware.

Re:Bloat (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36000890)

2001 called, they want your 256 MB of RAM back.

Re:Bloat (2)

Antarius (542615) | more than 3 years ago | (#36000946)

Oh my god!

Did you warn them about 9/11?!

http://xkcd.com/875/ [xkcd.com]

Re:Bloat (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36001112)

No, but I warned them that this not remotely funny joke would be made over and over. Those calls are damn expensive, so I only had time to cover major tragedies.

Re:2001 called (1)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | more than 3 years ago | (#36001218)

The correct phrasing of the meme should be "... called and left a message". It properly indicates the 1-way situation.

Re:Bloat (1)

Canazza (1428553) | more than 3 years ago | (#36001832)

Oh my god!
Did you tell them not to worry, we got Bin Laden.
http://xkcd.com/875/ [xkcd.com]

fixed that for you

Mobile bloat (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#36001638)

A manufacturer of mobile devices called, they want your "only obsolete PCs have that little RAM" joke ram.

Re:Bloat (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36001232)

And so the size of browsers increases, until they all become unusable bloatware.

Opera have most built-in features (email, real download manager, bittorent, built-in ad-block and noscript, built-in XSS protection, almost as user customizable as Firefox even without using extensions (but you have to edit a few text files), support most image formats et.c.), yet it is the least resource hungry browser even if you compare to Chrome or Firefox without any plug-ins and extensions. This proves that Chrome and Firefox could loose a lot of fat, without loosing features.

Re:Bloat (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36001666)

On Linux, just use /usr/libexec/webkitgtk/GtkLauncher as your browser. This is a feature complete preview of the browser for GNOME 3.4. It's main feature is that it doesn't have any features.

Does anyone really care about unique features? (2, Insightful)

Viol8 (599362) | more than 3 years ago | (#36000854)

So long as its reliable, easy to use and isn't full of security holes I doubt many people give a damn about their web browser. Can you imagine an entire article about the relative merits of ftp or telnet clients? All most people want is for their browser to render pages properly. End of. If a new standard comes out and web sites use it then yes, browser should support it. Otherwise, apart from the browser developers themselves and a few fanbois, does anyone really care?

Re:Does anyone really care about unique features? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36003362)

There are other important criteria as well: doesn't crash very often and when it does it remembers which tabs were opened, it doesn't leak memory away, it isn't dog slow, etc. Browser-specific features... not so much.

Re:Does anyone really care about unique features? (1)

Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) | more than 3 years ago | (#36003376)

As importantly, does anyone care about browser speed? Most computers these days run 3D FPS games without batting an eyelid, the focus by chrome in particular on stripping off things to make it "faster" isn't going be noticed by anyone. Speed hasn't mattered since the 90s, so how it would be "key" is anyone's guess.

firefox PLUGINS (2)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#36000858)

The rest of the browsers lack decent plugins that can remake the whole browser experience. You can turn it into a ten foot browser for your living room or make it easy to use for a sysadmin with vimperator.

Re:firefox PLUGINS (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36001824)

I second that.
Never without Adblocking, Trackerblocking, Flashblocking.

Chrome Multiprocess Tabs? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36000876)

I love how Chrome is the browser that gets the credit for coming up with the multiprocess model within the browser. I know that history is also revisionist, but it was Internet Explorer 8 beta 1 that first demonstrated to the multiprocess model in March 2008, almost six months before Google's first public preview. I'm sure someone is going to point out that IE doesn't isolate per tab (and neither does Chrome necessarily), but the model is the same, as are many of the implementation details.

Where Chrome does take this to the next step is in attempting to process isolate plugins and extensions.

IE8 the first? Don't make me laugh. (4, Interesting)

Viol8 (599362) | more than 3 years ago | (#36001020)

Multiprocess was standard on early unix browsers - you opened a link in a new window it spawned a new process. It was only later that netscape switched to multithreaded presumably so the codebase was easier to port to Windows which as everyone knows has a piss poor process model and still can't even do fork() never mind sophisticated parent-child process interaction.

Re:IE8 the first? Don't make me laugh. (1)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 3 years ago | (#36001088)

Multiprocess was also standard on the 1985 Commodore Amigas. Every program spawned a separate process (and sometimes - a whole new screen).

