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Mozilla Slams Chrome Frame As "Browser Soup" 236

Posted by kdawson
from the strange-bedfellows dept.
CWmike writes "Mozilla executives today took shots at Google for pitching its Chrome Frame plug-in as a solution to Internet Explorer's poor performance, with one arguing that Google's move will result in 'browser soup.' The Mozilla reaction puts the company that builds Firefox on the same side of the debate as rival Microsoft, which has also blasted Google over the plug-in. Mitchell Baker, the former CEO of Mozilla and currently the chairman of the Mozilla Foundation, said in a blog post, 'The overall effects of Chrome Frame are undesirable. I predict positive results will not be enduring and — and to the extent it is adopted — Chrome Frame will end in growing fragmentation and loss of control for most of us, including Web developers.' Baker says Chrome Frame's browser-in-a-browser will confuse users and render some of their familiar tools useless. 'Once your browser has fragmented into multiple rendering engines, it's very hard to manage information across Web sites. Some information will be manageable from the browser you use and some information from Chrome Frame. This defeats one of the most important ways in which a browser can help people manage their [Web] experience.'"
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Mozilla Slams Chrome Frame As "Browser Soup"

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  • IE (Score:5, Interesting)

    by sopssa (1498795) * <sopssa@email.com> on Tuesday September 29, 2009 @05:49PM (#29585907) Journal

    Baker says Chrome Frame's browser-in-a-browser will confuse users and render some of their familiar tools useless. Some information will be manageable from the browser you use and some information from Chrome Frame.

    Interestingly, isn't this an exactly same issue with Firefox addons too? Some of them might create the same kind of incompabilities than Chrome Frame plugin does.

    On that note, in my opinion Chrome Frame itself serve's little to none purpose. If you can install it, you could install the actual Chrome (or some other) browser aswell. Websites need to opt-in for using the Chrome Frame for rendering with a metatag, and I think Google will be lucky if even 1% add that tag.

    Only good reason I've come across is the next note from the article

    Specifically, said Google, it was pushing Chrome Frame because it decided it wasn't worth trying to make its new collaboration and communications tool, Google Wave, work with IE. Google developers spent "countless hours" on tweaking Wave for IE, but gave up.

    Which does make sense. Users can use IE, but still get the Wave to work. But I except google to take more major approach about the plugin soon.

    • Re:IE (Score:5, Informative)

      by ShadowRangerRIT (1301549) on Tuesday September 29, 2009 @06:03PM (#29586029)

      Except Firefox addons are not *necessary* to use any commonly accessed websites (AdBlock Plus and NoScript may be desirable, but not necessary). As such, the people who install them are expected to be aware of potential incompatibility and can disable them if needed (for example, if AdBlock Plus blocks critical elements of a site, you can whitelist the necessary element, or just disable it on the specified site). The required knowledge level to install an addon usually means they know the basic troubleshooting needed to fix addon related problems.

      If Google decides that a large number of its services require Chrome Frame, people without the necessary knowledge will be installing it to use those services. And unlike the Firefox addon users, most of them won't be competent enough to troubleshoot any problems that arise from the combined renderer, or even understand the source of the problem.

      In addition, it would not surprise me to see a number of sites add the metatag without realizing the implications. Too many web developers are hacks, copying any pasting random junk from forums, reading tips out of guidebooks without understanding the context, etc. If their site's JavaScript is too slow, and a forum post says "Add this metatag to improve JavaScript performance," they'll add it without checking to see if their page is Chrome compatible.

      • Except Firefox addons are not *necessary* to use any commonly accessed websites (AdBlock Plus and NoScript may be desirable, but not necessary).

        They are if you browse in certain wild-west not-so-professionally-managed portions of the web!

      • Re:IE (Score:4, Insightful)

        by ReverendLoki (663861) on Tuesday September 29, 2009 @06:48PM (#29586443)

        Except Firefox addons are not *necessary* to use any commonly accessed websites

        Asides from the sites that only render properly in IE due to poor authoring, there are still sites out there that will actively forbid you from viewing them unless you are using IE. Unfortunately, once in a blue moon I have to visit them. That's why I have the Firefox add-on IE Tab [mozilla.org], which pretty much does the same thing as this Chrome Frame thing. Or am I somehow mistaken?

