Google Fixes IE6 with Chrome Frame

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Google Chrome Frame
Chrome Frame is a new open-source product from Google that promises to answer web developer dreams. It’s a free plug-in for IE6, IE7 and IE8 that turns Internet Explorer into Google’s Chrome browser!IE6 should have been retired from public service many years ago, but we’re still adding silly CSS workarounds and testing for XmlHttpRequest objects to make pages work. Web developers may rant hysterically about the shortcomings of IE, but the browser is steadfastly ingrained into many corporate environments that depend on legacy web applications. Even home users eschew upgrades and alternative browsers to retain their simpler, tab-free web existence.Google shares our pain. They’re committed to HTML5 and products such as Google Wave are likely to fail abysmally in IE. Their solution is elegant — if not a little sneaky:
  1. An IE user installing Chrome Frame will download a small 500KB plug-in. The plug-in will download a further 10MB of Chrome code in the background.
  2. IE will appear to be untouched. The interface does not change and Microsoft’s Trident engine is still used by default.
  3. However, any page including the following meta tag will magically transform IE so it uses Chrome’s rendering engine:
    <meta http-equiv="X-UA-Compatible" content="chrome=1">
    Note that browsers with Chrome Frame installed will add “chromeframe” to the HTTP user-agent string. It’s therefore possible to detect the plug-in server-side, then insert the meta tag or redirect to a Chrome Frame download page.Google are also providing a JavaScript-based alternative that prompts users to install the plug-in.
Google software engineer Alex Russell explains further…
Private users and corporations can adopt Chrome Frame without scrapping or altering any of their legacy applications. Users won’t realize they’re using Chrome because the IE interface remains unchanged.But … will it work?
Chrome Frame is currently in beta so it’s a little early to tell. Adding a plug-in should be easier than upgrading or installing an alternative browser, but will users do it? Security-conscious companies are likely to be blocking IE plug-ins already.Chrome Frame is certainly a novel solution and will help browser migration. The industry will be watching for Microsoft’s reaction…Is Chrome Frame the answer to your web development prayers? Is Google benefiting end users or just themselves? Will the next IE update suspiciously block certain plug-ins?Links:Related reading:

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Google Chrome Frame

What is Google Chrome Frame?

Google Chrome Frame is a plug-in designed for Internet Explorer. It’s an open-source project that essentially embeds the Google Chrome browser within Internet Explorer. This allows users to experience the faster, more secure browsing capabilities of Chrome while still using Internet Explorer. It’s particularly useful for those who are required to use Internet Explorer for certain applications, but prefer the functionality of Chrome.

How does Google Chrome Frame improve Internet Explorer?

Google Chrome Frame enhances Internet Explorer by providing it with the capabilities of Google Chrome. This includes faster JavaScript performance, better compliance with web standards, and the ability to use HTML5 and CSS3 features. It essentially allows Internet Explorer to display web pages as if they were being viewed in Google Chrome.

Is Google Chrome Frame still supported?

No, Google Chrome Frame is no longer supported. Google discontinued support for the plug-in in 2014. However, there are still resources available online for those who wish to learn more about it or need help with existing installations.

How do I install Google Chrome Frame?

As Google Chrome Frame is no longer supported, it’s not recommended to install it. However, if you still wish to do so, you can find the installer on various software archive websites. Please note that using unsupported software can pose security risks.

Can I use Google Chrome Frame with any version of Internet Explorer?

Google Chrome Frame was designed to work with Internet Explorer versions 6, 7, 8, and 9. It may not function correctly with newer versions of Internet Explorer or with other web browsers.

What are the alternatives to Google Chrome Frame?

If you’re looking for a way to enhance your Internet Explorer experience, you might consider upgrading to a newer version of Internet Explorer or switching to a different browser altogether. Modern browsers like Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, and Microsoft Edge offer fast performance, high security, and support for the latest web standards.

Why was Google Chrome Frame discontinued?

Google Chrome Frame was discontinued because the need for it diminished. Modern versions of Internet Explorer improved in terms of speed, security, and web standards compliance, reducing the need for a plug-in like Google Chrome Frame. Additionally, the rise of other modern browsers provided users with more options for fast, secure browsing.

What happens if I continue to use Google Chrome Frame?

If you continue to use Google Chrome Frame, you may encounter security risks and compatibility issues. As the plug-in is no longer supported, it won’t receive any updates or patches, which could leave your system vulnerable to threats. It’s recommended to switch to a supported browser for a safer browsing experience.

How does Google Chrome Frame affect web development?

When it was active, Google Chrome Frame allowed web developers to use advanced features of HTML5 and CSS3 even if their users were browsing with Internet Explorer. However, since it’s no longer supported, developers should focus on creating websites that are compatible with the latest versions of all major browsers.

Can I still find resources for Google Chrome Frame?

Yes, even though Google Chrome Frame is no longer supported, there are still resources available online. You can find documentation, tutorials, and community discussions on various web development and software forums. However, for the most up-to-date information and best practices, it’s recommended to focus on resources for current, supported browsers.

Craig BucklerCraig Buckler
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Craig is a freelance UK web consultant who built his first page for IE2.0 in 1995. Since that time he's been advocating standards, accessibility, and best-practice HTML5 techniques. He's created enterprise specifications, websites and online applications for companies and organisations including the UK Parliament, the European Parliament, the Department of Energy & Climate Change, Microsoft, and more. He's written more than 1,000 articles for SitePoint and you can find him @craigbuckler.

browsersgoogle chromeGoogle Tutorials & Articlesmicrosoft
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