The Real Alternative

March 31, 2006

If Internet Explorer is mainstream, what is considered alternative?

Some would say Mozilla Firefox or Opera. While both browsers account for approximately 15% of the browser share, there is a product out there that trumps them both– Amaya.

A niche browser in the truest sense, Amaya is maintained by W3c to be a web browser and editor to "provide a framework that can integrate as many W3C technologies as possible." according the the W3C website. The open source project is very active (the last release was February) and is available for the Windows, Linux and Mac environments.

I tried the browser and it actually made my learning of the Opera browser a walk in the park. The interface takes a lot of getting used to, and its rendering of some websites would look weird to the IE/Firefox user. As for the editing capabilites, I would rate it several notches below NVU, another open source HTML editor.

Here are some screenshots (from the Amaya website):

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Grappling with IE

March 20, 2006

I hope that a year from now or so, I won't have the same trouble I have in dealing with the infamous Internet Explorer– flawed box model, hacks, etc. I'm really frustrated that whatever I do that works in Firefox and Opera just gets mangled by IE. Sometimes I hope that the 80% of all web users out there would just one day click the blue 'e' and then see the IE uninstall dialog.

Opera 9.0 is the latest browser to pass the Web Standards Project Acid2 Test. This makes Opera the fourth browser to claim (after Safari, Konqueror and iCab) and the first Windows-based browser to pass the test. (Almost two weeks ago, I reported that Opera's latest build was nearing success.)

On a side note, here's how Opera's previous versions render the Acid2.

The preview version of Opera 9 is nearing accomplment of being the first Windows-based browser to pass Acid2. The stumbling block? A little red block.

Recently, the public was treated to the Beta 2 version of the upcoming Internet Explorer 7 and it was over five months ago that I had a preview of the Beta 1.

So what's the difference? The biggest would be the thumbnail views of the web pages you are currently browsing. While I would think it is agreat accessibility issue, I don't know how much the general public would appreciate it. To get an idea, here are some good screenshots from ActiveWin.

10 Web Predictions for 2006

December 12, 2005

Yeah, I know. The year is at its tail-end and this is basically your "predictions" article where the author does a Nostradamus and predicts what's in store for the next year. So drum roll please…

  • Blogs with AJAX – People on the bleeding edge of web technology will eventually find a way to integrate AJAX into the mix, with all this Web 2.0 hulabaloo. Functionalities like on-the-fly article display, collapsing, etc. may be getting a lot of screen-time.
  • Browser Wars – Internet Explorer 7 vs Firefox 2.0! It's going to be like 1999 all over again. IE7's has been impressive with the demos I've seen Microsoft– the multiple window preview may turn out to be the perfect compliment to tabbed browsing. The question a few months from now is what feature Firefox will have to compete with IE7.
  • Web 2.0 Saturation – This is actually a misnomer since only the mainstream sites will incorporate functionality while the rest of the world haven't even heard of Web 2.0.
  • More Minimalist Look – Interface-wise, more and more sites will settle for subtle aesthetics. But that doesn't mean creativity will be fettered– Think more iPod-esque visuals. Designers will try to achieve that look.
  • Hot Colors – There will be a lot of experimentation with strong colors– yellows, oranges and reds for mainstream sites, with off-beat accents. Of course, subtlety is the key here.
  • Tables, Still – Unfortunately, web development IDE 2006 releases would still not be able to fully integrate Web Standards in the presentation layer (VS, Sun Enterprise, etc.)
  • New Tools – At the heels of the acquisition of Macromedia, Adobe will churn out a web development tool that will dominate the market, but it will be a "miss." It will suffer from the growing pains of integrating the strengths of the Macromedia product line.
  • It won't be the year of Ruby on Rails – Despite demonstrating great potential for web development, Ruby on Rails won't go mainstream yet. The PHP-ASP(.NET)-JSP elite club won't be accepting new members in 2006. Maybe 2007.
  • Bigger Resolutions – 800 x 600 will see a massive reduction in monitor resolution share (~15-20% share) and designing for 1024 x 768 will be the de facto standard (~50-60%).
  • Up and Coming Web Fonts Rule – Gainers: Lucida and Vera. Loser: Verdana. Stay-put: Trebuchet and Georgia.

Make sure check back here a year from now and see how far off I am. 🙂

I have this idea of being able to have a "sneak peek" of where links lead to. No, this isn't your Preview Firefox extension, nor the thumbnail images becoming popular these days. It's more of like flipping a page of a book, a more familiar metaphor in the real world.

In this feature that I'll conveniently call Sneak Peek, webpages where the links lead to will be viewable like a sliding door, controlled by a slider mechanisim in the same browser window. The original window can easily slide back when the user has taken a peek.

As opposed to the thumbnail images, it would be easier since the actual page is being viewed, no overhead for thumbnail creation.

This feature in browsers would be useful when doing intense research– where you have to go through loads of irrelevant pages. This gives web page preview a whole new dimension.