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          You're not mistaken. But it demonstrates the exact problems I mentioned. When viewing sites in IE Tab, you lose all the Firefox functionality below the level of tab separation. You need plugins for each, the behavior of different tabs doesn't match (I hate losing find-as-you-type for instance), etc.

          And like I noted before, the IE Tab users (usually) know what they are getting into; they have to explicitly opt in on each site. The Chrome Frame users won't be aware, as they would include a large percentag

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Scoth (879800)

            Not to mention sloppy webmasters start depending on it rather than properly implementing their site. I remember one site trumpeting loudly "Now! Firefox support!! Click here for instructions!" and it was simply installing IETab and using it.

        • by Grishnakh (216268)

          there are still sites out there that will actively forbid you from viewing them unless you are using IE

          I'm just curious: what sites are still like this, aside from corporate intranet sites? I don't think I've come across one in many years. In fact, I don't think I've seen any sites in years that don't even render properly in Firefox; they used to be somewhat common, but now I just don't see any.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by at_slashdot (674436)

      No purpose? Many IE users won't change the browser but they would install all kind of crappy add ons. This add on doesn't even change the interface while most of the addons do.

    • Re:IE (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Gerald (9696) on Tuesday September 29, 2009 @07:04PM (#29586641) Homepage

      On that note, in my opinion Chrome Frame itself serve's little to none purpose. If you can install it, you could install the actual Chrome (or some other) browser aswell.

      There are quite a few companies locked in to IE 6 right now due to requirements from internal applications. I think Chrome Frame would be pretty attractive in this sort of environment. Instead of spending money and resources upgrading your apps you can deploy CF on your desktops and give your users a browser that runs as IE 6 internally and doesn't suck otherwise.

      It's also attractive to web developers. I added the CF meta tag to my site as soon as I heard about it. The fewer users using the IE 6 renderer the better.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by FictionPimp (712802)

        Companies that are still using IE6 are probably not going to let their users install things like this. In fact, they are probably likely to ban it due to some misinformation.

      • Economics (Score:3, Interesting)

        by GradiusCVK (1017360)
        I agree 100%. There are a lot of people on here crying about how "IE SUCKS! We shouldn't fix it, we should force people to use a real browser!" etc... You know what? If the reason IE sucks is strictly because of its crappy JS engine and standards incompatibilities, and Google has now effectively fixed that, then what's wrong with people using IE?

        Don't get me wrong... I love open source. I love Firefox. I use both almost exclusively for work and for play. I know that Firefox is strictly superior in numerou
    • in my opinion Chrome Frame itself serve's little to none purpose. If you can install it, you could install the actual Chrome (or some other) browser aswell

      I broadly agree with you, but I can see one situation where it might be useful: a bunch of related pages, some of which work in and benefit from a modern browser and some of which don't, used in a single workflow. You'd sacrifice a lot of convenience if you used two separate browsers here.

      It might help to convince management to bring things up to date, to

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by IntlHarvester (11985) *

        It might help to convince management to bring things up to date, too: you can get incremental benefits from incremental improvement, rather than having to commit to overhauling the entire universe in one go.

        I think this is an excellent point. GF will likely be deployed by enterprises as a way of migrating their intranet crap off IE6 (without having to incur the pain of hacking in IE6 support or training users to use multiple browsers).

        As an enduser technology, Frame is worse than useless. (Sites shouldn't be encouraging users to install plugins because most of them are malware.)

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Canazza (1428553)

      Situation last month: Standards Compliant browsers are in the minority. Horrible code hacks required to make things work on Internet Explorer
      Situation now: Standards Compliant browsers still in the minority, plugin availible to make things work on Internet Explorer. Microsoft upset
      Situation soon, if MS don't do anything: Standards Compliant browsers still in the minority, Google releases Wave and requests all IE users install their plugin, Internet Explorer becomes less stable as there are now TWO routes ha

  • Google is simply "embracing and extending" IE's functionality, right?
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Trailer Trash (60756)

      Google is simply "embracing and extending" IE's functionality, right?

      Hey, as long as they remember the "extinguish" step, I'll support the effort...

  • Important point (Score:5, Interesting)

    by The Ancients (626689) on Tuesday September 29, 2009 @05:53PM (#29585943) Homepage

    ...Chrome Frame will end in growing fragmentation and loss of control for most of us, including Web developers.'