Multiprocessing was included with the first Amiga-Mosaic browser, but of course was disabled when mosaic was ported to non-multitasking Macs and IBM PCs.

Re:IE8 the first? Don't make me laugh. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36001154)

Really? Were HTML rendering, Javascript and other functions separated into multiple worker processes running under sandboxed security contexts communicating back to the parent viewer process via IPC? Or are you just latching onto one term and generalizing it to the extreme in order to pretend that you have a point? The multiprocess model of Chrome and Firefox are based on the multiprocess model of IE8, not of the early UNIX browsers, which just happened to fork a new browser to display a new window and had nothing to do with the implementations or reasons for the multiprocess browser model of today.

Re:IE8 the first? Don't make me laugh. (1)

The End Of Days (1243248) | more than 3 years ago | (#36001298)

That's odd, because one of the advanced settings in early versions of IE was to make each window run in its own process. I found it quite useful while testing things.

Of course the current version has a much more sophisticated model.

Re:IE8 the first? Don't make me laugh. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36002100)

Yeah, it was called hitting the Run option in the Start menu and launching another instance of iexplore. Getting too happy with Ctrl-N was rather painful when it crashed and every damn window went bye-bye. If you started a few instances of it you only lost half of your open windows instead of all of them. Of course if that shitty sack of crap IE crashing didn't happen on a daily basis, it would all be somewhat a moot point.

Re:IE8 the first? Don't make me laugh. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36002174)

No, I meant exactly what I said. Your corrections weren't required at all, and in fact misstate the truth.

Re:IE8 the first? Don't make me laugh. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36003300)

I gave observations out of my own personal experience. I never denied the existence of some obscure option in IE's Advanced settings (an option which I didn't find when I just checked, incidentally), I merely indicated that obscure options aren't helpful when simple day-to-day use necessitates immediate and more practical measures. Launching a new iexplore.exe process was always the easy and quick way to create multiple IE processes when I wanted them, and I wanted them fairly often due to it crashing so often. Until I switched to Firefox, and then I generally wanted as few IE processes as possible, although it's a little unavoidable if you're using Windows at all because the Windows desktop GUI and Windows Explorer are actually in fact just IE processes.

Opera Mail (1)

ledow (319597) | more than 3 years ago | (#36000894)

And Opera Mail is the quickest, easiest, stablest, safest and all-round lowest impact email client I've ever used. And that's coming from someone who's tried everything from Pegasus Mail through to the Mozilla horridness.

Search is instant-narrow, even over 8 years of email from multiple POP/IMAP accounts. Tag a message with a label, every similar message gets the label. Want emails with that label to appear in your inbox, or to be pushed out to a seperate "folder" or both? You can choose. Spam filter is fabulous and easy. Multiple account support without any hassle (literally a dropdown when sending, and multiple accounts / a combined inbox depending on your taste).

Pull all the attachments out (of an email, or a whole account, or your entire email collection) in one click. Instant sorting by date, subject, sender even with thousands of emails.

Seriously, when someone sticks Pidgin into Opera, I have everything I'll ever need. Hell, it even does integrated Bittorrent like any other download.

Re:Opera Mail (1)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 3 years ago | (#36001040)

>>>integrated Bittorrent like any other download.

I've never been able to make this work. It opens the file okay, but then just sits there not peering to anybody? I think you're better off with a dedicated Torrent program, rather than the bloated ~200 megabyte Opera, especially since the dedicated programs use far less memory (utorrent fits in less than 10 meg of RAM).

Note: I'm using a 700megahertz/256meg laptop, so smaller is better for me.

Re:Opera Mail (1)

FrostDust (1009075) | more than 3 years ago | (#36001600)

It's worked fine for me in the past. Go to opera:config and check the Bittorrent settings. Normally changing the port helps with this.

In general, I agree and think it'd be better to just have a small program for each type of operation. The point Opera was trying to advertise was that normal users wouldn't have to muck around and install Torrent clients, their downloads would just work.

