Archives

Archives / 2008 / March
  • New design

    Tags: Personal, Website

    Welcome to the new design, I hope you like this one better than the previous. Personally I got tired of the old one and decided to make a change. Please leave a comment if it behaves bad or does not look good on any weird browser (I've tried it on FF3b4, Safari and IE8b1).

    Alicia and Wilma Tomorrow I'll be back for work after a month and a half of parental leave, which was so nice. I wish it had lasted longer, but I will be home with my daughters Fridays throughout the rest of the spring...

  • The final countdown of OOXML

    Tags: Office Open XML

    Abacus Today is the last day that the national bodies can change/update the votes on the Office Open Xml, DIS 29500, approval as an ISO standard.

    I really hope that enough NB's change their votes so we can have OOXML as an ISO standard - I know we will all gain on this.

    To get a hint in which direction the result is going Andy Updegrove has set up a Vote Tracker, which he will continuously update until we have the final result.

  • Save The Developers!

    Tags: Internet Explorer, Internet and the Web, Website

    savethedevelopers.org Due to the large amount of users still using Internet Explorer 6 a campaign has started to save developers from having to making specific adaptations to IE6 - SaveTheDevelopers.org.

    savethedevelopers.orgThe Save The Developers site contains a script that anyone can place on their web site and it will show a warning to IE6 users and urge them to upgrade to any of the four major browsers; Internet Explorer 7, Mozilla Firefox, Apple Safari or Opera.

    Internet Explorer 6 still represents 31%, almost one third, of all browsers according to TechCrunch, while this site has about 15% (which I find quite high...).

    Join the cause, add the script to your site, recommend people, friends, parents, customers and colleagues to upgrade.

    Via LiveSide.

  • Apple Safari browser for Windows

    Tags: Internet Explorer, Internet and the Web

    Apple have now released the final version of the Safari browser to Windows, which has not gone unnoticed since they are pushing it as a pre-selected optional update to QuickTime or iTunes. I still refuse to install iTunes on my machines so this approach from Apple wants me to install iTunes... Apple is not new to me. As soon as there are any updates to QuickTime Apple recommends me to install iTunes, via Apple Software Update.

    But anyway's, this time I wanted to install the Safari browser.

    As usual I did not read the EULA (who do read all these agreements). If I would have then I would have found out that I was not allowed to install it on my Dell Windows Vista machine!

    Take a look at this piece in the License Agreement (Help->License in the Safari browser).

    Apple Safari EULA

    You are not allowed to install Safari on non-Apple branded computers. (Thanks to Sandi for bringing this to my attention).

    Safari will not be my preferred browser for a long time, I just don't like the interface, the hijack of the controls (look at the image below) or the rendering of text.

    Comparing browser controls

    But it is installed now - and I'm happy with that. Now I can test drive sites on different browsers without having multiple virtual machines or computers.

    PS. I will add Safari to the memory usage and JavaScript performance tests of Firefox 3 and Internet Explorer 8 when new betas/versions arrive.

  • Internet Explorer 8 beta 1 vs Firefox 3 beta 4 Memory Usage

    Tags: Internet Explorer, Internet and the Web

    A few days ago I compared the JavaScript performance of Internet Explorer 8 beta 1 and Firefox 3 beta 4 and Firefox won that round pretty easy. Previous versions of Internet Explorer and Firefox have a bad history of consuming memory, which annoys me really much. You should not have to close and start your browser several times a day just to free memory, you should be able to start an instance in the morning and have that one running all day without having your memory trash.

    Stuart Parmenter, aka Pavlov, has written an article on the improvements of Firefox 3 memory management. Firefox 3 uses a number of nice techniques to reduce the memory usage over time and it looks very promising. My experience with earlier versions of Firefox is that they over time consumes more memory and releases less than Internet Explorer. Pavlov shows with a number of graphs that Firefox 3 beta 4 outruns Internet Explorer 7 and previous versions of Firefox in good memory management.

    I did a small test on my own to compare beta 1 of Internet Explorer 8 and beta 4 of Firefox and the results was not that surprising. Take this comparison with a pinch of salt since it not that scientific...

    Memory consumption...

    As you can see Firefox (3 beta 4 and 2) outperformed Internet Explorer 8 beta 1 and uses about 50 Mb of memory, in the end, on my machine while IE8 uses twice the amount. What you can't see in this diagram is that FF3b4 did use momentarily more memory, but I did not write these number down instead I wrote them down after the memory usage had stabilized after a few seconds.

    I did the test with fifteen different web sites, including SharePoint sites, Web 2.0 sites, Sunspider and different online magazines. The peek memory usage was reached on www.asp.net.

