Return of the browser wars

Move over Internet Explorer and Navigator. Today there is a range of new browsers slugging it out.

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By  Gareth Van Zyl Published  January 13, 2009

Google Chrome

Look and Ease-of-use: If you have a slower computer, you will find that Google Chrome will be the fastest browser on your computer. This is because Google Chrome uses very little memory to run. Google Chrome also has a sleek, minimalist look and feel to it that seems to be congruent with its speed. There's no ‘Google' search-bar as such, but one can use the navigation bar which serves as the Google search-bar on this browser.

Security: Google Chrome is in the process of coming out of beta version; so, it is a bit buggy and it does have loads of security fixes that need to be attended to. If Google Chrome never opens you up to security threats, then you might at some point experience a sudden collapse of your browser in the middle of a session owing to Chrome's ‘bugginess'.

Features: One downfall about the Google Chrome browser at this stage is that because it is new, it doesn't have many add-on features. But the browser does feature a built-in add on similar to that of Firefox's FireBug for web-developers, and the browser is set to have many more add-ons in the future.

The new standards

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) is an international industry consortium that is tasked with creating new web standards. The W3C develops open specifications to enhance the interoperability of web-related products, which means ensuring that all web browsers display the web in as similar ways as possible.

The new web-standards include HTML 4.0 (HyperText Markup Language), XML 1.0 (Extensible Markup Language), XHTML 1.0 (a reformulation of HTML as an XML application), CSS (Cascading Style Sheets - a mechanism for changing the appearance of HTML or XML elements, by assigning styles to element types, self-defined classes of elements or individual instances) and DOM1 (allows the full power and interactivity of a scripting language, such as ECMAScript, the standardised version of JavaScript, to be exerted on a web page).

When a website meets all of these standards, the website is regarded as being 100% XHTML 1.0, 100% HTML or 100% CSS compliant. W3C has an online service that allows one to confirm that a website meets these standards.

The aim with these standards is to ensure that a browser war scenario never arises again. Yet, with many web-developers and designers ignoring web-standards, the reality is that it might still be some time before the browser wars officially come to an end.

Other browsers to take a look at

Flock

Flock is regarded as the Social Network browser. Flock is focused on key innovations that help you stay connected with your favorite sites, people, media and content.

Camino

Camino is an open-source browser based on Mozilla's Gecko rendering engine and is clearly designed to be a simple, easy-to-use, yet fully functional browser. It looks and feels very similar to Safari and Firefox.

Maxthon

The Maxthon browser interface is quite cluttered, with a file menu, Address Bar, Favorites Bar and other toolbars, and stray icons near the top and bottom of the screen. The browser has many features and they need to fit somewhere, but you can customise the interface to cut down on the clutter.

OmniWeb

OmiWeb is the alternative to Safari for Mac users. Some of OmniWeb's best features include extensive ad-blocking, auto-saved Web browsing sessions and site-specific preferences. From the unique tab drawer to support for browsing Web pages using OS X's built-in Speech Recognition, OmniWeb's embrace of Mac-specific technologies wrapped in a clean and uncluttered interface makes the product a viable browser alternative.

Shiira

Shiira is a relatively new entrant to the Mac Web browser market. Like Apple's Safari and Google's Chrome, Shiira is based on WebKit. The browser has a PageDock feature that provides the same functionality as tabbed browsing, but with complete thumbnails of every page that is opened.

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