Also, I guess it'd be beneficial to useeverything (torrent, email, etc.) Opera offers if you're the type to leave your browser open all day. Having to manually restart torrents when you reopen the browser was a pain last time I tried it.

Re:Opera Mail (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 3 years ago | (#36002214)

Note: I'm using a 700megahertz/256meg laptop, so smaller is better for me.

Running Windows 3.11 no doubt. Or was that CP/M?

Must. Not. Make. Size. Joke.

Re:Opera Mail (1)

Walking The Walk (1003312) | more than 3 years ago | (#36002246)

rather than the bloated ~200 megabyte Opera

Um, what? The Opera installer is less than 8MB, and the installed size is less than 20MB. In fact, to check that it was still small, I just downloaded and installed the latest version, v11.10. Universal installer is 7.3MB, full install on an older Windows XP machine is 18.5MB, installed and started up in 17 seconds. Sorry, but it doesn't get much better than that.

Re:Opera Mail (1)

allo (1728082) | more than 3 years ago | (#36001206)

opera had icq-support build in some versions ago ...

Re:Opera Mail (1)

ledow (319597) | more than 3 years ago | (#36001244)

IRC, maybe, but I don't think ICQ supports is around any more and hasn't been for many opera builds.

That's just my point, though - if you can do IRC, that's 99% of the way there - the rest is a little plugin that does a MSN->IRC or XMPP->IRC conversion in a pretty way.

A damn sight more useful than their "text-to-speech" engine that you haven't been able to install for the last 4 years despite it trying to do it when you click the button.

The only Opera user left (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36000902)

Yeah, i feel unique!

Opera 11: Email? Make that SeaMonkey (1)

repetty (260322) | more than 3 years ago | (#36000992)

Opera 11: Email
There was a time when Mozilla combined the email program with the browser, but it stopped this integration long ago. That era is back again, this time on Opera.

Disclaimer: I haven't used Opera 11.

Even though it's not an "official" Mozilla project, you can nonetheless continue to use an integrated web browser and email suite in the form of SeaMonkey -- it's been around for years and years. Hard to see anyone else make grand claims about email functionality.

http://www.seamonkey-project.org/ [seamonkey-project.org]

Re:Opera 11: Email? Make that SeaMonkey (1)

lbft (950835) | more than 3 years ago | (#36001136)

Opera's had email inbuilt since Opera 4 in 2000, and the last major update it got was in Opera 10. I don't understand why the article mentions it like it's some new thing.

Site pinning is ie9 only... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36001054)

Because apparently this article isn't taking into account that you can do that in firefox 4?

Re:Site pinning is ie9 only... (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#36002648)

Yeah, Firefox only has that silly App tab thing, which is not to be confused with site pinning.

Did they actually try any of these features? (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 3 years ago | (#36001266)

The Android version of Firefox on your phone can suck down all of the bookmarks, history, passwords, and even open tabs. Then when you're back at your desk, you can push back the changes you've made while you're typing on your phone.

And if you delete or edit a bookmark on on machine, firefox sync will replicate multiple copies! Except when it deletes them all, of course. Essentially its a write-only filesystem which occasionally truncates.

Every time I've tried it, FF sync has been an absolute nightmare. xmarks, on the other hand, actually works.

Finally I understand we must all bow to worship the mobile smartphone and ignore legacy platforms, such as everything else with a CPU in it. But... Is there anyone out there with access to ONLY one full sized machine? I've found the killer app for xmarks is syncing every machine I have access to, not just my "one PC" to my phone. Aside from the fact I have no smartphone nor use for one.

Revisionist history (4, Informative)

Ambitwistor (1041236) | more than 3 years ago | (#36001336)

"Before the Internet, there was a collection of nets, like Compuserve, Minitel, MSN, and AOL. Then the 'Inter' prefix was added by linking these nets altogether, and everyone was given the freedom to request information from any computer out there."

The Internet predates CompuServe, AOL, etc., and wasn't created by linking those walled-garden services together.

Re:Revisionist history (2)

vlm (69642) | more than 3 years ago | (#36001412)

Typical kids book report of 2030, assuming our native language remains The Queens English instead of switching to textspeak:

Before the Intertubes, there was a collection of nets, like PSN, Qriocity, and PS3 netflix streaming. Then the 'Inter' prefix was added by linking these nets altogether, and everyone was given the freedom to request all credit card numbers stored in the playstation network, from any computer out there.

