cookie time for browsers

The browser wars continue. I was involved in quite a few activities lately that had me comparing browsers. Mostly FF and Opera. IE simply did not figure in the race.

The first time I decided on comparing browsers was when I moved my images to an image host. Naturally, I had to resize them. Can’t have images breaking the CSS, can we? The trouble came up when I used the width attribute in the img tag. FF would crawl whenever the image was in the view-port. A search revealed that FF 1.5 has an issue with memory handling when dealing with image files. It simply refuses to return the memory to the heap! This I could verify. Opening image files in multiple tabs would bring FF down. Per se, FF 1.5 seemed to have bad memory management; again, verified. The 1.5 version is the only one I’ve had to kill from the task manager. Thite mentioned that this was a “feature, not a bug” thing meant to speed up using the Back and Forward tabs. The feature he alluded to, does indeed exist. But it is independent of the problem I’ve mentioned which has been documented and verified.

So, I turned to Opera. No problems here. Resized image or not, it handled images like it was a goddamned image editor. I could even grab images with the pointer and shuffle them around! Though of course, I had to drop them, since I had nowhere to drag the images to. So that feature wasn’t explored much.

The problem wasn’t being fixed, though. So I took a guess and put in images that were already resized. No problem. A few quick checks later, I was able to verify that FF has a problem with images if it has to resize them dynamically – through the img tag or maybe because you are asking it to “fit image to window”. It could handle static images of any size easily, the earlier problem (which I dug up) not withstanding.

Cookie for image handling goes to Opera.

Next up are the feeds. Opera detects and handles both RSS and Atom. FF simply displays the RSS XML file and downloads the Atom XML file. Nothing that a plugin can’t fix. However, I had an error in my page that was reflected in the RSS feed. Opera simply displayed the entries upto the one having the error and stayed quiet. FF showed me a yellow page with the error message in bold and a nice arrow pointing to the location of the suspect syntax in my RSS feed.

As an end user, I’d have preferred Opera’s response. As a site developer, it was FF which helped me detect and correct my error and set up a correct feed.

Half a cookie to Opera and FF both for feeds.

Opera has a tendency to poach others’ resources. How? Do an opera:about. If you have FF installed, you will see FF’s plugin path included in Opera’s plugin path. Very clever. I also tend to believe Opera takes stuff from other browsers’ cache. In the college lab, I had loaded a page (I’ll come to it later) in IE. Opera displayed the page in the same style. In case you are wondering, the styles had been set for IE/non-IE browsers; so Opera should not have dispalyed the page in the same way; but well, it did. Back home, where I use FF, it showed the page in the non-IE style. So, form your own conclusions.

Half a cookie to Opera for being smart. Half a cookie to FF for its open source roots that enabled Opera to poach on its plugins.

No more cookies – IE bashing ahead.

When I edited this template, I simply didn’t think any of my readers (pitifully less they may be) would be using IE. So I skipped modifying the IE style (yes, the page mentioned above is this blog’s index file). To my horror, a friend using IE told me today the page wasn’t looking good. To make matters worse, it appeared different on the college machine’s IE from what had appeared on his own IE. This was also where the suspected cache poaching by Opera took place.

Back home, I tried all sorts of tricks. None worked. Finally, I disposed of the IE stylesheet and set the template to give the same style to all browsers. The page worked when served from localhost. No rollover effects though. When served from the remote host, it loaded the page, but popped this error.

Line: 2
Char: 1
Error: Syntax error
Code: 0

I have no idea where to start looking. When I asked a friend to check up on the page, he reported no errors but said the sidebar was displaced to the bottom! So apparently, even the rendering was inconsistent.

My advice – get FF. If you are anti-FF for some reason, get Opera.