Jun 23, 2014

Download Chrome Dev Editor developer pre-release

Chrome Dev Editor is a web development environment running as a packaged app inside Google Chrome. It is based on the open source project Spark developed by Google since November 2013 using the Dart language and Polymer elements. Chrome Dev Editor supports building JavaScript & Dart web apps, Chrome apps, Polymer elements and widgets. It is going to be officially announced at Google I/O 2014, but you can download the developer pre-release version 0.13 below. Keep in mind, that you use it at your own risk.

To install Chrome Dev Editor, you would probably need a developer channel of Google Chrome. Go to chrome://extensions, drag and drop the CRX file there. You will be asked to install the packaged app.

On the first run, the app could hang at a splash screen for a while:

 In the main window, you can click the wrench icon to check the settings:

You can create your new project, deploy it or clone the Git repository using the hamburger icon:

You can run the HTML file using the context menu or the play icon:

Chrome Dev Editor provides code autocompletion and highlighting:

It even provides an integrated web server and supports Web Starter Kit out of the box:

Download Chrome Dev Editor packaged app (CRX)

Disclaimer: This is an unofficial developer pre-release. I am not affiliated with Google.

Feb 26, 2014

Opera 21 features Off-Road mode version 2 with video compression

Opera 21.0.1419.0 web browser for Mac and Windows, based on Chromium 34.0.1825.4, has just been released. This Developer release provides many new features: Aura, a hardware-accelerated window manager, an option to show full URL in address bar, full keyboard support for web apps, and so on.

But the most exciting experimental features are hidden under opera://flags page, namely:
  • Off-Road mode, version 2 - a.k.a. Opera Turbo 2, which uses next-generation servers and protocols such as WebP and SPDY for faster web browsing.
  • Video compression in Off-Road mode - which optimizes video in version 2 of Off-Road mode, using Skyfire Rocket Optimizer aquired by Opera.
  • Speed Dial extensions compositing - which enables hardware accelerated compositing for Speed Dial extensions.
  • Enable lazy session loading - which loads only the active tab when restoring browser session. Remaining tabs will be loaded when activated.
  • Extended lazy session loading - which changes mode of operation of lazy session loading so that all tabs are gradually loaded in the background.
  • Synchronization - a.k.a. Opera Link.
  • Tab hibernation - which tells idle background tabs to hibernate.
  • DirectWrite - which enables smooth font rendering (finally!).
  • Experimental QUIC protocol - which speeds up web browsing on supported servers.
  • HTTPS over experimental QUIC protocol - which enables QUIC for HTTPS.
  • SPDY/4 alpha 2 - which is more up-to-date than SPDY/3.
  • HTTP/2 draft 04 - which is a next-generation protocol based on SPDY.
  • Built-in Asynchronous DNS - which is an internal non-blocking DNS client.
  • Enable Experimental JavaScript - a.k.a. ECMAScript Harmony features, such as proxies, weak maps, sets, maps, typeof semantics and block scoping.
  • Enable experimental Web Platform features - such as CSS Shapes, Canvas Blend modes, Canvas Paths and CSS Clip Paths.
As to performance, Off-Road mode version 2 is faster than version 1. The average measured speed in Numion YourSpeed was 375 kbps vs 301 kbps on a slow network. The video compression works by serving files with content type video/skyfire or video/mp4 from Opera Mini servers.

Download Opera Developer

Feb 18, 2014

Speed up your Google Chrome for desktop by using Data Compression Proxy

Google has added a Chrome Data Compression Proxy to its mobile Google Chrome browser for iOS and Android. Like Opera Turbo, it speeds up web browsing by greatly reducing size of transferred HTTP packets, by using a SPDY protocol, compressing resources, optimizing images to WEBP format and tunneling all traffic via secure HTTPS connection. Unfortunately, it has been available only to mobile users. Until now.

Browsing the net, I have just found an experimental Google Chrome extension, which brings Data Compression Proxy to desktop. This is an unofficial add-on, so it could potentially break some web pages or stop working some day, but for now it works great and accelerates web browsing significantly. What is more, it is open source, so anybody can check its source and contribute to it.

Download Data Compression Proxy from Chrome Web Store

Nov 13, 2013

Liebao (Cheetah) Browser

A Chinese company KingSoft (known best for its free Microsoft Office alternative) has released a good looking web browser Liebao (Cheetah in Chinese). The latest version is 4.3 and it is based on Chromium 29 and Blink engine, with compatibility mode based on Trident engine from IE. Cheetah Browser runs in Chinese by default, but deleting the file: C:\Users\YourName\AppData\Local\Liebao\x.x.x.x\Locales\zh-CN.pak enables English language. The browser chrome was designed by Rigo, a partner of Lenovo and Microsoft.

Have a look at the promo video:

Here is the screenshot of themes gallery:

The new tab page:

The main menu with tools:

Cheetah Browser scores 494 points in HTML5 Test. You can download this browser directly from here (exe file, open at your own risk).

Sep 25, 2013

The best Android browser is... Opera!

I have tested the most popular web browsers on Android Jelly Bean: Stock Android Browser, Google Chrome 29, Opera 16, Opera Mobile Classic 12.1, Mozilla Firefox 24 and Dolphin Browser 10 with Jetpack. While Opera and Opera Classic have an Off-road or Turbo mode, which speeds up loading websites, it was disabled for this test. Here is the comparison table, two best results are green:

BrowserBrowsermarkOctane BenchmarkHTML5 TestCSS3 Test
Stock Browser21321175327 + 1445
Chrome22401951429 + 1160
Opera26502089443 + 1162
Opera Classic1740571406 + 1252
Firefox20712253426 + 1058
Dolphin20081544471 + 357

The best Android web browser, in terms of performance and compliance to web standards, is the new Opera! However, Dolphin has the best support for HTML5 and Chrome with Firefox are almost as fast as Opera.

Sep 19, 2013

Safari in iOS 7 has better performance than iOS 6

As the new Apple iOS 7 has been finally released, I have upgraded an iPad 2 and compared the performance of Safari Mobile browser in iOS 7 to iOS 6. The benchmark results show that iOS 7 has better performance in web browsing and better compliance to web standards. Have a look at the comparison table:

Browser Browsermark Octane Benchmark HTML5 Test CSS3 Test
Safari / iOS7 2288 1479 399 + 9 61%
Safari / iOS6 2022 935 386 + 9 59%
Improvement 13% 58% 3% 2%

For more information about Safari Mobile in iOS 7, read this excellent article on Breaking the Mobile Web.

Jun 23, 2013

How to update Safari for Windows to the latest version of WebKit

If you are still using Safari 5.1 for Windows (e.g. for the excellent font smoothing), you can keep up with modern web browsers by upgrading its WebKit engine to the latest version released by Apple. Just follow these steps:
  1. If you have iTunes already installed, go to step 5.
  2. Download the latest release of iTunes for Windows.
  3. Open the downloaded file iTunesSetup.exe in an archive manager, like 7-Zip or WinRAR.
  4. Extract the file AppleApplicationSupport.msi and run it. Complete the installation.
  5. Copy the folder C:\Program Files (x86)\Common Files\Apple\Apple Application Support (or without (x86) when on 32-bit system) to C:\Program Files (x86)\Safari and merge with the existing Apple Application Support folder.
When you restart Safari, you will notice much better HTML5 & CSS3 support (319 -> 342 points in HTML5 Test) and JavaScript performance. Enjoy!