Posts Tagged ‘Apple Safari’

Monday, December 14th 2009

Firefox 3.5 most used browser this week

This week, Firefox will most likely become the most used web browser version in the world, according to Statcounter.

Browser market share graph from Statcounter

According to Net Applications though, Firefox 3.5 has a while to go before being king.

I wish Google would share their browser data. They did, way back, didn’t they?

Wednesday, October 14th 2009 drops support for IE6

Another of the main Swedish news sites, Dagens Nyheter, is dropping support for IE6. This isn’t a day too early. Back in February, Aftonbladet did the same thing.

Visitors using IE6 are shown a pretty box at the top of the page, suggesting the visitor upgrades to IE8 or installs Firefox, Chrome or Safari. As usual, poor Opera are left out of the fun.

Opera is still among the supported browsers though:

  • Internet Explorer 7
  • Internet Explorer 8
  • Firefox 3 and up
  • Safari 4 and up
  • Google Chrome
  • Opera

We should do something similar at Heard my boss thinking aloud about perhaps suggesting Firefox, but then I believe IE6 is already as low as one or two percent!

Thursday, May 7th 2009

New Design Done

Well, this is the new modified design. Nice and tight and snug! Obviously the font size in the left column isn’t web 2.0 compliant, but you can’t get everything.

For comparison, here’s a screenshot of what it used to look like:

Screenshot of my old blog design.

So what has changed? To start with I removed a couple of things from the right column and moved what was left to the left column. Then I made the left column quite a bit tighter to allow for 1024 px images in my posts. I tried to use a sans-serif in the left column but the combination looked really weird.

I decided to revert my choice to use a downloaded font, for two reasons: A, i find Georgia is actually prettier than Dustismo and B, I don’t really like how Firefox 3.5 (beta) deals with downloaded fonts at the moment.

Firefox will display the page with the fall-back font first, and then redraw the page when the @font-face font is downloaded. This behaviour is annoying when viewing the page – Safari does this much better. Safari simply waits with displaying the text until the font is downloaded.

While I was fiddling with the design I decided to remove the alternate stylesheets for a slight simplicity win.

I have considered implementing columns in my posts, but I’ll need to think that through properly first.

Edit: Argh!! Internet Explorer 8, supposedly CSS 2 compliant, messes the design up completely. I’ll have to look into that some other time.

Wednesday, April 22nd 2009

New Font

I decided to play around with web fonts and came across They have a great selection of high quality free fonts.

I found Dustismo Roman which I’ve now decided to use on this blog. Anyone using the upcoming Firefox 3.5 or Safari 3.1 will be able to see it. Everyone else will see Georgia, which also is a nice font.

By using @font-face rules in your CSS code, you can use any font you like! I.e. you aren’t limited to the system fonts that are common to Mac and Windows. Read more about web fonts here.

Monday, March 30th 2009

Beta Browser Battle 2: Page-load times

This is part two of my comparison of the latest browsers. (Part one is here.) This time I compared page-loading times, just as Betanews recently did.

The browsers I’m comparing are …

  • Firefox 3.1 beta 3
  • Safari 4 beta
  • Internet Explorer 8
  • Opera 10 alpha
  • Chrome 2 beta

I compared the browsers on five different sites / web pages:


Let’s just get straight to the results. I’ll go through my methods later.

Graph showing page-load times for Firefox 3.1 beta 3, Safari 4 beta, Internet Explorer 8, Opera 10 alpha and Chrome 2 beta

In the graph above, the average page-load times for all five web pages have been added together, as have the 95% confidence intervals. All in all, this graph is based on 500 page loads.

Chrome and Firefox are tied for first place – their confidence intervals overlap. Safari and Internet Explorer are tied for third, and Opera is fifth.


For each combination of browser and web site I did a total of 20 page-loads. I measured one web page at a time, working my way through the five browsers.

Since network traffic and page weight can vary over time, I did them in two sets of ten measurements. First I did ten measurements with the browsers in one order: A, B, C, D and E. Then I did ten measurements in the opposite order, starting with browser E. I also rotated the five browsers between A, B, C, D and E for the five different web pages.

Before timing the page-loads, I shift+reloaded (or the equivalent ctrl+reload in IE) the web page ten times to saturate any network cache and to get the browser warmed up. I did this for each browser, before each set of ten measurements. (Ten reloads might sound excessive, but I started off doing only three, which turned out to be too little to reach the shortest load times.)

Between each page-load I cleared all browser data (cookies, cache, etc.). Except for Facebook, where I kept cookies and secure sessions to be able to time the Facebook home page when logged in.

To time the page-loads I used this Javascript page-load timer. As the Microsoft white-paper on testing browsers says, this could introduce an observer effect. But I think we can assume that the Javascript that is being executed is pretty simple and shouldn’t affect the times noticeably.

This test showed that Google Chrome 2 beta is not 100% stable. It hung twice (in 100 page loads) and produced load times of over 30 seconds. I decided to remove these values and replace them with new ones.

