Firefox beats IE on my blog

Google Analytics pie chart of browsers used

What joyous news!

I was just checking my Google Analytics results for this blog and discovered that there are more people using Mozilla Firefox than Microsoft Internet Explorer to view my blog.

For those who can’t quite read the results on the graph above, here is the list of top 10 browsers used to visit my blog during the last month:

Visitors’ browsers (15 May – 16 June 2007)
# Browser Visitors %
1 Firefox 2,930 51.22%
2 Internet Explorer 2,401 41.98%
3 Safari 289 5.05%
4 Opera 53 0.93%
5 Mozilla 23 0.4%
6 Netscape 8 0.14%
7 Konqueror 6 0.1%
8 Camino 4 0.07%
9 Mozilla Compatible 3 0.05%
10 Agent 000,gzip 2 0.03%

Google Analytics is a wonderful — and free — tool. If you run a website I urge you to check it out; all you need is a Google account. It shows you how people find your site, how they navigate through it and where they leap out when they do. All very useful stuff when trying to improve your website.

Anyway, thanks to the majority (51.22%) for using Firefox when viewing this site. And to the other 48.78% (apart from Mike using Konqueror and those Mac users with Safari or Camino) I urge you to give Firefox a go.

Fixing Java in Firefox and IE7

Close-up of coffee beans

Yesterday we were visited at work by someone from Nedstat, a company that specializes in Web statistics. But that’s not what this post is about, it’s about this: why my browsers were falling down whenever I ran Java applications; a problem I’ve had for over five months now.

Because whenever the Nedstat rep. tried to run a Java-related online application in Firefox it wouldn’t work as expected.

Him: Hmmm… it’s not supposed to do that.
Me: Is it Java, by any chance?
Him: Yes, why?
Me: I’m having trouble with Java and my browsers just now.

It’s a guaranteed way to scupper software reps’ demonstrations though, if that’s your thing: make sure your browsers don’t work properly. (Not to be recommended.)

At the university we have a staff expenses online form which runs within a browsers and uses Java and an Oracle JInitiator plugin to run. (Don’t worry if you don’t know what these mean, it just means that you need X to run Y.)

Only, whenever I tried to run the application in either Firefox or Internet Explorer 7 the browsers would crash. With Firefox I was getting the following error message:

Firefox.exe Application Error
The instruction at “0x600d1f60” referenced memory at “0x00000054”. The memory could not be “read”.

Click on OK to terminate the program.
Click on Cancel to debug the program.

Which means … something doesn’t work properly. Probably.

It worked fine in Opera though, which made me wonder if this was more to do with the browser configurations rather than a strictly Java-related problem. So last night I stayed on after 5pm to sort it out.

Having uninstalled all the Java Runtime Environment-related applications, rebooted and installed the latest JRE I turned my attention to the browsers and disabled all my Firefox add-ins (formerly known as extensions).

And do you know what? That fixed it. There was obviously an add-in that was interfering with the functionality of Java. But which one?

  • Re-enable the next add-in on the list
  • Restart Firefox
  • Test with online expense form
  • Repeat

It turned out that two Firefox add-ins were to blame: IE Tab and JSView.

Similarly, with IE7 I’d been playing around with Add-ons shortly after I’d upgraded to it from IE6. Obviously something was impeding the functionality of Java within the browser so I clicked the Reset button (found in Tools > Internet Options > Advanced tab) which returned everything to a default, untampered state.

Click…

Test…

… and relax.

What is IE doing to my blog?!

Screenshot of the header of this blog viewed in Internet Explorer - showing that something is wrong.

Last night I noticed that Internet Explorer (IE6/Win) is doing something weird to the header of my blog. The white and cream background image is also appearing above the header, which while not disasterous is rather annoying.

I very rarely ever use Internet Explorer these days, only for sites that won’t accept any other browser, such as a particular sections of the Microsoft website. My browsers of choice for the last 18 – 24 months have been Mozilla Firefox and Opera.

It will be interesting to see what Internet Explorer 7 finally turns out like. I’ve downloaded and installed the Beta 2 Preview, and to be honest haven’t been overly impressed with the design or feel of it. Or the way that it renders documents, but as I understand it there is still some way to go before the code is finally completed. The IE Blog is an interesting read, watching the progress.

Anyway, we currently have to live with Internet Explorer’s weirdness, so I’d better put my CSS debugging hat on and find out why IE is doing weird things to my blog.

Autofill extension hack-fix

Screenshot of the Autofill options
Screenshot of the Autofill Firefox extension options.

One of my favourite Firefox extensions is Autofill 0.2, a plugin that highlights form fields and allows you to fill them in automatically at the press of a toolbar button. But AutoFill 0.2 only supports Firefox up to version 1.0.x. An alternative is the Google Toolbar for Firefox, but the AutoFill function there isn’t quite so comprehensive.

Some kind gentleman (L.A.R. Grizzly) has fixed the Autofill 0.2 Firefox extension for me, after I’d posted that for some reason I couldn’t get the update-hack method to work for me. This version now works in Firefox 1.5 but still requires a bit of manual hacking to get it to work. This involves editing the prefs.js file in \Application Data\Mozilla\Profiles.

You’ve got to love the internet for this worldwide community support of one another. I also noticed that the website that L.A.R. Grizzly posted the fix onto is for a Church of God congregation in Ohio, USA.