And then came Chrome

So, I have a long diatrabe about standardizing on Firefox and then another open source browser gets released. I'm currently writing this blog post on Google's new browser Chrome. It is a different experience for sure, but some of the same familiar features that I like such as tabbed browsing, and formatted code when you 'view source'. It also has a DOM inspector comparable to Firefox. 

Here are a few screen shots for your visual enjoyment. 

I pulled up the acid2 test site to see how well it adhered to web standards, and it rendered perfectly. Beautifully. Much better than Firefox.  

If you have never heard of the acid2 test, it is a test site writen by the web standards project to help web browser vendors correctly support features that web designers would like to use and to test these features before the vendor ships their browsers. Here is some samle renderings. This should open your eyes. 

Google Chrome

Google Chrome

Apple Safari

Mozilla Firefox 3

Internet Explorer 7

I was not surprised by the results of IE7. Microsoft is famous for making its own 'standards'. I was surprised by the results of Firefox (UPDATE: I have updated the pic for firefox. AdBlock Plus will garble the Acid2 test, and therefore my surprise is no longer valid). My apologies to the folks at Opera as I have not tried this test on that browser. And who cares about Konquerer?

Nonetheless, this should open your eyes as to development of web application in a standards compliant fashion. Browser are more and more challenged to render using the actual web standards. A web page should act and and work the same in all browsers, and when you have to hack your CSS and JavaScript to get it to work in one is a waste of time, and expensive. It would be like having different terminal emulators for a mainframe and having to hack your cobol to support the top most popular emulators. Its a good analogy as a browser is really more like a graphical mainframe. All the heavy lifting is done on the server. The browser just has to do the rendering.

So back to Chrome. Its a nice environment. I will be using it for all my gmail accounts, but not for use on every site. Its a fast browser also. Pages render lightning fast, especially gmail (go figure). The next step for Google is to begin allowing and overseeing add ons to the browser as Firefox does (and IE to some extent). When you start having developer extensions, add blocking, editing, and bookmarking extensions, you should start seeing a noticeable uptick in usage. Its going to be a serious competitor to Firefox. Still some bugs, but overall some very nice features.

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