Re:Revisionist history (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36002510)

The author didn't even get that bit right. Compuserve began earlier and was far more restrictive than AOL, and MSN wasn't even close to a walled garden when it finally debuted.

None of this was the actual internet. But it'd probably be expecting too much for people to actually know their history these days before talking about it.

Re:Revisionist history (1)

Woogiemonger (628172) | more than 3 years ago | (#36002920)

"Before the Internet, there was a collection of nets, like Compuserve, Minitel, MSN, and AOL. Then the 'Inter' prefix was added by linking these nets altogether, and everyone was given the freedom to request information from any computer out there."

The Internet predates CompuServe, AOL, etc., and wasn't created by linking those walled-garden services together.

It's mostly correct if you think of the internet in terms of its userbase.

Re:Revisionist history (1)

Nyder (754090) | more than 3 years ago | (#36003014)

"Before the Internet, there was a collection of nets, like Compuserve, Minitel, MSN, and AOL. Then the 'Inter' prefix was added by linking these nets altogether, and everyone was given the freedom to request information from any computer out there."

The Internet predates CompuServe, AOL, etc., and wasn't created by linking those walled-garden services together.

Ya, i had to send the writer of the article an email with links pointing out how wrong that statement was.

Don't they have fact checkers anymore? Sad part is, you don't have to read far on the wiki's of those to see how wrong the statement is.

Spell Checker? (0)

cwgmpls (853876) | more than 3 years ago | (#36001616)

In this day and age, is it too much to ask that a web browser have a built-in spell checker for filling out web forms? IE still doesn't have one.

Re:Spell Checker? (1)

Teckla (630646) | more than 3 years ago | (#36002060)

In this day and age, is it too much to ask that a web browser have a built-in spell checker for filling out web forms? IE still doesn't have one.

Amen to that!

People use a lot of web based applications these days. A spell checker (and spelling suggestions) built into the browser seems like a no-brainer. Why the IE team continues to neglect such an easy-to-implement but yet invaluable-to-the-user feature is mystifying.

As of version 9, IE is starting to get interesting again, but missing such basic features still means IE is an undesirable browser.

Re:Spell Checker? (1)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 3 years ago | (#36003128)

Be careful what you wish for! I'm trying to switch to Chromium from FF because the memory hogging and CPU spiking in FF 4 is just nuts, but the spelling checker in Chromium based (so far I've tried Chromium and Dragon) is just awful! It seems like no matter how close I get to spelling the actual word it guesses a ton of things NONE of which are even close!

It reminds me of the old search engine they used on MSN, where you would type and it would guess these horribly wrong attempts, like "De"...uhhh...deviled eggs, destroyer, dovetail joints? So be careful what you wish for, as a broken spell checker IMHO is worse than no spell checker at all!

Re:Spell Checker? (1)

_0xd0ad (1974778) | more than 3 years ago | (#36003408)

I'm trying to switch to Chromium from FF because the memory hogging and CPU spiking in FF 4 is just nuts

Personally I'm just reluctantly putting up with it and hoping they fix the horrible memory leaks soon. FF was eating ~720m of VM this morning when I killed the process and restarted it; it's now back up to 420m. This on a PC that only has 1g of RAM... pre-4.0 didn't have anywhere near these problems. I figure they'll get fixed eventually.

browsers... complex software, hard to get right (1)

koolraap (960966) | more than 3 years ago | (#36001742)

Let's face it, browsers are very complex pieces of software, they have to implement numerous protocols, chase a moving target, attempt to deal sensibly with non-compliant input and provide a decent user experience. And the big names all do a pretty decent job for most people. None of them are perfect yet, though, and given the constantly changing nature of the game, its hard to forsee a time when they could become perfect. I feel quite a lot for the developers of browser software (being a developer myself), an audience of millions, many of whom have a deep-seated dislike of your product. If you met a developer of [the browser you like least] would you rant and rave at him, or just have a friendly chat? :-)

Re:browsers... complex software, hard to get right (1)

StripedCow (776465) | more than 3 years ago | (#36002154)

Yes, browsers are very complicated. And so is programming for them, especially considering the bewildering number of browsers your code has to work for.