    A very important point. Those of us who build the web finally thought we were seeing some movement with the increasing adoption of Firefox (mainly) causing Microsoft to build better browsers in IE7, and more so, IE8. We really looked forward to moving from a development model where 50% of the time was spent building the site to standards, and 50% hacking for Internet Explorer.

    • by Rix (54095) on Tuesday September 29, 2009 @06:01PM (#29586013)

      IE8 doesn't support canvas, or svg, doesn't have a real javascript engine, and still mangles standard css.

      It can get by on simple web pages, but it's simply not suitable for real web apps. Anyone developing one either writes off IE completely, or is using the tools that Google's been releasing to augment IE's deficiencies.

      • by amicusNYCL (1538833) on Tuesday September 29, 2009 @08:10PM (#29587293)

        Anyone developing one either writes off IE completely, or is using the tools that Google's been releasing to augment IE's deficiencies.

        Really, those are our 2 options? Either don't support IE, or use something from Google. Oddly enough, I've been getting by for years without doing either of those. Granted, my "real web apps" don't need canvas or SVG. The vast majority of mature Javascript libraries around have no problems supporting IE with the vast majority of their functionality, what's your excuse? I've been supporting tens of thousands of corporate (read IE) users who spend hours each day using large ajax applications that I've built. I've got an installation with over 70,000 users on it where about 1% of the front-end code is HTML, and the rest is Javascript and CSS. IE8 runs that application just fine.

    • Re:Important point (Score:5, Informative)

      by sopssa (1498795) * <sopssa@email.com> on Tuesday September 29, 2009 @06:01PM (#29586015) Journal

      The usage of Chrome Frame is up to the webmaster - you define it in a metatag. Even more so it sends the Chrome useragent then, so you can apply your hacks like normal.

      This doesn't cost any more fragmention than before.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Jarjarthejedi (996957)

        How do you get from "This is a new thing and you have to do special stuff to get it to work for you" to "This doesn't cause anymore fragmentation than before"? Having new things you have to code for is the very definition of fragmentation, and adding a new type of browser that specifically requires extra code and could easily gain a significant usermarket is a step towards more fragmentation, not less.

        Just because you can code for it or leave it out doesn't mean it doesn't cause fragmentation. You can leave

        • Re:Important point (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Tony Hoyle (11698) <tmh@nodomain.org> on Tuesday September 29, 2009 @07:02PM (#29586597) Homepage

          What he means is Frame doesn't activate unless the website asks for this (or, theoretically the user but I can't see that option being so popular if the site works anyway).

          So there's no extra work. If you don't want to support chrome then don't.. nothing has changed.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by sopssa (1498795) *

          As soon as Frame becomes popular it'll end up being yet another special case on the list of things you need to write extra code for, and that's a bad thing for a company that's supposed to be about embracing standards.

          Well you do not really need any other extra things for Frame other than the metatag - which you can happily avoid and have the IE users use IE's rendering engine if you want so. Frame's engine is basically same as Chrome's and you're definitely not avoiding that either.

          That being said I dont see a need to add the metatag to my sites. But if I did, I know it wouldn't really require more from me than that since I already have to support Chrome anyway. So it doesn't cause any fragmention.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          No, thats just totally wrong. Instead of yet another spec to code for, now you can code to the standard, and expect most people to be able to view it correctly. Why code for IE6, IE7, IE8, and "all the rest of the world"? Code HTMl5 and CSS3, and let it just work the way its supposed to. This is, I think, what is actually scaring MS. Google's plugin makes it possible for the majority of the web to ignore MS specs and use standards, transparently. You know how developers are going to respond to this.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by BikeHelmet (1437881)

          No, it reduces fragmentation. Look at it this way:

          -You are a webmaster.
          -You have a website that works in IE.

          Result: No further action required. No fragmentation.

          -You are a webmaster.
          -You are coding a fancy DOM website, and need to implement ugly hacks to get it to work in IE.
          -It's too difficult. You site has too many great features, like a Canvas banner.
          -You either create a page educating users on the benefits of other browsers...
          -Or you check for Chrome Frame, and if it isn't there, give them a button to i

        • Re:Important point (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Zaiff Urgulbunger (591514) on Tuesday September 29, 2009 @10:54PM (#29588669)
          But as a web-dev, I can ignore Chrome-Frame [CF]... so right now I develop sites based on web-standards, and then I test and I typically add a bunch of IE conditional comments to deal with IE specific issues.