    Firefox 3 is really looking good and is now contending for the number one browser for me (the lack of creating ActiveX objects, which are used in SharePoint to open/edit documents, are now the only show stopper).

    As I said in the JavaScript test, Firefox 3 is in beta 4 while Internet Explorer 8 is in the first beta and I hope/guess/beg to see some improvements in this area. As soon as we can get new betas I will try to run the exact same tests again.

  • Improve performance by dusting off your computer

    Tags: Personal, Windows Vista, Hardware

    Recently my laptop (DELL XPS m1210) has been really sluggish and I have had several BSOD's when I have been working with it. I try to keep it pretty optimized and up to date so it will behave nice. I think I've read most of the optimize Vista articles and posts and I always keep track on which processes and services running and how much memory is used etc etc.

    So I was somewhat confused since the machine has started to behave like this and degenerate over the last few months. Yesterday I went through all the optimization routine once again to find out that nothing helped me out.

    Resource Monitor CPU graphThe laptop behaved worse when running heavy applications or when the machine has been running for a while, and it felt like there was syrup in the CPU for a few minutes until it was back on track.

    I fired up the Windows Vista Resource Monitor, which I think is better than the Task Manager when looking at performance. When I looked at the CPU graph I could see that the CPU Maximum Frequency was dropping from 100% down to 20 or 30% more than often, and especially when running heavy applications! What! The blue line in the CPU graph shows you the maximum frequency used of the CPU.

    CPU Power ManagementModern machines lowers the maximum CPU usage to conserve batteries and power when not needed, but I had my machine running in High  Performance and plugged in and I have configured it so that it should always use 100% COU in this mode.

    There must be some hardware error I thought and shut the machine down and screwed it open to find out that there were tons of dust in the laptop. I took a deep breath and blew all the dust off. After a real cough-attack I assembled it together and fired it up again.

    100% And WOW, what a difference. Now it runs at 100% all the time!!!

    The reason must have been that the CPU and/or the passively cooled graphics card got to warm so the machine lowered the maximum frequency.

    So, open up your machines and dust 'em off.

  • Internet Explorer 8 Beta 1 vs Firefox 3 Beta 4 JavaScript Performance

    Tags: Internet Explorer, Scripting

    Mozilla Links has an article about the Firefox ultimate feature - Performance, in which they compare the JavaScript performance on different web browsers. Firefox 3 beta 4 as some really impressive JavaScript performance and outruns Internet Explorer 7 with about 700%.

    But the article did not test Internet Explorer 8 beta, which I think should have been there (at least for reference). Since the IE8 team claims the performance is so much better, and my feeling after a few days of IE8 usage says so I had to do some testing on my own.

    I used the same JavaScript benchmarking tool that was used in the article - SunSpider JavaScript Benchmark.

    The results was not as I expected - yes, I did expect IE8 to perform better!

    IE8b1 vs FF3b4 JS performance

    The results show that Firefox 3 beta 4 performs 2-3 (or more) times better than Internet Explorer 8. It's an improvement since IE7, but not as good as I was expecting.

    Now we have to consider that this is the first beta of IE8 and its beta 4 of Firefox 3, which means that we will see some changes in this test in the near future. Just look at the graph in the article and see the improvement from FF3 beta 3 to beta 4, about 200%.

    Worth to notice is also that the script running times with IE8 was steadily increasing!

    Another interesting thing is that Internet Explorer 8 had a test deviation of about 60-70% while Firefox 3 had about 20%.

    I did the test on my Windows Vista Ultimate SP1 machine and run the tests on clean browsers one test at a time and then switched browsers.

    I think it is great that the two major browsers get heavily improved JavaScript performance in their upcoming versions, especially Internet Explorer which really sucked on this point.

    On the other side, I consider myself an optimization nerd sometimes and really like to do high- and well-performing JavaScript coding. This will not be that visible anymore :-(

  • XPS Working Draft updated

    Tags: XPS, Office Open XML

    ECMA International TC46 has updated the XML Paper Specification documents to working draft version 1.1. The new drafts can be found here as PDF or XPS and the changes can be found here (only as PDF :-) in the issue list.

    It seems like there are no major changes, mostly minor and editorial changes.

    I think we can expect some more changes when Office Open Xml has gone through the last steps of the ISO Fast-Track procedure, especially the references to the OPC.

    Thanks to Adrian Ford for giving us some updates.

  • First impressions of Internet Explorer 8

    Tags: Internet Explorer

    Finally Internet Explorer 8 beta 1 has been released into the wild and of course I had to install it right away and try it out, and these are my first impressions.

    Installation

    The installation went smooth and just a reboot on a Windows Vista Ultimate machine.