Now, if only browsers were more like virtual machines (virtualbox, vmware, etc.), then life of a webdeveloper would be much simpler.

Here's why:
- A webdeveloper could choose his own scripting language (of course, I assume here that the webdeveloper can simply pick a standard open-source scripting language; he does not need to build one himself, but in theory he could of course)
- A webdeveloper could choose his own layout engine (and DOM model)
- A webdeveloper could choose his own networking abstractions
- etc. etc.

And there would be much opportunity for open-source projects to provide all these separate modules.

Did you ever wonder why there are barely web-based equivalents to open-source projects such as GIMP or OpenOffice? That's because web-programming is so darn difficult, while it could be so simple, and so much like native development.

Now, if you're worried about virtual machines being slow or being able to interpret only one kind of machine instructions, then think again. Virtual machine technology has advanced enormously the last decade. And there is no need to target a specific family of processors. Instead of targeting x86 instructions or ARM instructions, an intermediate code could be used, and this code can be recompiled (within the browser, or on the server) for a specific machine. Of course, caching methods should be used to avoid unnecessary downloading of binary objects.

I think the above scenario would be a web-developer's dream. And a whole new open-source eco-system could arise from it.

Alex

Re:browsers... complex software, hard to get right (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 3 years ago | (#36002296)

If you met a developer of [the browser you like least] would you rant and rave at him, or just have a friendly chat? :-)

I'm still pretty upset about IE 6. Probably not a good idea to let me in the same room with any of it's developers.

SPDY, really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36002086)

Not sure how SPDY is supposed to be a feature. The SPDY developers won't even justify why it is better than just a simple tweak to HTTP pipelining to add reordering by the server. They don't even benchmark against normal HTTP pipelining, and their benchmarks were using an outdated HTTP stack.

When they finally responded to these points the answers were a mix of 'because we're Google' and 'if you think so do your own research'... meanwhile the collection of research on the SPDY web site is two powerpoint presentations from the same guy. It's clear that SPDY developers haven't even done basic research in alternatives before pushing this supposed improvement.

As far as I can tell there's only one actual benefit to SPDY... it's not HTTP. It doesn't go through proxies so it doesn't have to worry about buggy caching proxies throwing in a monkey wrench... yet. But once there are buggy, caching proxies for SPDY then it'll have the same problems as HTTP does now. Except then we'll have another layer of mess on top of HTTP. Why not just fix HTTP ?!

Google SPDY protocol (1)

Compaqt (1758360) | more than 3 years ago | (#36002218)

What do you think of the SPDY protocol [chromium.org] , listed as Chrome's unique feature?

Even if it's faster, is it a good idea for the unity of the web Google to have come up with, and push this idea all on their own?

What would we think if M$ or Compu$erve had come up with their own protocol, to be accessed by their own application program?

Re:Google SPDY protocol (1)

GuldKalle (1065310) | more than 3 years ago | (#36002852)

What would we think if M$ or Compu$erve had come up with their own protocol, to be accessed by their own application program?

"Have they documented it?"
"Have they made an open sourced reference implementation?"
"Is the protocol royalty free?"
"Is there any indication that they are are going to drop/deemphasize support for previous protocols?"

So funny... (1)

QuietLagoon (813062) | more than 3 years ago | (#36002340)

IE9's emphasis on energy efficiency

.
IE9 runs only on bloated resource-hungry Windows, yet Microsoft still --- in an effort to find something, anything, positive to say about IE9 --- falls back on the current "energy efficiency" buzzword.

Funny, in a sad way. How far the once giant has fallen.

HTML5 compatibility? (1)

thePowerOfGrayskull (905905) | more than 3 years ago | (#36003056)

I commented about this here a couple of months ago, from a theoretical perspective: if the H TML5 spec is ever-evolving, how can you develop for it? How can you have compatibility with a not-final, not-ratified standard?

