Posts Tagged ‘internet explorer’

An Accounting Website Designer Examines Internet Explorer 9

Microsoft recently released its next generation version of Internet Explorer, Internet Explorer 9. It’s been years since Microsoft has put out a real version upgrade of it’s browser. One would actually assume that in quite a while they would have accomplished a whole lot more. This “improvement” is overdue and comes up short. With the dawn of CSS3 and HTML5 something certainly needed to be done. In this article, we’ll take a look at IE9 and try to understand how it will change the way accounting websites are designed.

Faster Graphics The biggest improvement to IE9 is also the most useless to me as an accounting website designer. Still, in the interest of fairness and balance let’s take a look at hardware acceleration. This feature is actually well executed… if you have a machine that will run it. This means that while Hardware Acceleration is a significant technical achievement one, it’s also pretty useless unless you play browser games like “Farmville” or “Battlestar Galactica”. If you do play these types of games you’re probably familiar with the dreaded phenomena of “lag”. IE9’s hardware acceleration will pretty much eliminate this nuisance.

What’s in an OS? This really ticks me off. We could use IE9 to it’s full (if limited) potential and you may very well not be able to see the changes. IE9 doesn’t support the XP operating system. As of February of 2011, Windows XP was still the most widely used OS on the market with a market share of ~41%. Next in line was Windows 7 at ~26% and then Windows Vista at roughly 14% market share. It makes no sense that IE9 won’t work with XP. There are more XP users than Vista and Win 7 combined!

There’s no technical reason XP couldn’t run it. Microsoft is trying to force computer owners to upgrade using a tried and true manufacturing technique called “Built in Obsolescence”. Microsoft wants to phase out Windows XP, but we both know that a lot of your clients and prospects won’t be bullied into buying a new OS or computer just so they can use a new browser. Besides, Google Chrome 10 and Firefox 4 are available for Windows XP users and they both have hardware acceleration built into them.

Inadequate CSS3 Support My biggest disappointment is IE9’s treatment of CSS3. CSS is a “style sheet language” that allows document standards like fonts, colors etc to be defined with defaults and standards specific to that document. Unlike Hardware Acceleration CSS3 offers a lot of new opportunities in improving the look and feel of your accounting websites. CSS3 supports a whole host of new style elements that IE9 does not. I got pretty excited when I heard that IE9 was bragging about HTML5 and CSS3 support. I honestly believed that Microsoft was going to stop treating it’s browser users like a bunch of inept technophobes. Nope.

I’m sure new functionalities will trickle in as the browser is patched. Truth is I haven’t been paying that much attention and by now I should hope some of them already have. We’re just using the new standards (which other browsers DO support) and hoping that IE catches up at some point. However, I see no excuse to why Microsoft couldn’t integrate the properties of border image, text shadow, and gradients into IE9. These three properties alone would virtually eliminate the need to produce images for certain styles of text that a designer might want to use in a web design.

Internet Explorer Protected Mode And Vista Support

Every online business is now competing to capture the most strategic real estate of the Internetusers’ browsers. Placing your branded toolbar in user’s browsers has become a vital part of your Web site strategy.

Other functional benefits of toolbar customization are as follows:

For easy navigation of websites.
For easy navigation of search keywords.
For keeping the bookmarks of the websites.
For creation of toolbar buttons by dragging and dropping the URLs
For Blocking the Popup
For giving notifications to users for IE Events
For capturing the contents of webpage
For getting the content of RSS Feedsetc.

So bringing you to the latest news on the block is the Internet Explorer’s Protected Mode.
Its certainly a new feature in the Microsoft Vista Operating System, also considered as one of the pieces of the User Account Control (UAC). The Protected mode is basically designed to protect the computer by restricting the parts of the system, which can effect the code running in IE. So if a malicious web page exploits a code-injection bug in IE or an IE plug-in, that code will not be able to damage the system.

Vista also introduces you to a new attribute on securable objects called the Mandatory integrity level. This comprises of four levels:

The System level, used by OS components, and should not be used by other applications. High which is the level of processes that are running, elevated with full admin rights. Medium the processes launched in the normal fashion, and the Low used by IE and Windows Mail to provide protected mode.

To further this discussion, Windows stored information about a process also includes which integrity level it was launched with. This level can never change once the process is started, it can only be set at the time the process is created. To make this simple, a process’s integrity level has three main effects such as:

Any securable objects that the process creates get that same integrity level.
The process cannot access a resource whose integrity level is higher than the process’s own level.
The process cannot send window messages to a process that has a higher integrity level.

So if you want to determine, if your extension is running in a protected mode IE process? …. You can use IEIs Protected Mode Process which will return the BOOL Parameter whether protected or not. As good as it gets.

Now, the most obvious question would be .How does VISTA support help in developing a toolbar here?

Most of the plug-ins need Registry and/or File system access for reading and/or writing operations, these operations can be done without problem when Internet Explorer Protected mode is Disable.
The challenge here lies is when the protected mode is enabled. An extension can only write to a few directories under the user’s profile. There are special low-integrity directories under the TEMP, Temporary Internet Files, Cookies, and Favorites directories that are writable. Internet explorer also has some compatibility shims, which virtualizes other commonly-used directories. The Write operations to those directories are redirected to a subdirectory of Temporary Internet Files. If an extension tries to write to a sensitive location, like the Windows directory, that operation will fail.

The Developers however need to use VISTA SDK for getting the File system Writable Location, for downloading any files OR for doing any File system operations.

To start with, VISTA SDK can be downloaded at

http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?familyid=ff6467e6-5bba-4bf5-b562-9199be864d29&displaylang=en

If your wondering, How to Enable / Disable Internet explorer Protected Mode? You can simply open the Control panel from your Windows Login User account settings; you will see the optional mode to turn the User Account Control on or off. From this screen you can easily disable the Internet Explorer Protected mode, making sure that the Use User Account Control (UAC) to help Protect your computer option is unchecked. You need to remember to restart you PC once this setting is changed to proceed. Simple, isnt it?