Results in detail

In these graphs, each bar shows the average of 20 page-loads. The error bars represent 95% confidence intervals.

Chart or graph showing page-load times for Firefox 3.1 beta 3, Safari 4 beta, Internet Explorer 8, Opera 10 alpha and Chrome 2 beta on

For, Firefox and Chrome are tied for first. Safari and Internet Explorer are tied for third. Opera is last.

Chart or graph showing page-load times for Firefox 3.1 beta 3, Safari 4 beta, Internet Explorer 8, Opera 10 alpha and Chrome 2 beta on the Facebook home page.

The Facebook home page loads fastest in Firefox and Chrome, whose confidence intervals only just overlap. The other three browsers are significantly separated.

Perhaps it is the fairly Javascript-heavy nature of Facebook that makes it load so slowly in IE8?

Chart or graph showing page-load times for Firefox 3.1 beta 3, Safari 4 beta, Internet Explorer 8, Opera 10 alpha and Chrome 2 beta on Chrome and Internet Explorer are tied for first. Firefox and Safari are tied for third. Opera is last, again.

Chart or graph showing page-load times for Firefox 3.1 beta 3, Safari 4 beta, Internet Explorer 8, Opera 10 alpha and Chrome 2 beta on a Wikipedia article.

I decided to test the browsers on a long Wikipedia article with lots of images. I looked up Munich, which turned out to be a good candidate.

Chrome and Firefox are tied for first place. Safari is third, Opera fourth and IE fifth.

Chart or graph showing page-load times for Firefox 3.1 beta 3, Safari 4 beta, Internet Explorer 8, Opera 10 alpha and Chrome 2 beta on

Finally, Chrome, IE and Firefox are all tied for first place. Safari is tied with Firefox but slower than Chrome and IE. Opera is last.


Chrome sucks web pages off the Internet like an Electrolux. So does Firefox. In this test I haven’t managed to separate them significantly. As we all can see, Chrome has a lower average sum than Firefox, and perhaps with more data it would be possible to separate them statistically.

Opera is the slowest of the lot, which surprises me. Opera was also slowest in the start-up test. Perhaps though we should cut it some slack – it’s labelled alpha after all. Performance might improve when it reaches beta and final status. Opera also has a turbo feature in the works, but that is kind of cheating since it will lower image quality by tougher compression.

Obviously, this test could be made better in mainly two ways. I could test on more web sites, and I could do more page loads for each web site. But this test was, all in all, 500 timed page-loads and 500 non-timed page-loads. It took me more than a day to complete.

It’s also worth noting that this test is pretty much consistent with Betanews’ page load test, where Chrome 2 beta wins and Firefox 3.1 beta 3 is second.

This test was done with clean browser cache. I’m considering doing the same test but without clearing cache and cookies for each page load. After all, that’s how most page loads are done in the real world. A user who visits any of these five sites will most likely have been there many, many times before. I just need to figure out a good set-up for such a test.

Wednesday, March 25th 2009

Beta Browser Battle: Start-up Times

A few days ago I compared the four different releases of Firefox for start-up time (cold and warm) and page loading time. It got quite a lot of attention so today I decided to compare the five latest preview releases from the big five:

  • Firefox 3.1 beta 3
  • Safari 4 beta
  • Internet Explorer 8 (since there is no IE9 beta)
  • Opera 10 alpha
  • Chrome 2 beta

This time I did things a little more scientifically, following Justin’s suggestion in the comments. I made a batch file for each browser to print the exact time, then launch the browser, opening a page with a script showing the exact time again. The time difference equals the launching time.

It should be noted that this method requires me to opt out of Chrome’s default “new tab” page, with suggested sites. If this affects the results in any real way is unknown, but personally I doubt it. The new tab page in Chrome loads very quickly.

Cold start-ups (directly after booting your computer) are the ones that can feel like an eternity some times. For that reason I think it is more important to have a fast cold start-up than a relatively speaking fast warm one (which generally are about 5-10 times faster anyway). So let’s start with cold start-ups.

I did ten measurements for each browser. A fairly big sample size which gives tiny 99% confidence intervals, which are visible in the graph below.

Graph showing cold start-up times for Firefox 3.1 beta 3, Chrome 2 beta, Safari 4 beta, Opera 10 alpha and Internet Explorer 8.

IE8 is the winner here (2.40 secs), slightly faster than Chrome (2.66 secs). All browsers are, with a 99% probability, significantly different (none are tied). However, this comparison was done on my Windows (XP) computer so IE8 has an unfair advantage – who knows how large part of Internet Explorer is pre-loaded with the operating system? That makes Chrome’s performance all the more impressive.

Safari is marginally faster than Firefox (4.98 vs 5.19 secs). Surprisingly, Opera (7.14 secs) is roughly two seconds slower than Firefox and Safari. I actually thought it would be at least as fast.

Now let’s have a look at warm start-up times. I launched the browsers four times before starting the timing. Then I did 15 measurements for each browser.