    Speed

    This is by far the best experience so far. It starts really fast, it opens a new tab/windows faster and it renders the pages even faster. What will happen when they start optimizing it! After some testing I find it even faster than the Firefox version I'm using. Thank you!

    Standards

    IE7 Emulation Mode button As expected, not everything looks that nice or work when using Internet Explorer 8 in it's super standards mode. If you need to access some site that does not work with IE8 just hit the IE7 emulation mode button and restart the browser and you are all set! This site, has some layout problems which I will fix soon.

    User interface

    The user interface is almost similar to Internet Explorer 7, but have some minor changes.

    Toolbar

    image The toolbars is surrounded with more space, which I personally think is annoying. I would like to have it as small as possible. The Favorites center lost the icons, why? to save space? I would have preferred to use icons only instead!?

    Address field

    The address field highlights the domain with a more black font color. Look at the image to the right, where you can see that wictorwilen.se is highlighted.

    The auto-complete feature when writing URL's are smarter, it now puts the most used file first if there are several matches (at least this is what it feels like, anyone who knows exactly how it behaves). When working with application such as SharePoint that uses underscore in a lot of pages or folders they previously was sorted first.

    Internet Explorer 8 Internet Explorer 7
    image image

    RSS Feeds

    The RSS feeds renders so much faster and Microsoft has finally gotten rid of the annoying memory leaks when browsing multiple feeds that I previously have blogged about (here and here). It is submitted to the Microsoft Support but they have closed the bug as a Won't fix, but now I don't care anymore :-)

    Developer Tools

    Yes! IE8 now includes great developer tools; HTML, DOM and CSS anlayzer and a built-in script debugger.

    SharePoint and IE8

    I had some fears that SharePoint sites would not look nice or work with IE8, but it's the total opposite situation. SharePoint sites are rendering faster, looks just like before and I have not yet experienced anything unusual. The script engine is so much better, than it's predecessors, in IE8.

    And what about the bugs?

    Yes, I have found some already. For example selecting text is not easy. Scrolling with the mouse wheel does not work properly. I had it crash once, but the new crash recovery mechanism worked smoothly.

    This is just a handful of the brand new Internet Explorer 8. I guess that Firefox, Safari and the rest will have some major competition in the future!

  • Internet Explorer 8 Beta 1 - some details

    Tags: Internet Explorer

    IE8 Microsoft has published the Internet Explorer 8 Readiness Toolkit site, since IE8 Beta will be available for download very soon. The site contains information on some of the various new and interesting stuff that IE8 will deliver for consumers and developers. Most of the links are currently not working as this post is written...

    Here are some of the highlights if you ignore all the improvements such as CSS compliance etc.

    Activities

    Activities is a completely new feature in Internet Explorer 8 that allows users to install small look-up applications. For example if you install a Virtual Earth Activity and then select and address on another web page and use the context menu on the selection, you can easily look up the address on the map. I see several interesting scenarios for this and the whole mash-up world can boost from this. Can't wait to try it out!

    There are currently a bunch of Activities ready to be installed, you can find them at http://ie.microsoft.com/activities/.

    Data URI support

    The support for inline images is something I waited some time for. Finally we can get rid of all the empty.gif or e.gif, images. IE8 allows developers to insert base64 encoded images directly in the A tag:

    <a href="data:image/png;base64,XXXXX..."/>
    Wonder how this will affect security?

    Printing

    Printing using browsers has been really lousy, hopefully IE8 changes this! I primarily work with Intranet scenarios, where this is a common scenario, so hopefully we can upgrade our clients soon to IE8 and deliver them great printing web applications.

    You can find even more improvements and new stuff on the developer page of the IE8 Readiness Toolkit site.

    And you can soon find the links on the download page working - and download IE8!

  • Internet Explorer 8 will render using web standard mode by default

    Tags: Microsoft, Internet Explorer, Internet and the Web

    Breaking news! Good news! Finally! Microsoft and the Internet Explorer team has finally decided to change their previous decision and decided that Internet Explorer 8 will render pages using web standards by default, instead of having some backwards-compatible mode.

    To catch up and read more head on over to these posts/links. I guess the blogosphere will be flooded with this today...

    This is by far the best news in ages from Microsoft (the new open Microsoft?), even better than the news to open up the Windows Server Protocols, since it will affect the end-users more immediate.

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About Wictor...

Wictor Wilén is a Director and SharePoint Architect working at Connecta AB. Wictor has achieved the Microsoft Certified Architect (MCA) - SharePoint 2010, Microsoft Certified Solutions Master (MCSM) - SharePoint  and Microsoft Certified Master (MCM) - SharePoint 2010 certifications. He has also been awarded Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) for four consecutive years.

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