          So no changes there.

          The only reason I might want to add an meta X-UA-Compatible='chrome=1' (or whatever it is) is if I wanted to (a). allow IE users with CF installed a snappier browsing experience, or (b). I wanted to make use of features that only exist in modern browsers such as canvas or SVG or something.

          It's clear that Googles intent here is (b) in the above list, since they're the ones really pushing the limits of what is possible using currently available web-standards.... and by that, I mean what is possible with IE since IE is still the browser with market share.

          So.... from a web developers perspective, I can do nothing at all, and this doesn't affect me, or I can think about it a bit, continue building as I do, but add an X-UA-Compatible response-header/meta. I really really ain't that difficult IMHO!!

          Just to recap on Google's motivation here; it *isn't* about killing off IE6/7 (like most people seemed to think), but is about *all* versions of IE since not even IE8 supports bleeding edge functionality. All versions of IE are hindering the Google vision of web apps (think Google Wave here in particular), although Google Docs is kind of key here too.

          I think Google are preempting MS's response to Google web apps; in order for MS to transition MS Office to Office Web-apps (or whatever they're calling it), it seems entirely likely they'll push Silverlight. Sooooo, without Chrome-Frame, Google would have no answer to this, and darkness would once again descend upon the web!! [I _might_ be being overly dramatic!]

          Since it's relevant, I imagine that Win7 will ship with Silverlight installed and I imagine it will run regardless of which browser the user chooses. So hopefully, you can see the problem!
    • Re:Important point (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 29, 2009 @06:05PM (#29586047)

      Isn't that a good thing? I'm a web developer--and I'll say outright--I don't deserve control of your browser. The marketing tools that we had do our frontpage came up with a *beautiful* flash application--and the boss was absolutely heartbroken when he couldn't show our new page to somebody he met in the lobby of a motel. And most of what they did in flash would have rendered faster with a bit of CSS and tiny bit of javascript.

      I warned him---but pretty shiny things overcame technical sense. More fragmentation of the browser market is a *good* thing, as it will make further development of new shiny toys impossible (and economically unrewarding) until people actually FIX THE FUCKING STANDARDS. That's right--I said it--HTML is broken. Embedded video in a page is more about fucking politics than good technical sense--fuck you too apple and google for everything you had to do with that.

      Break the entire web, raze the platforms, make Microsoft impossible to develop for when their market share gets pushed down to 30%. Bring back the days of hacking different tables together, the CSS kluges in comment fields, javascript expressions detecting browsers, and the current abomination that is the ridiculous engine-creep in User-Agent strings.

      Make web developers like myself weep with frustration and push for real standards.

      But when it's all done, can we please get an open standard out of it (unlike Acid2), with a protected term (sort of like how CDROM is owned by sony) owned and registered by a governing body that certifies a browser engine as either implementing it or not?, and as part of the standard, have a "standards only" mode required--wherein no new tags may be rendered or acted upon?

      So finally, IE can't be called a "web browser" by definition if it doesn't pass "ACID VERSION 5.897879 Test 1083b".

      Then, and only then will the web actually be a reasonable platform to work on. Because as it is today--I look forward to fragmentation, since it would at least make all those lazy "web programmers" out there pay attention to the tags they're using.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        Heh, I laughed for a good ten minutes after reading that one. If this is satire, my hat is well and truly off.
  • Translation (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MightyMartian (840721) on Tuesday September 29, 2009 @05:59PM (#29585995) Journal

    Translation: Those fucking bastards are probably going to do the same thing to Firefox!!!! Chair... Google... Must... throw...

  • sour grapes (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dsanfte (443781) on Tuesday September 29, 2009 @06:00PM (#29586003) Journal

    Sounds like sour grapes to me. Google has a technically superior engine, and Mozilla's whining about it. Well boo-hoo guys, how about cutting the crap and getting to work improving your product?

  • So, I take it that mozilla foundation is not interested in hosting gecko frame.

  • make Firefox better than Chrome, so people won't bother with Chrome frames. Until then, STFU.
    • If the person installs Chrome Frame, it's because she *wants* to keep using IE, or is too ignorant to know there are alternatives. Either way, they're not Firefox target.

