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Why Browsers Matter More Than Ever. March 2010. Presenters. Abigail Bornstein Hardware Mobile technologies abornste@ccsf.edu. Maura Devlin-Clancy Web Development Web 2.0 mclancy@ccsf.edu. Computer Networking & Information Technology Department, City College of San Francisco.

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Abigail Bornstein HardwareMobile technologiesabornste@ccsf.edu

Maura Devlin-ClancyWeb DevelopmentWeb 2.0mclancy@ccsf.edu

Computer Networking & Information Technology Department, City College of San Francisco

companion website
Companion Website
  • http://sites.google.com/site/whybrowsersmatter/
a little history
A little history


a little history1
A little history
  • 1992-93: First GUI Web Browsers
  • Very first GUI? Mosaic Web Browser
    • Student Marc Andreessen, NCSA and Univ. of Illinois
    • Could display text and images on the same page, hyperlinks
  • 1994: Netscape
    • Mosaic Killer = Mozilla
  • 1997: Internet Explorer released with Windows '98
  • 1998: Netscape becomes open source; co. sold to AOL
  • 1998: Mozilla project begins
  • 2002: Apple develops WebKit
  • 2003: Apple introduces Safari 1.0
  • 2004: Firefox 1.0 released
what is a web browser
What is a web browser?
  • Software for viewing files on the part of the Internet known as the Web
  • Client software
    • runs on a device connected to a network, in this case, the Internet
  • Communicates with Web server
    • a computer that makes certain files available to web browsers
internet explorer
Internet Explorer
  • Current version: IE8 – released 2009
    • Version matter
    • On the menu bar, go to Help > About
  • IE8 14.3%, IE7 11.7%, IE6 10.2%
    • As of Jan. 2010
  • Microsoft pushes updates through Window Updates – user decides
  • All browsers use a rendering engine
    • Examples: Trident, Gecko, WebKit, Presto
    • Trident = Internet Explorer
internet explorer1
Internet Explorer
  • IE8:
  • Compatibility View
    • Web standards
  • Accelerators
  • Security Improvements
    • InPrivate browsing and blocking
  • Browser by Mozilla
  • Open source
  • Rendering engine: Gecko (Netscape  Firefox)
  • Current version: Firefox 3.6
  • Market share 46.3%
      • As of January 2010
  • Mozilla pushes out updates, user decides
  • Runs on Windows, Mac, Linux
  • Instant Web Site ID
    • More Information button…
  • Anti-Malware
    • Browser giveswarning messagebased on list of attack-sites
  • Anti-Phishing
    • Sends update of web forgery sites 48 times in a day, so if you try to visit a fraudulent site that’s pretending to be a site you trust (like your bank), browser stops you.
  • Browser by Google
  • Released September 2008
  • Version 4 released in January 2010
  • "Built to support web applications and to search with speed and stability”
  • Windows XP with Service Pack 2+, Vista, Win7
  • Beta version for Mac released Dec ’09
  • WebKit = Safari, Chrome, S60

Source:Chrome Comichttp://www.google.com/googlebooks/chrome/

  • Security
    • Incognito mode
    • Sites accessed via https:// are not indexed
    • Phishing and malware protection
2009 worldwide handset makers basic feature phones smartphones sold
Source: TomiAhonen Almanac 20102009 Worldwide Handset MakersBasic, Feature Phones & Smartphones Sold

TOTAL: 1.13 Billion

Shrunk 5% from 2008

WW Population: 6.7 B in 2008

according to gartner
According to Gartner….
  • Feature phones and smartphones will overtake PCs as the most common devices used for Web access sometime during the next three years
  • 50% of browsing is done on mobile devices


portable and

watered down

Netbook w/ Atom CPU

Smartbook & Tablet


Expanded and more powerful


netbook vs smartbook tablets
Netbook vs. Smartbook/Tablets

Linux/Android & ARM (RISC)

