Chrome Frame

If you’re fed up of building an additional stylesheet for Internet Explorer whenever you stray away from a boring design, then Google may have the answer. Chrome Frame is an open source plugin for Internet Explorer that brings the HTML5 functionality and JavaScript speed of Google Chrome to Internet Explorer.

We’re building Google Chrome Frame to help web developers deliver faster, richer applications like Google Wave. Recent JavaScript performance improvements and the emergence of HTML5 have enabled web applications to do things that could previously only be done by desktop software. One challenge developers face in using these new technologies is that they are not yet supported by Internet Explorer. Developers can’t afford to ignore IE — most people use some version of IE — so they end up spending lots of time implementing work-arounds or limiting the functionality of their apps.

By including a single tag on their website, developers can instruct Internet Explorer to use the Google Chrome plugin when visiting their site.

<meta http-equiv="X-UA-Compatible" content="chrome=1">

There are a couple of problems to the plugin solution Google are proposing:

Firstly, requiring a user to install a plugin to use your website is not ideal, the majority of users would be turned off by this idea. For developers using the canvas element, using ExCanvas is still the preferred option – however considering the canvas element doesn’t work in Internet Explorer anyway if you cannot get your site to work with ExCanvas then Chrome Frame is the next best thing.

Secondly, the majority of users that are stuck on Internet Explorer 6 are not there by choice:

  • They are either on Internet Explorer because of an antiquated IT office setup whereby it is enforced that they use Internet Explorer, and they do not have administrator permissions to install anything else – including a plugin.
  • Or they are using Internet Explorer 6 because they are still using Windows 95, 98, ME or 2000. None of these operating systems are supported by Chrome Frame so the problem still remains.

Perhaps Google’s time would be better spent creating a version of Google Chrome for users with older versions of Windows that cannot afford to upgrade?


Posted on:
September 22nd, 2009
Posted by:
Andi Smith


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