      • by Tony Hoyle (11698)

        It could get interesting when Microsoft release IE Frame for Firefox and Chrome, and Mozilla release Firefox Frame for IE and Chrome, and Google release Chrome Frame for Firefox...

        Browsers then become little more than a UI and you pick the rendering engine based on the site. Either that'll be nirvana or hell depending on how that happens.

        For now I think the people who should be worried are not Mozilla, but Adobe. Some of the stuff coming out of HTML5 demos looks extremely nifty, and uses a fraction of the

        • by Ralph Spoilsport (673134) on Tuesday September 29, 2009 @07:46PM (#29587065) Journal
          For now I think the people who should be worried are not Mozilla, but Adobe. Some of the stuff coming out of HTML5 demos looks extremely nifty, and uses a fraction of the power that flash uses.

          And not a moment too soon, because Flash sucks ass.

          The only thing I use it for is embedding video. Groovy menus? AJAX and CSS. Flash was a great idea when we all had dial up. We've moved on from there, and we all learned not to build flash based splash pages. This makes Flash a fairly useless application. I look forward to it dying, like its bloated predecessor, Director.

  • by dr_wheel (671305) on Tuesday September 29, 2009 @06:03PM (#29586033)

    ... because I love and use it daily. But isn't Firefox 'plug-in soup'? Updates frequently breaking plugins, plugins sometimes breaking the browser, etc.

    Seems silly to me for them to make a comment like this.

    • by ShadowRangerRIT (1301549) on Tuesday September 29, 2009 @06:12PM (#29586111)

      Add-ons for Firefox are much more restricted than they used to be, and as a result are (usually) more stable. And since they are supposed to state versions supported, they usually deactivate cleanly for untested versions of Firefox. As for real plugins, aside from one or two major releases (none in the last year) I've rarely seen a plugin that didn't work identically after upgrade. Most browsers have some plugin compatibility problems after a major release.

      The plugin soup is more of a problem if the browser behaves drastically differently as a result of the plugin. With Chrome Frame, most plugins for IE will not work with a page rendered in the Chrome Frame. Multiple copies of the plugin would need to be installed (e.g. Flash), or certain functionality that was only implemented for one browser would not be available in one or the other (e.g. some random third party text box spell checker).

      • by Tony Hoyle (11698)

        I fail to see why you'd use Flash on a chrome based site when it has a perfectly good HTML5 engine that can do 99% of the same things. Surely the whole *purpose* of sticking the metatag on your site to use Frame is to use the advanced rendering..

  • by iamacat (583406) on Tuesday September 29, 2009 @06:05PM (#29586045)

    More options are good. There are many users who are forced to keep IE6 for work access to intranet sites and yet may want Google wave for personal use. This way they can access all their sites without having to remember which browser is for which and deal with different sets of bookmarks and cookies. What alternatives do Microsoft and Mozilla foundation propose for this group of people?

    • What alternatives do Microsoft and Mozilla foundation propose for this group of people?

      IE tab in Firefox.

      • by Tony Hoyle (11698)

        ..which is essentially the same as Chrome frame (albeit less automatic).

        Don't see the mozilla foundation complaining about 'plugin soup' with that.. funny that :p

  • by savala (874118) on Tuesday September 29, 2009 @06:06PM (#29586059)

    Urgh, I hate these links to useless tech news websites, rather than the original sources. To see what the Mozilla executives in question actually had to say, with their words in context, read Mitchell Baker: Browser Soup and Chrome Frame [lizardwrangler.com] and Mike Shaver: thoughts on chrome frame [off.net].

    And as a bonus, from a Mozilla-technology using developer (I don't think he's affiliated with Mozilla in any official capacity anymore) Daniel Glazman: Google Chrome Frame [glazman.org].

    • Nice to see their words in context. It still doesn't make sense to me, though. Rather than fragmenting the web, I see this as a way to unify the web behind standards. This is a stepping stone for most of the browsing world to get free, and how can that not be good? If we end up, three years from now, in a world where either IE renders correctly, or nobody surfs w/o the Chrome Plugin, thats also a very good thing.
  • by Jugalator (259273) on Tuesday September 29, 2009 @06:07PM (#29586069) Journal

    Oh boy. Here we go.

