Microsoft is rolling out a service pack for xP that might force some of us to rethink our web designs. XP Service Pack 2
A quick read …
Downloadable Files: The file download ability can only be initiated by a user click. Pages that say “your download will begin in 10 seconds” and have an ad before launching the file will now fail.
Popup Windows: These may now only be initiated by a user action, not automatically, and only one popup will be created based on that user action… so a popup cannot spawn a popup, even if the original was spawned by a click.
MS Java Virtual Machine: This is no longer distributed. You should direct your users to java.sun.com.
Browser Windows Alterations: You can no longer do a fullscreen window, it will only launch a maximized window. You can no longer move the statusbar, titlebar or toolbar off of the visible screen.
Should not be a big problem for 99% of the designers here, but look at your code so you won’t be surprised.
Finally, some very minor improvements to the IE code that will actually make a huge difference. It’s time for a little commentary on these changes and what they mean to us website makers. First of all, let’s note that these are all common sense changes, which might be why MOS (Mozilla, Opera, and Safari) browser users already take them for granted. I would say good job to the IE team for making these much-needed tweaks, but truthfully, this didn’t take a long time or effort to implement. Tony Chor of IE project fame said himself that the vast majority of energy is going into the Longhorn IE, which we’ll be waiting on for a while (although there are still going to be minor updates to the current iteration). By the way, how much do you want to bet they could have done this for the IE on Win NT and even 98/Me systems? Funny that it’s only offered for XP users.*
"If you don't have XP yet,"* whispered a little voice. *"You should really buy it to take advantage of these cool new features."*
While this is a terrible practice on webdesigners’ parts in the first place, it’s not an unsafe one unless the user is silly enough to hit OK for any dialogue that pops up. Which is their fault.
If this is as "good" as they say it is (that is to say it defeats *all *attempts to download except for user clicks), then typing in the Address Bar the URI of a file with a .zip extension will not bring up a download dialogue and will confuse users even more. Since I can induce something similar to this with PHP on my website, it might be interesting to see what happens. Somebody try it out, so we can all know!
Ah, stealing back Mozilla users looks to be the plan here; the only problem is that they won’t go back. IE is of course the last browser manufacturer to put this feature in. Even AOL, which owns Netscape kept that element of the Mozilla code in their 7.x series, and they also had commerce to gain from popups. It looks like someone up high in Microsoft finally gave the okay, probably because everyone that uses IE now has the popup-blocking Google Toolbar anyway. Hey, curious isn’t it that Microsoft wants to steal back market share from Google with their revamped search engine. Could it be that they are making it less neccessary for users to get the Google Toolbar? Nah, couldn’t be…
The direct product of a few rather nasty lawsuits over Microsoft distributing their own substandard version of the Sun Java VM, which was in breach of contract; a lot of people won’t be pleased, but in any case Java is terribly slow for web applications anyway, which makes it bad practice in the first place. Shame on you for using it. Luckily, I don’t think this’ll be a big deal for anyone anyway.
While this is a terrible practice on webdesigners' parts in the first place, it's not an unsafe one unless the user is silly enough to hit OK for any dialogue that pops up. Which is their fault.
Okay, it may be “their fault”, – but will blaming users who probably don’t know quite as much about computers as you or me do anything to stop the problem of spyware, etc.? It’s been proven in various studies that a shockingly large percentage of users click okay just to get rid of the dialogue box, and without reading it. An okay web browser will blame users for their pathetic failings as frail and fallable human beings. But a good web browser will acknowledge human nature, and be built with the human factor in mind. At least this is one step towards that direction, however small and however much contradicted by having run in the opposite direction for so long on Microsoft’s part.
Well still no tabs and some nice upgrades. I liked full screen, but full screen was also a big problem w/ sites useing an altered full screen in bad ways if you know what I mean. However, I use Firebird now called Firefox, but the name Firebird is ownage. . . and will SP2 cause a preformance downgarde like SP1 did? … and yes it did… try SP1 and non SP1. You can tell difference.