Graph showing warm start-up times for Firefox 3.1 beta 3, Chrome 2 beta, Safari 4 beta, Opera 10 alpha and Internet Explorer 8.

Here, Chrome is in a league of its own with an average of 0.247 secs. Firefox and Opera are tied. They took on average 0.530 and 0.531 secs respectively, and their confidence intervals overlap. IE8 averaged 0.575 seconds and Safari came in last with 0.617 seconds.


Chrome impresses the most, even if IE8 launches slightly faster after reboot. Firefox and Safari are pretty similar, while Opera clearly is the slowest for cold start-ups.

These results really explain (and justify) Chrome’s good reputation for speed.

I’m curious if the differences are as large when it comes to page-loading. I’m planning on doing such a comparison too, I just need to work out a good solid method. So stay tuned if you like this kind of stuff.

Saturday, March 7th 2009

Safari and Chrome are JavaScript Speedfreaks

I decided to have a go at comparing JavaScript execution speed in some upcoming browsers. Actually, that’s just almost true. The version of Chrome that I tested was 1.0 which obviously is a final release. There is no newer alpha or beta release from them at the moment. (As far as I can see.)

The tested browsers are (all on Windows XP):

  • Internet Explorer 8 Release Candidate 1
  • Firefox 3.1 beta 2 (which will become 3.5)
  • Safari 4 beta
  • Opera 10 alpha
  • Chrome

I tested the browsers with two different benchmark suites. Google’s V8 and Apple’s SunSpider.

So, lets get straight to the results:

Graph showing results for pre-release versions of Opera, Firefox, Internet Explorer, Safari and Chrome for the Google V8 JavaScript Benchmark.

As you can see, I have normalized all the results for both tests so that the winner of each test gets exactly 100. This is to make a comparison possible between the two benchmarks.

I ran all benchmarks three times in each browser to get more reliable averages.

Graph showing results for pre-release versions of Opera, Firefox, Internet Explorer, Safari and Chrome for the SunSpider JavaScript Benchmark.

Safari and Chrome are as tied as can be. They both get a total score of 193. Opera and Internet Explorer are both a lot slower than the two winners, with 38 and 24 respectively.

The interesting thing is that Firefox does so well with SunSpider (93), and so poorly with V8 (12). What is the big difference between these benchmarks? Not that I’d understand it if someone explained it to me …

Obviously there’s still room for improvement to Firefox’s JavaScript engine (currently known as TraceMonkey).

Thursday, October 2nd 2008, Try Sticking to the Facts

I read this article over at (Google translation) I was so annoyed by the factual errors and speculation I felt I had to write something.

The article tries to give the current standings in the browser wars. But like many other articles on it is full of holes and guesswork.

Here’s what got me annoyed (translated from Swedish):

There are studies that, although financed by Microsoft, show that Firefox is more often subject so security issues than Internet Explorer because Firefox is released in new versions more often.

First – basic rules of journalism. If a study is paid for by a player in the game then it most likely gives a skewed view of reality. (If Internet Explorer really were safer, Microsoft wouldn’t have to pay someone to come to that conclusion.)

Second – basic rules of software development. That argument is so obviously flawed and backwards I can’t see how anyone could possibly buy it let alone publish it.

… since Google now has a browser of their own they aren’t investing as much in Mozilla when it comes to browsers.

Umm, didn’t Google just renew their deal with Mozilla? This time for three years instead of two.

The biggest advantage for Internet Explorer 8 is its market share, which is at around 75 percent.

Let me say umm again. IE7 and IE6 currently have roughly 35 percent each. If IE8 is going to be deployed or downloaded as slowly as IE7 then it will take many years before it has 75 percent market share.

On a side note: Microsoft really should push their new browsers harder via auto-update systems for the benefit of the web.

Apple’s web browser Safari is usually said to be the third largest, but it isn’t really in the same competition as Internet Explorer, Firefox and Chrome.

That is mainly because Apple isn’t doing as much to create solutions for running applications in the web browser as the competitors.

Wassatagain? Safari 4 will let the user create icons in the operating system as shortcuts for web apps. Are they saying Internet Explorer is doing this too? That would be news to me. (Although I’m not really a big fan of this feature myself, it feels like a step back.)

And what about the Acid3 test? Safari 4 will pass it with flying colours, before any other browser. That’s a big deal for app developers if I’ve understood things correctly.

Furthermore, the Javascript engine in IE8 is embarrassingly slow compared to the competition.

Mozilla’s representatives also claim that the finished version of Tracemonkey, the company’s Javascript platform, will blow Google out of the water.

Another typically journalistic exaggeration. Mozilla may have said Tracemonkey will be faster, but they have never said that it will be that much faster. They will still be in the same league.

All in all, a pretty typical article from IDG.

Saturday, November 19th 2005

Does Safari Support Soft Hyphens?

Does anyone reading this know if Safari now has real support for soft hyphens, i.e. ­?