The answer, as I feared before and as I now know from experience: you can't. (Note: this is in the context of client-side applications designed to run in the framework of the browser -- and isn't referring to basic HTML tags, rendering, etc. All you "get off my lawn the web is about serving documents" types need not reply :p)

If you are targeting mobile devices, it's a little less painful: simply target Webkit and you'll get most of the modern mobile devices and OSs, with minor variations between them. Even so, each device platform has its own webkit version - and because the HTML "standard" is changing, so too are the features across versions. With that in mind, I have been able to produce a couple of cross-platform HTML5 "apps" that I'm decently content with - though the experience will never match a native app for each platform, of course, it is relatively consistent across platforms. Though even this solution - targeting webkit - hearkens back to the days of IE-specific code; however it's a marginal improvement in that the webkit extensions you're using will *probably* be made an official part of the standard. If and when other browsers decide to adopt the features, you'll be able to use your app on them too - that is, after you go back and add the final, offiical names/tags for the features to your js and css files.

When you look at the situation across browser engines, it's much worse. Each implementation has cleverly prefixed non-final features with their own namespace in CSS3 for one thing. That means - you guessed it - each CSS entry has to contain declarations for a given feature from 1-4 times depending on the specific feature you're trying to use - and if a given platform provides it at all. Not to mention if it works the same across platforms (it's close, but not exact).

Because the standard is evolving, there is NO standard in terms of which features a given browser engine will choose to implement. None, zero, zilch. Is there a common baseline? I'd say about 90% of one. You absolutely cannot get away from browser-specific implementations if you want to code in HTML5/CSS3 -- you know, the very thing a standard should be preventing.

It's bad enough that I'm not planning to use HTML5 for anything but simple data delivery apps; and will be committing the egregious sin of using Flash for more complex applications that I want to deliver across platforms in the mobile space. Why? It's simple: say what you will (and trust me, I've said the same things and worse about Flash ): it *does* provide a relatively consistent experience across platforms. It provides a single, standard-in-all-but-name means to deliver applications across modern devices, systems, and OSs. (Even iOS now, with appropriate third party tools.)

And while you can choose to use platform-specific implementations of features, NOT doing so still provides you with a rich baseline of shared common functionality. Unlike HTML5 - where completely avoiding platform-specific code restricts you from using most of the functionality.

As much as I hate to admit it, Adobe appears to have succeeded in reaching what HTML5 is still striving to attain: write once, for one platform. Run anywhere that platform runs. HTML5 might have a chance to catch up, but I am doubting it. With the process of creating "standards" subject to more bickering than children unsupervised in the schoolyard, I fear they're still going to be arguing over details of their standard long after it's obsolete.

Re:HTML5 compatibility? (1)

Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) | more than 3 years ago | (#36003486)

As much as I hate to admit it, Adobe appears to have succeeded in reaching what HTML5 is still striving to attain: write once, for one platform. Run anywhere that platform runs. HTML5 might have a chance to catch up, but I am doubting it.

Flash has one crucial failing however, due to its proprietary nature - it's larely opaque to automated spidering. That means search engines can't categorise it properly; it's like with image galleries, you're largely reliant on user tagging which will always be of an extremely random (or even malicious) nature. Don't get me wrong, I've helped set up flash applications for intranet deployment, I do appreciate the cross platform power it can bring to the table, but I wouldn't recommend it to be able to stand on it's own in the wild. If you want to use it for decorative purposes, great, if you can put it as much as possible in a walled garden, fine, but until it's fully opened it's just not a frontline contender for web ubiquitousness.

Chrome: lack of do not track (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36003200)

Seriously? They list this as a feature? Worse they list it as a feature for Google, not for users. Wow, just wow.

Acid 3 (1)

EmotionToilet (1083453) | more than 3 years ago | (#36003386)

I stick with Safari and Chrome because of the Acid 3 support from WebKit and HTML5 animations support. At least when I view a web page I know it's being rendered properly. Firefox has fallen behind ever since Chrome came out. Safari has always been great. Opera is decent and fast, but I don't like the UI as much as Safari and Chrome. IE9 is not as embarrassing as the previous versions and IE10 might even be respectable (I own a Mac so IE is irrelevant to me), but I'll stick with WebKit based browsers because of the features, clean UI, and reliability.
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