Also, the hitting ok thing should be change so that “cancle” is the default selected thing, b/c altot of ppl hit ener and dont want to waste time reading install this now or change home page to this. Just my thoughts. But ima wait wait a while to see what SP2 does to preformance before I make that kind of upgrade.
I agree that the fact that it is “their fault” is no reason a web browser shouldn’t safeguard against these things. To a point. There’s a difference between people who aren’t computer savvy, and people who sign contracts without reading them; this is essentially what you’re doing when you hit OK to every dialogue box that stares you in the face. It’s certainly just as ignorant, and as such, blaming the web browser’s designers is more of a copout in certain cases.
I personally don’t believe it’s good UI to highlight Cancel either. If someone wants to download something and hits Enter, he/she will expect it to come. The aformentioned un-savvy people are going to run into problems if IE were to do that.
This has been a on-going problem for such a long time. I don’t even trust other computers(other than my home), to check my emails. Because I know for a fact that it is affected by spy-ware and by no chance do I want some stupid hacker in germany(Germany has a big crowd of hackers) or somehwere to be reading my e-mails.
Personally, I think Microsoft only makes a problem bigger. More than privacy, or safety, it’s all a game of money. Microsoft is made only for geniuses, because they’re the only one who can actually safeguard their computer using Microsoft. OK in short, I hate Micorsoft and all its upgrades, and all its problems, and all its money and all etc. You don’t have to hate Microsoft but it’s a fact that Microsoft isn’t great.
Downloadable Files: The file download ability can only be initiated by a user click. Pages that say “your download will begin in 10 seconds” and have an ad before launching the file will now fail. : Any good reason to do that? As Texan said, I don’t see any problem with that, unless its purpose is to somehow get people away from downloading files from **websites with ads?
**** - Popup Windows: These may now only be initiated by a user action, not automatically, and only one popup will be created based on that user action… so a popup cannot spawn a popup, even if the original was spawned by a click. :** I’d rather use my pop-up blocker… but anyways it’s good that they atlast did something to stop irritating its users with ads
** - MS Java Virtual Machine: This is no longer distributed. You should direct your users to java.sun.com. : **That’s good, I really don’t like MS JVM, but forced to use it.
** - Browser Windows Alterations: You can no longer do a fullscreen window, it will only launch a maximized window. You can no longer move the statusbar, titlebar or toolbar off of the visible screen.: **Again, whats the point of not having fullscreen? Not like it’s a big deal…
Status bar: good
I have been testing SP2 for quite some time, and I must say that it is a big improvement. First off, a very annoying bug involving the Wireless Zero Configuration service was finally fixed. Before that, I would need to take out my wireless card every 15 minutes or so, reinsert, and then reassociate with my network. Finally, that is done with.
The overall security improvements are laudable enough. A more secure OS is something we can all hope for, and its about time Microsoft made clients secure. They showed that they are fully capable of designing excellent, secure, and efficient software when they created IIS 6.0. I had used IIS 5.0, Apache 2.x, and Netscape Fasttrack server 2.0. IIS 6.0 was by far my favorite of the three. When MS is forced by competetion to create a good product, they are capable of doing so. With the Browser War v2.0 coming around (MSIE vs. Firefox), Microsoft needs to improve IE to stand a chance.
I will also note that the new Windows Update is far easier to use, leading me to think that most clients will be patched properly, which is always good also.
Well… I just upgraded to XP SP1 (how long has it been out? a year+) So i’ll think about upgrading to SP2 next summer! For the mean time, i’ll continue to run a bunch of security sutff on my laptop and use firefox!
I think the final is due out in the fall. I could be wrong though… I don’t keep up with this much any more due to… well… the lack of Windows (My gaming desktop has been turned into a hardcore fileserver… still running XP, mind you)