    Mozilla drags IE into the future with Canvas element plugin [arstechnica.com]

    Granted, Mozilla's technology doesn't do as much as Chrome Frame. It does less. But it introduced tag soup into IE. One can now, according to Mozilla's own damn hypocritic opinion because of a technological big brother envy, be sure of how IE render content.

    "Once your browser has fragmented into multiple rendering engines, it's very hard to manage information across Web sites" - Mozilla

    Oh, and how does adding canvas support reduce confusion when even more complete HTML 5 support won't?

    But read on guys... It get funnier.

    Ars Technica:

    This Canvas plugin is only the first step toward bringing standards-based web technologies to Internet Explorer. Mozilla is working on a much more ambitious initiative called Screaming Monkey [mozilla.org] that will make it possible to plug Mozilla's entire next-generation JavaScript engine directly into Microsoft's web browser. If these plugins gain widespread acceptance, it will empower web developers and give them the ability to target web standards and not have to compensate as much for Internet Explorer's broken behavior.

    Hahaha! I love this! Thanks for the laugh, Mozilla!

    • Can anybody mod the parent up and tag the article as "epitome of hypocrisy"?

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      But it introduced tag soup into IE

      IIRC Trident parses any "tag", HTML5 was designed around the behaviour of existing real world browsers like IE. I do canvas in XHTML 1.0 strict by extending the DTD.

      Screaming Monkey would replace Microsoft's JScript bringing with it a standards compliant DOM and increased performance (via nanojit).

      All Mozilla are saying is that Google's approach (the entire browser as a plugin) has poor integration with the existing IE shell, that's not a hypocritical position at all. Bot

      • Both organisations have, to their credit, invested time in producing turd polish to bring the modern web to organizations stuck with MSIE.

        Right, so it's a little bit hypocritical when one of them criticizes the way the other chooses to do this.

  • Standards? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Sir_Lewk (967686) <sirlewkNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Tuesday September 29, 2009 @06:09PM (#29586095)

    If everyone would just follow the goddamned standards then we wouldn't have to worry about this shit. Yes I'm blaming all parties involved here, they are all either directly responsible, or too complacent.

    • Opera tends to mangle CSS a bit, but other than that Microsoft is the only one not following standards.

    • If everyone would just follow the goddamned standards then we wouldn't have to worry about this shit. Yes I'm blaming all parties involved here, they are all either directly responsible, or too complacent.

      So, you're blaming the standards-compliant browser devs for, presumably, being too complacent? I suppose they could use their 1337 haxxorzing skillz and IEs innate insecurities to install Firefox, Opera, Chrome et al on everyone's PCs, and then uninstall IE, but I think not doing so is maybe not just complacency?

      • by Sir_Lewk (967686)

        All of the properly compliant webbrowsers that I've seen are still far to eager to render non-standard code. Clearly they do not deserve the same amount (or even order of magnatude) of blame, but this leniency certainly isn't helping the situation.

    • Yeah, if Berners-Lee had just followed the standards of the time and used straight ASCII we wouldn't have to worry about all this jpeg, HTML, javascript, AJAX .. stuff.

  • Reality check (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Fished (574624) <[moc.liamg] [ta] [yrogihpma]> on Tuesday September 29, 2009 @06:10PM (#29586097)

    Dudes... I work at a company whose standard is IE6. Not IE7, not IE8. IE6. And IE6 isn't even compatible with IE8 in some cases.

    The reason Google is releasing Chrome Frame is very simple--so that they can get Google Wave in the door of enterprises who have standardized on IE (including IE6) without having to develop 4 different versions of it (Standards Compliant, IE6, IE7, and IE8). They decided that doing Chrome Frame was easier, cheaper, and better for the future of Google Apps (broadly construed to include Wave) than continuing to pander to IE.

    I don't think they want to "enable" IE users... but they'd rather enable IE users to continue to be stupid than cripple their applications as they've been doing ever since gmail came out. From Google's point of view, this is ALL about the apps, not the browser wars.

  • Chrome Frame will end in growing fragmentation and loss of control for most of us

    You say that like it's a bad thing.

    To the extent that there is any "control," shouldn't it rest with the authors of the spec?

    • by Jugalator (259273)

      Agreed. For all I know, that forces web devs to write according to standards, not browsers. As long as they do this, where's the problem?

