Honey, I’m Chrome!

The internet has been full of stories since Google launched their own browser, Chrome, last week.

Some of the stories have been that Chrome marks the start of the desktop wars as applications and the OS move in to the cloud. Some have been about security weaknesses in Chrome. Some about Chrome as the burning eye of the panopticon. Some about Chrome as UI paradigm.

Well someone has got to keep the Internets burning. But so far no one has touched on the most important thing about Chrome.

It’s yet another browser to test against. 3 versions of IE, 2 of Firefox, Safari and now Chrome. And before you say “Webkit” I suggest you look at Chrome rendering vs Safari.

Citizens, we must stop this browser proliferation now before my team have to spend their entire lives testing browser/platform combinations. So, no to Chrome, no to IE8. Sigh, there’s many a true word spoken in jest. I blame the BLINK element myself, that’s where it all started going wrong.

Cello, Cello, now that was a browser…


8 thoughts on “Honey, I’m Chrome!

  1. It’s bugged, and it’s bugged a lot. It’s almost official – http://www.votetheday.com/polls/googles-chrome-173/
    I’m disappointed in Google – yeah, it’s beta, but remember, how Gmail beta looked like… Looks like guys had to deliver it till deadline (10th birthday, maybe), and they were obviously short of time…
    It’s better than IE, but FF will live excellently long until Google fixes everything and makes enough plug-inns and versions for Mac/Linux…

  2. It’s a topic I’ve mentioned at puffbox.com a couple of times, including when I mentioned Chrome’s release. I’d love to imagine a world where everyone adopted a single, open-sourced rendering engine, with the various browsers competing on the basis of functionality, UI, or security. But politically, I just can’t see it happening. The introduction of Chrome certainly makes it even less likely.

    I must admit, though, my experience with Chrome has been overwhelmingly positive; none of my own sites have suffered any compatibility issues, and I haven’t spotted too many with troubles in my (admittedly limited) testing of Chrome.

  3. COI are consulting on browser compatibility standards for government:

    In a nutshell (and it’s a big nut, so I’m oversimplifying) they’re working on a >2%, Windows/Mac/Linux, shipping versions only rule. They also distinguish ‘supported’ from ‘semi-supported’ browsers, which is a big deal. I reckon that making sites which are readable and navigable in IE6 or Konqueror or Lynx or whatever should be enough, and that we need to get our internal clients to accept that things don’t always look pixel perfect in every browser (but they should look their best in web standards browsers).

    COI’s approach also suggests that most government organisations can get away with a Windows-only test suite, given that you can run Firefox, IE and Safari (and Chrome, when more than 2% of your audience start using it). I’m not sure that’s quite safe (font rendering, embedded PDFs etc being a bit different on a Mac and possibly Linux too).

    But I think it’s a pretty sensible approach, all in all.

  4. I must admit, in my experience dealing with those – mostly civil servants – who are stuck with IE6 or worse, they’re quite resigned to the fact that things won’t be pixel perfect… or often, much worse. Their lack of fury is something I just can’t comprehend.

  5. @Steph – Thanks, that’s not quite my reading of the draft guidance which makes it plain that we need to test Windows/OSX/Linux so that’s IE7&8 at least, FF3, Safari, Konqueror, Lynx and now Chrome. That’s 11 for now!

    Plus I use Camino 🙂

    @SimonD – We suffer from the fuzzy text problem in Chrome, like the BBC site, and WebKit has problems with the way our CMS numbers elements but that’s something we need to fix anyway. We are looking at whether to deploy FF3 internally.

    @Vote – As a CIO, eternal betas give me the chills 🙂

  6. Oops and I forgot Opera which is embarrassing as that was what I wrote the posting in! So a round dozen.

    Oh and Mobile sufferin’ Safari as well! 🙂

  7. @Mark

    It’s a bit convoluted, but I don’t think COI are suggesting you need to test in Konqueror or Chrome (unless they’re >2% of your audience?), and IE8 is still in beta so too unpredictable to design for and thus out of scope. The worked example at the back makes it a bit more comprehensible…

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