12 April, 2009

A fast bit of chrome.

Wow - I've got my cake and I can eat it too!

I've been taking the latest Google Chrome browser for a spin recently, and I'm frankly pleasantly surprised. There's only one thing I've found that I can't do in it, but more on that later. It's fast, there's minimal "fat" with it (no superfluous stuff) and it renders content accurately—or seems to, anyhow.

Let's apply the ACID test

Google Chrome's ACID3 test picture

I ran Chrome through the ACID tests, and it seemed to pass all but the ACID3 link test with flying colours. Chrome passed every element of the ACID3 test but took too long, which is about standard for my machine (Duron 1GHz, 1256MB, VIA motherboard, ATI Radeon 7000 AGP card). For some reason the linktest seems to show up as failed too. However, I can probably forgive these few failings. This is definitely a plus for the toolkit that Chrome is based on (WebKit, otherwise known as KHTML, used inside KDE's Konqueror.) Firefox 3.0.10 managed 71 out of 100 tests, and was quite slow in the process even on a Celeron 2.8GHz machine, though I'm not going to screenie it here, as this article's already too bulky.

Picture of IE7's ACID3 test picture - oh dearIn a not surprising comparison, Internet Explorer 7 looks like a dogs breakfast, I can't even tell how many tests it uh, passed, neither can I click on the letter A to find out. I really really hope for Microsoft's sake that IE 8 fixes some of the bugs with the renderer, because frankly in the mode I had IE7 in (fairly much untweaked, how you're supposed to have it), this response to the ACID3 test is totally useless. Incidentally, from what I've read on the current-at-the-time Wiki page on ACID3, apparently Microsoft don't actually intend on making their browser achieve a perfect score.

Microsoft, developers of the Internet Explorer browser, said that Acid3 does not map to the goal of Internet Explorer 8 and that IE8 will improve only some of the standards being tested by Acid3.[17]

Aww, I found a bug(let)

As I said before, I've only found one thing I can't do - and that's to delete entries off the list of downloaded files. In comparison, Firefox shows a list of downloaded files, and if this list becomes overly large, it affects how fast Firefox loads and displays documents. However, I'm able to delete entries from that list, unlike Chrome. Will Chrome fall foul of that same problem? I rather hope not.

There's not really much more I can say on the subject, but well done, Google. I'm impressed enough to have made it my default Windows web browser, supplanting poor old Firefox 3 in the process. The only questions I have left are:

  1. when is it going to appear on Linux, and
  2. when is it being open-sourced?

Apparently, as WebKit is open-source, we already have the basic codebase of Google Chrome now... just not the source code to the Google tweaks they made to make it so screaming. I imagine that Safari may well have similar results to Chrome, due to its use of the Webkit codebase.

June 8th 2009

Further to the article, I finally got a copy of Internet Explorer 8, and fired it up on ACID3. It has improved on its godawful previous score of 12/100, and now the picture at least looks a bit like the reference page. Now there are boxes of about the right shape, though they don't appear to have any colour in whatsoever. *sigh*. Never mind. We can take hope that eventually, Microsoft will come up to par. IEX, maybe?

Oh, sorry. You wanted to see what it looks like on my computer? Doesn't this article already have enough heartbreak in it?

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