      It sounds especially odd because Mozilla is one of the web's greatest standard supporters.

      Maybe, just, maybe, it's envy because Chrome Frame was released for the web both earlier and with a more complete feature set than their own experimental Screaming Monkey project.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by ceoyoyo (59147)

      I kind of like it resting with me. My browser, my control.

      I'm also not all that broken up about it being harder to "manage" information across sessions.

    • Funny, I thought the control should rest with the authors of the site. Who elected the spec writers as decision makers?

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        Well, if your asking for a vote, I'd vote to give W3C some teeth. Seems to me it should be, 1) User of the browser. 2) W3C. 3) Browser. 4) Web site author.
  • Is Firefox careful to make sure that they are compatible with Flash? Some information is manageable from Firefox and some information from Flash. Yes, it sucks, but it is better that rewriting all of those flash applications to work in IE.

    • Flash plugs into Firefox, not the other way. It's Flash that needs to make sure it's compatible with Firefox.

  • by mr_josh (1001605) on Tuesday September 29, 2009 @06:20PM (#29586181)
    The web developer side of me says, "Yeah, this probably will not add conformity to things."

    The shit-disturber side of me says, "Take that, Redmond."

  • About time (Score:2, Interesting)

    by drkwatr (609301)
    It is about time I started seeing technology of this nature, but we are still not there yet. I would love to see this framework system support plugins that way when I design a site I specify what rendering engine is needed, and the browser simply loads it and renders my page 100% correct 100% of the time. It would also make it easer for the W3C to push standards as they could release their own rendering engine as soon as they are published and everyone could start using them so long as the browser supports
    • So everyone would be forced to have all the rendering engines installed? That makes no sense.

      And for web developers, it would be the same mess it is today: some people would have Gecko and Trident, but not Webkit, others would have Webkit and Gecko, but not Trident, etc.
      Of course, you can say that the browser would come with all the rendering engines, but it's much easier to fix the stardards than that.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        The standards aren't broken. What is broken is Microsoft's browsers. Its easier to build plugins to fix IE than it is to wrestle control of Microsoft away and force them to fix IE. Hopefully, if this plugin sees enough use, that in itself will leverage MS to fix IE. Note: it will NOT be the same mess as today, because instead of having to code for Gecko, Trident, and Webkit, you could choose one (preferably standards compliant) and code to just that one, and let the plugin do the work. While the *easy*
  • These sound-byte-type pot-shots accomplish nothing.

  • by DaveV1.0 (203135) on Tuesday September 29, 2009 @06:34PM (#29586281) Journal

    Who said soup is a bad thing? I like soup, damn it!

  • "This defeats one of the most important ways in which a browser can help people manage their [Web] experience.'"

    I don't want to manage my Web experience.

    I want to enjoy it.

    I know there are all sorts of reasons why different browsers have to be accomodated. But it's still wrong.

    They are doing it wrong.

  • this must be stopped!

  • by techdavis (939834) on Tuesday September 29, 2009 @06:56PM (#29586531)
    Odd - I have for the past few years always used the "IE Tab" plugin for Firefox - that makes the pages render in IE (for IE specific sites, like windows update). Isn't that EXACTLY the same thing?
  • Waitress? Hey, Waitress! I don't mean to be rude, but I only get 30 minutes for lunch!! One big bowl of Browser Soup, and extra addons, please!!

  • Google Frame (Score:5, Insightful)

    by slimjim8094 (941042) <slashdot3@justconnected . n et> on Tuesday September 29, 2009 @07:02PM (#29586607)

    I've been thinking about Google Frame. Honestly, I think it's too good a stopgap. Let me explain:

    People have Internet Explorer. It sucks. Or people have Chrome/Firefox/Opera/Safari/... and they all work the same (almost).

    People who have IE are mostly unable or unwilling to install, well, anything else.

    Chrome is good in that installing a browser plugin is easier (and more familiar) for most people than installing a browser. They do it all the time - Flash, Java, SuperPornSearch - even if they shouldn't.

    So Chrome Frame is nice, in that regard, in that I as a web developer can have IE say "install this to view this page", or otherwise throw up a "You must have at least Flash 7 to view this content"-type page. Those errors seem to be effective, for the most part.