Microsoft & Intel (CISC)

webkit one rendering engine
WebKit: One rendering engine
  • GNU Lesser General Public License
  • Originally designed by Apple starting in 2002 and announced with the introduction of Safari at MacWorld in 2003
    • Further developed by individuals from Nokia, Google, Bitstream, and others
  • Easier development because fewer lines of code, uses less memory, and standards compliant
webkit gains traction outside of apple
WebKit Gains TractionOutside of Apple
  • Web Browser for S60
    • Nokia, Samsung, LG, and other Symbian S60 phones
  • Google’s Chrome browser
  • Palm’s WebOS browser for the Pre
  • Android mobile phones
  • RIM’s BlackBerry – acquires Torch Mobile (8/09) to redo the BlackBerry browser using WebKit
smartphones not using webkit
SmartPhones not using WebKit
  • WebKit:5 of the 6 big Smartphone platforms
    • Apple, Android, Nokia, Palm, RIM
  • Who isn’t using WebKit?
    • Microsoft, which accounts for 6% of the smartphones shipped in 2009
mobile browsers
Mobile Browsers
  • Apple’s Safari
    • strong reviews
    • lacks Flash support but Apple may be looking to HTML 5
  • Google’s Android browser
    • does a nice job
    • could try Dolphin
mobile browsers1
Mobile Browsers
  • BlackBerry’s browser
    • characterized as slow and unappealing
    • could try Opera Mini or BOLT for speed

Image source: Appboy blog

mobile browsers2
Mobile Browsers
  • Window’s Internet Explorer and Symbian’s S60 browser – considered clunky
    • could try Opera Mobile
    • could try Opera Mini or Skyfire



  • Dominates the alternative browser space
  • Presto engine located on the server
  • Phones have less of a CPU burden
  • Great for feature phones

Streaming video

why this matters
Why this matters
  • Modern websites do more than display HTML pages with images and hyperlinks
  • More and more important transactions happen in the browser
changes in computer habits
Changes in Computer Habits
  • Web 1.0  Web 2.0
    • From a private, individual experience to a social, community experience
    • User-generated content: "We" are the Web:you, me, our students, the world
  • Desktop  Mobile Device
    • From tethered to the desk to portable and always on
  • Desktop Applications  Internet as platform
    • where do applications run on a computer?
    • where do web applications run?
    • From customizing your operating system to customizing your browser
    • Cloud Computing
benefits of web based apps
Benefits of web-based apps
  • Portability
  • Mobility
  • Collaboration
  • Updates and bug fixes
  • Search
  • Central administration
concerns @ web based apps
Concerns @ web-based apps
  • Reliable access
  • Security
  • Privacy
  • Ownership and Intellectual Property
google tos
Google TOS

"By submitting, posting or displaying Content on or through Google services which are intended to be available to the members of the public, you grant Google a worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty-free license to reproduce, adapt, modify, publish and distribute such Content on Google services for the purpose of displaying, distributing and promoting Google services. Google reserves the right to syndicate Content submitted, posted or displayed by you on or through Google services and use that Content in connection with any service offered by Google..."

  • Security
  • Privacy
  • Intellectual Property

Productivity Apps

  • Google Docs
  • Zoho.com
  • Ether Pad: http://etherpad.com/
  • Office 2010 Live

Desktop OS vs. Web OS

  • OS runs in the browser instead of on the client
  • Browsers themselves become more OS-like

PC environment existing totally in the browser

  • Desktop, file storage, and applications
  • http://g.ho.st
  • Scripting language that runs in the browser
  • Doesn't have to be compiled
  • Doesn't need plug-ins
  • Doesn't require special software to write
  • JavaScript course assignment example
  • "JavaScript engine”
    • important difference among browsers
  • JavaScript vs. Flash
  • Monster


  • Browser Talk


  • Balls


Source: Chrome Experiments: http://www.chromeexperiments.com/

just remember
Just Remember…
  • A good browser can make up fora poor network but a poor browsing experience will always be lousy even on a good network
companion website1
Companion Website
  • http://sites.google.com/site/whybrowsersmatter/
  • Links to references shown during presentation, alternate browsers, and related resources.