Jan 7 2010

Considering a new browser? Browser Speed Tests: Firefox 3.6, Chrome 4, Opera 10.5, and Extensions

Lifehacker have published detailed speed tests for our fave browsers…

“Firefox 3.6 is out, Chrome’s stable version got a big upgrade, and Opera 10.5 is inching toward release. It’s a great time for us to break out the timer, process manager, and code tracker for some up-to-date browser speed tests.”

You can find the results and the final scores here – hard luck Safari users 😉

If you are also considering upgrading the OS on your PC, they have also tested the latest browsers in Windows 7.

Jul 2 2009

Firefox 3.5 launched

The latest, greatest version of Firefox was released on the 30th June and so far, so good. Touted as the fastest (benchmarked twice as fast as V3), safest and smartest version yet. So what can you expect from the new version?

What’s New in Firefox 3.5

Firefox 3.5  is based on the Gecko 1.9.1 rendering platform, which has been under development for the past year. Firefox 3.5 offers many changes over the previous version, supporting new web technologies, improving performance and ease of use. Some of the notable features are:

  • Available in more than 70 languages. (Get your local version!)
  • Support for the HTML5 <video> and <audio> elements including native support for Ogg Theora encoded video and Vorbis encoded audio. (Try it here!)
  • Improved tools for controlling your private data, including a Private Browsing Mode.
  • Better web application performance using the new TraceMonkey JavaScript engine.
  • The ability to share your location with websites using Location Aware Browsing. (Try it here!)
  • Support for native JSON, and web worker threads.
  • Improvements to the Gecko layout engine, including speculative parsing for faster content rendering.
  • Support for new web technologies such as: downloadable fonts, CSS media queries, new transformations and properties, JavaScript query selectors, HTML5 local storage and offline application storage, <canvas> text, ICC profiles, and SVG transforms.

Developers can find out about all the changes and new features at the Mozilla Developer Center.


The first tranche of reviews seem favourable – noting how solid and fast the release is. Here is a mini review from the Register.

Jan 13 2009

Chrome update









Google Chrome is getting extension support.

Oh yes, oh yes.

(…and a Mac and Linux version. No doubt our very own Mac guru, James will shout about this when it happens 😉

Jan 8 2009

OpenID in the browser

Imagine a world where you only had to remember one set of login details for any internet site you might want to visit. And imagine a world where you don’t have to go through a tedious signup process every time you want to use a new website. Sounds refreshing, doesn’t it? Welcome to the world of OpenID.

OpenID eliminates the need for multiple logins; no more juggling of different login details for every website you visit. Here’s how it works:

  • You simply sign up to an OpenID provider who you trust, and in return they give you an OpenID URL. For instance, “http://yourname.myopenid.com”.
  • Then, when you come across a website (let’s call it example.com) you want to sign up to, you just enter your OpenID address.
  • Example.com then goes to your OpenID address, to check you are who you say you are (I’m leaving out some of the techy-behind-the-scenes stuff here).
  • If you’re logged into your OpenID provider, you’ll be asked to confirm you want access to example.com, and if you’re not logged in, you’ll be prompted to do so and then asked to confirm.
  • Control is passed back to example.com, who now know who you are. Optionally, you can get your OpenID provider to send profile data to example.com (your name, website, e-mail, etc) to save you having to enter them yourself.
  • And you’re done! In future, if you want to visit example.com, you’ll be logged in automatically provided you’re logged into your OpenID provider.

OpenID is an open, free standard, which means it’s good for everyone: cheaper for businesses to implement (and less hassle managing passwords/accounts), and it means users get less frustrated and have less to remember. However, it’s still a work in progress, and still in the ‘adoption phase’ – but lots of big names are lending support, such as Google, IBM, Microsoft, VeriSign and Yahoo!.

Whilst OpenID is a fantastic idea, and adoption is clearly on the rise, it’s still not quite as easy for users as it could be. Sites implement logins in different ways (sometimes the OpenID option on a login form is a somewhat hidden), and the whole process is a little bit more clunky than it could be. O’Reilly have a really interesting article on OpenID in the browser which discusses whether your browser could be the key to the whole process.

Imagine if your web browser really knew who you were on the web. Just as you login to your computer, what if when you fired up your browser, it said “Hello Dave” and asked you to “unlock it” as well … In doing so you become securely logged into your OpenID provider (or maybe more than one of them) and as you move around the web your browser takes care of automatically logging you into the sites that you want to be, asking you about others, and helping you register with new ones using your OpenID.

A Locked OpenID Browser

It’s a great idea, and I’m looking forward to seeing what develops in this area.

If you want to get your own OpenID, be sure to check out OpenID.net, who have an introduction to OpenID, a guide to where to get an OpenID  and a guide to the sites which currently accept OpenID.

Finally, this video from myVidoop explains OpenID in a really easy-to-understand way, and entertaining to boot – well worth viewing:

Jun 19 2008

Firefox Three!

We are all very excited in a nerdy kind of way. Firefox three was released yesterday afternoon at 5.00pm, the team at Mozilla aiming to get the program into the GuinnessWorldRecord books as the most downloaded program in 24 hours.

The sheer demand in the first two hours took down the Mozilla servers! Despite this setback however the program has already been downloaded over 5 million times – Track its numbers here: http://www.spreadfirefox.com/en-US/worldrecord

Firefox 3 uses the new Gecko 1.9 Web rendering platform which gives it a score of 100% onAcid2 test and a respectable 71% onAcid3 test.

(Acid2 is a test page for web browsers published by The Web Standards Project. It has been written to help browser vendors make sure their products correctly support features that web designers would like to use.” – The Web Standards Project)

Keep in mind that the most commonly used internet browser; Internet Explorer’s latest version (IE 7) still does not pass Acid2.

As well as improved rendering, the new browser offers users an updated bookmarking system including tags which can be actively searched using the new and improved URL bar. A new malware detection system which is being coordinated with Google, as well as these features (and many others) Mozilla have also been working hard on increasing the browser’s speed. Firefox three is now a lot less resource heavy and utilisation of Profile Guided Optimization has increased the JavaScript performance dramatically. This of course is very important for new modern JavaScript Heavy web 2.0 sites such as Gmail, Flickr and Yahoo Mail.

Mozilla are already in progress developing Firefox 3.1, codenamed Shiretoko which will include HTML 5 video elements and more CSS 3 elements.

Jan 16 2006

IE 7 on the horizon

Below are some of the major improvements.

  • Tightened Security
  • Tabbed browsing
  • Integrated search
  • RSS Support
  • Improved favourites

With the browser wars starting to pick up pace and Microsoft’s dominance slowly slipping, I think IE7’s improvements will be sufficient to put would be contenders back in their place.

Although with Google backing Firefox, I don’t expect Firefox to just rollover and die just yet – Firefox has won over many fans and it will be difficult for Microsoft to win them back but this latest browser is definitely a great start.

Microsoft will have to up the ante and capitalise on their dominance and rumours are circulating that Microsoft has already started working on IE 8.

It looks like the browser wars have officially started again.

Look out for Internet Explorer 7 coming soon.

www.microsoft.com | www.firefox.com