    But it's bad in the sense that if everybody requires Chrome Frame, and everybody has it, that's dandy. But it's still running IE.

    In short, it's a stopgap. But it's a very good stopgap. Potentially so good that people won't switch to a real browser. And that's bad.

    • Re:Google Frame (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Tony Hoyle (11698) <tmh@nodomain.org> on Tuesday September 29, 2009 @07:23PM (#29586841) Homepage

      If everyone has chrome frame it won't matter - IE becomes merely a UI around it, hence no more relevant to the 'browser wars' than whether they have Aero switched on or not. People can code to standards and expect it to work, at last.

      If gmail starts to require frame that'll be a huge number of users suddenly using it.. if they do the same to youtube (ditch the flash and use canvas instead) then its numbers will skyrocket. There's nothing stopping google doing either of these things.

  • Isn't this why we have web standards? If you adhere to the damned standards, doesn't the rendering engine become all about performance instead of which one looks better, or renders "more correctlyer"?
  • Baker says Chrome Frame's browser-in-a-browser will confuse users and render some of their familiar tools useless.

    Kinda like IETab in Firefox?

  • by stokessd (89903) on Tuesday September 29, 2009 @07:18PM (#29586799) Homepage

    Anybody who is using IE6 is either so clueless that they wouldn't know about this plugin, or they are forced to use IE6 because certain websites are coded for it. Either way it seems more like a fun stunt than anything viable.

    I do all my work web surfing on firefox, but when I need to do one of my many yearly training courses, I have to fire up IE6 because the courses break in weird ways with firefox. So the only reason I'm in IE is that I'm forced to be, and this plugin would break the very reason I'm in IE in the first place.

    Sheldon

    • by Tony Hoyle (11698)

      They don't need to know about the plugin, or even what a 'browser' is.

      They'll only know that, in common with a lot of other sites, if you click on google wave* you have to install something first.. and they'll click 'yes' because that's what they always do.

      * Or, potentialy, gmail or youtube, or blogspot, or any site that wants to implement it.

    • by hguorbray (967940)
      A lot of corporations and government agencies still specify IE6

      as others have said, this will help give access to newer technologies/websites to people whose organizations (or grandmothers) are stuck on old, crufty tech.

      however -I wonder if it will still present an IE6 app string to those websites/apps that require it???

      I'm just sayin'
  • by rwa2 (4391) *

    'sup dawg, I heard you like to screw with w3c standards, so I got you a browser fo your browser so people can surf the net while they surf the net.

    But really, as an earlier /. post had mentioned, this makes a lot of sense for Google, in that it's the only logical way to get their web services platform to be used by people who are stuck with IE6, 7, 8 (through ignorance or corporate policy or laziness).

    I'd say it's quite a bit different between getting "You must install the Flash plugin to use this site" mes

  • 'Chrome Frame will end in growing fragmentation and loss of control for most of us, including Web developers.' Baker says.

    You should lose control. Web developer demands are why browsers added <center>, <font> and <blink> tags. You had your chance at control and you turned out to be horrible at it. Write to the standard and don't fucking worry about the browser!

  • The last time I heard about Google Wave, I was watching an official Google video. The big selling point seemed to be that Google Wave was compatible with pretty much ANYTHING. They were showing off ways in which it could interface with various blog engines, twitter, facebook .... they even made a big deal out of the fact that someone wrote a text console app that was capable of interfacing with Wave. And now they're trying to say that they can't make it work with IE? Something seems a little fishy here

    • by lee1 (219161)
      You are confusing the client with the server (and associated infrastructure). What can't work on IE is the standard html/javascript wave client. The console app, for example, is a different client.
      • by c6gunner (950153)

        You are confusing the client with the server

        Nope, I'm not confusing anything. You're just not thinking this through.

        What can't work on IE is the standard html/javascript wave client. The console app, for example, is a different client.

        Yuhuh. And if you can interface with the server via a console app, why in the world wouldn't you be able to do it with a browser? Last I checked, IE could send text without undue difficulty.

  • IEtab is a plug in for rendering a web page in IE in a firefox tab, which has existed for some time without raising anyones hackles. This is not the only example and also nothing new: this kind of thing has been going on for a long time.
  • (Sorry, couldn't resist. Listing the ability to share data across sites as a plus is kind of funny...)

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