Jack Yan
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The Persuader

My personal blog, started in 2006.



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08.12.2010

Chrome’s dramas continue as it hits version 8

It looks like Chrome has updated by itself, and as with all improvements to software, more bugs have been introduced.
   You can blame our programming skills, but here is how the home page of Lucire now looks (and it had looked like this on Chromium a couple of months ago, too):

Lucire home page on Chrome

Below is how it looks today on Firefox, but it looked roughly like this on old Chrome, as it does on Opera, IE8, and Maxthon, using HTML techniques that we had used since there was HTML:

Lucire home page on Firefox

   Here’s another regular Chrome bug, where it just misses text altogether (though the text usually returns on a reload):

Lucire home page on Chrome

The same bit on Firefox:

Lucire home page on Firefox

This is one annoying browser if it can’t even display basic HTML text.
   As expected, none of my reported bugs (incomplete font menus, inability for Chrome to switch character sets when encountering different languages on a page) have been fixed—but, then, that’s the Google way.
   Meanwhile, Firefox 3·6·12 has returned to its extremely crashworthy ways (four times per day), despite the tech help from two friends. One friend, Andrew, suggests I should call these Flash crashes, rather than Firefox crashes, because it could be Flash at fault. Certainly there are enough times when the plug-in container crashes just prior to the whole browser failing. On the Mozilla forums, there is another user who has a clean install of Firefox with no plug-ins, and he reports constant crashing, too.
   Browsing through the about:crashes in my Firefox reveals an error headed by:

nsGlobalWindow::cycleCollection::UnmarkPurple(nsISupports*)

in the majority of the last 10 cases. Here’s Mozilla’s page on that error which, if I read correctly, they haven’t a clue how to fix.
   I wish I could roll back to the stable 3·6­·10, and, as mentioned, 3·0 was one of the most stable releases Mozilla had till it got into the double-digit sub-subversions (it must have been around 3·0·12).
   Programs crashed as often 15–20 years ago, but usually that was due to memory or disk space issues. Code just seemed tighter, programmers were able to do more amazing things given the constraints, and the software more efficient. Now they crash on the oddest things and, it seems, every browser is anachronistic in some way. All I ask is for a browser that: (a) does not crash when you blink your eyes; (b) displays the complete font menu; (c) does not change font because you have used quotation marks or a ligature or other characters within the set font’s character set; (d) kerns and allows font-face; (e) changes font when it realizes that the selected one lacks glyphs for a foreign character set; (f) interprets HTML properly.
   Right now, here’s how they stack up:

  a b c d e f
Firefox 3·6·12   * * * * *
Chrome 8       *    
Opera 10·63 * *     * *
Internet Explorer 8     *   * *
Maxthon 2 *   *   * *

   Chrome is by far and away the quickest on the block, but when it messes up on everything else, it’s just not going to cut the mustard. It might crash less often than Firefox but it still crashes, and it does other things poorly. Someone wake me when Chrome comes out of alpha, because that’s where it belongs; or when Mozilla acknowledges the feedback that 375 people (and counting) are having with Firefox constantly dying on us.
   If Opera can sort out its font issues, then it has a real chance of being the best browser out of the lot.

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Filed under: design, internet, technology, USA—Jack Yan @ 11.44

7 Responses to ‘Chrome’s dramas continue as it hits version 8’

  1. jaklumen says:

    I’m running FF 3.6.12 now, but only because I opted for Mozilla builds before they are packaged for Ubuntu/Mint. It’s not crashing on me much at all– maybe the Windows experience is different than the Linux one.

    I heard about Chrome 8– no idea where the Linux beta is in comparison. We’re still on a release candidate. Of course most of my tech feeds still drool over Chrome like it’s the cure for cancer or something.

    Firefox still provides me with the experience I want. I messed with Opera a bit but it’s not integrated very well with GNOME (and I’ll continue using that desktop no matter how people tell me KDE and Unity are all that matter now).

  2. Jack Yan says:

    I’ve heard from a few more Linux users and Firefox is fine for them, so it will be something specific to Windows. The pain in the neck part is that Mozilla doesn’t seem to be listening to us, despite some very vocal users (who are a lot more direct than me) on the forum.
       Chrome is definitely not what it is cracked up to be. Even if you take away its own crashing tendencies (Shockwave Flash will fail on it, as it does with Firefox), it is still far from being a complete browser. I love the speed but the rest of the browser annoys me to heck.
       You should stick with Gnome: the fact is the industry needs to provide things that work, and adhere to a certain set of standards. For a long, long time, it doesn’t appear that it has.

  3. Andrew says:

    You have no doctype specified and using align=”left” to float the table left is now depreciated in HTML so Chrome, which does a good job of HTML5, ignores it. Either add a doctype for an older version of HTML or use a stylesheet to float the table left. Your problem is only going to grow as more browsers support and apply HTML5 as the default.

  4. Jack Yan says:

    Thanks, Andrew. I’ve now added an older doctype but it hasn’t helped. As to stylesheets, they seem awfully complicated—I’m still of the belief that if a few bytes can do something, why should we use three times as many? Though I may have to, just for the one element.

  5. Jack Yan says:

    Andrew, I’m taking back what I wrote above. Incorporating the CSS elements did prove to be more economical file-size-wise: thank you.

  6. Andrew says:

    Happy to help find a solution to that issue but your HTML has many other problems. You should run it through a validator and quash as many of them as possible e.g. when supplying color/bgcolour it should be “#ffffff” not “ffffff”. There’s also a possible solution to your problem with fonts in Opera. (Email me for more detail)

  7. Jack Yan says:

    Andrew, I have emailed you now. The color codes are a legacy thing—many years ago, the site was optimized for Internet Explorer. You’ve probably noticed that many of the pages have the hash back in there now.

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