UpcomingHoliday.com Now with Geolocation

UpcomingHoliday.com has been updated and now includes geolocation support. If your browser supports it your country should automatically find and select your country. If not, it will fall back to IP based country lookup. Geolocation is a HTML 5 feature that is supported by Safari on the iPhone 3.0 OS, Firefox 3.5 and Google Chrome.

UpcomingHoliday.com is an application that tells you what and when your next federal holiday is. Currently it’s available for people in: Australia, Canada, France, Germany, India, Nigeria, United Kingdom and United States.

Fall 2009 Web Browser Outlook

The names are familiar: Firefox, Google Chrome and Safari. These relatively new browsers have been shaking the foundations of Internet Explorers complete victory over Netscape. These new browser are implementing fresh ideas and breaking out of the crusty browsers of the early 21st century. With the second browser wars in full swing, lets see where things stand and what’s coming.

Mozilla Firefox 3.6

The Firefox team is focusing on startup performance, JavaScript performance, lightweight themes, and a few new features for developers. Firefox 3.6 is expected to arrive Nov 2009.

After that, Firefox 3.7 will boast a revamped user interface, a WebGL implementation and ongoing speed and responsiveness improvements.

Safari 5?

Safari 4 was just released, and we have not heard any official statement from Apple what features Safari 5 will include, but looking at WebKit we can see what core browser technologies are being developed. WebKit has added geolocation support, HTML 5 draggable, and HTML 5 forms patterns and required attributes. What directly user visible changes will Apple make? We will have to wait and see.

Internet Explorer 9?

The next version of IE is still quite a ways out (3 years if you look at the release time-frame of IE 7 and 8 ) but it’s expected to boast many new HTML 5 features including native video and audio playback. Internet Explorer 9 should be quite a feature packed release with HTML 5 goodness, better performance, and improved standards support.

Opera 10.10

Opera 10 was just released this month but the team is working on Opera 10.10 with Unite. So far we’re waiting to hear more from the Opera team about what they are working on.

Google Chrome 4

With Google Chrome 3 being released, the Chrome team and external developers are hard at work making the browser cross platform with support for OS X and Linux. User end features include bookmark synchronization, extensions and surly will include more JavaScript performance enhancements.

Metatunnel by FRequency - WebGL Demo
Metatunnel by FRequency - WebGL Demo

Overall the competition looks quite healthy and browsers are being enhanced to be the Operating System of the future.

Upcoming Web Browser: Google Chrome 3

The beta version of Chrome has been available for a few months now with a faster Javascript engine, a better new tab look, and the Omnibox (an improved location bar).Google Chrome

What key enhancements has Google added for developers? Well Chrome adds support for new features in WebKit:

For users, Chrome add support for custom themes, similar to Firefox’s personas but is more complete by changing the look of the toolbar and the browser pages (new tab page, etc.). See the Google Chrome blog for more info.

Download Google Chrome beta.

Estimated Release Date: 2009?

Linux Distributions are a Closed Software Environment

Closed? How can that be? The whole premise of most Linux Distributions is to be a free and open environment for users and developers.

What I mean is that software packages available on the web or on distributable media often don’t work on Linux. Valid examples are software from game publishers and bleeding edge software.

For example, people who use the Fedora distribution (could be SUSE, Ubuntu…) install new software packages via its package manager called yum. All packages in the repository (there are thousands) have been compiled specifically for each version of Fedora Core.

How is this a problem? It seems like an ideal universe; software is packaged and ready to go for the user, they just have to click install and BAM, it’s done.

It is beautiful and is wonderful for keeping software up to date, to stay on top of security patches, and for general system health. The problem starts when a user wants to try some bleeding edge software that’s not yet in the repository, or other software that’s just not well known enough to be in the public software repository. Yes you can add private ones, but that doesn’t solve the problem.

Users should be in full control to go to any website, download an application binary, and have it working on their system in a matter of minutes.

  • You can do this on Windows, though it gets unwieldy.
  • Mac OS X works wonderfuly because you can just drag new software into the Applications directory. It doesn’t matter if I already have Firefox 3.0 installed and I’m trying out a release candidate of Firefox 3.5. I can install it with a drag and drop, test it, and delete it with a drag and drop while leaving my system in a 100% safe state.

This should be possible on Linux.

But you might say that is the case, users can download software for Linux and run it. True nothing is stopping them, but it’s discouraged and can create problems for the system package manager. Even if packages are available for Linux, the experience can be bad.

A few days ago I tried the developers preview of Google Chrome on Linux and OS X. On Linux I spend 20 minutes trying to link up the libraries until I realized my AMD64 machine didn’t have the necessary 32bit libraries it required. So I tried it on Mac and had it working instantly.

Lets make this experience on Linux to be as simple as it is on a Mac.