Category: developers journal

Google Chrome Frame

Author: Daemon September 24, 2009

So Google made a plugin for Internet Explorer that forces any IE to behave like Chrome, and by doing that rids the world of the evil we call Internet Explorer 6. Just to let you know, saying that name aloud here at the Nivas Office causes spikes to protrude from the walls and impale you in the eyes. No, no, really.

But there is legacy problem with this Chrome Frame that will just prevent it from saving the developer’s ass. And the problem is not Internet Explorer 6 engine or whatever it is that makes it so outdated. It’s what is on the EXTERNAL of that IE6 that counts.

You see, the main reason for people staying on IE6 is that they work in a corporation where IT administrators locked the possibility of installing new software, or there is a global corporate policy that specifically says: “Browsers on computers will be IE6”. Second reason is that people are just not tech-aware and are just afraid to install new software or just do not know how (we, the power users, really take some knowledge for granted – YES it is really hard to install new software if you are someone who uses computer 30 minutes per month). Third reason people do not switch form IE6/7 is that the developers keep supporting those platforms. I talked about that in previous post.

Basically meaning that Chrome Frame can and will be installed only by those people who can, and know how to, install Chrome or Firefox in the first place!

What Google did here is approach the problem from the 100% Engineering perspective. They know that IE6 sucks, so they fixed that by making software. In an older, but still golden, supreme blog post by respected designer Douglas Bowman who worked at Google it is clearly written: “When a company is filled with engineers, it turns to engineering to solve problems. Reduce each decision to a simple logic problem. Remove all subjectivity and just look at the data.” And the world does not function like that.


    9 thoughts on “Google Chrome Frame”

  • Remember flash? Many couldn’t install it (especially in bigger companies where no one has admin/power user privileges), but eventually it became obvious that it’s a must, so flash is regularly deployed/installed on workstations.

    The same can (and hopefully will) happen with the chrome frame plugin.

  • It’s different. Flash player is a small component that enables some silly animations to move left and right on your screen. Flash player even comes pre-installed on some platforms.

    This plugin wraps itself around IE and chokes it to death. If I was working as an Admin at a big corporation that does not allow people to use other browser than IE6, there was NO way in hell I would allow my dummy users to install this. The risks are just too great.

    Furthermore, but this is something I need to find out – a lot of other software (CRMs, ERPs, and similar Microsoft based solutions) work only if you use IE. I am not sure what happens if you install Chrome Frame, will those softwares keep working?

  • I don’t think it’s any different.

    Admins in big corporate environments do not allow users to install stuff, they deploy/install stuff on their workstations for them remotely, and do so with just a few clicks across entire domains etc.

    Existing software relying on IE6 “features” (activex controls and whatnot) works as is, since websites/applications need to be modified in order to trigger running Chrome Frame (by adding a single meta element to the page).

    It’s win-win IMO.

  • I pray to baby Jesus and the spaghetti Monster that you are right and I am wrong.

  • Prayers don’t work, but some engineering helps occasionally :D

    Will it rid the world of the atrocity that is IE6?
    – No. The monster is here to stay for a few more years…

    Will it make the IE6 situation more manageable?
    – I think so.

    Because now when a client insists on IE6 compatibility, you can simply provide an option to the IE6 visitor to install Chrome Frame automagically. [ – although there are better ways, documentation is to be changed. Further reading:

    Those that still can’t install (permissions and whatnot), well, they still have an additional option that they can communicate to their IT department. The only option they had until now is to upgrade, which is out of the question, since, well, they’re still using IE6 in this scenario :)

    And the new option doesn’t really cripple anyone in any way. Win-win.

  • AFAIK Chrome Frame was originally developed in order to make google wave work faster for ie users (html5 etc).

    Anyways, I dare you to use Chrome frame and see the reactions of users. :) No really, there is no better way to test this than putting it on some live site. It’s dead simple (if network administrator haven’t disabled activex ie componentes for users). Just put this into web page. If user has ie678 this will prompt him to install chrome frame.
    <script type="text/javascript"
    src=""&#62; </script>

    <div id="placeholder"></div>

    node: "placeholder",
    destination: ";

  • Tried it on today, used this code:


    I do not want to bother *every* IE user into installing, just IE6 ones.

    Have to use the popup method, since inline iframe gets hidden behind the carousel and whatnot (other z-index issues) and I don’t want to tweak that shit now.

    Now, if anyone ever comes back whining about problems browsing the site with IE 6, I can ask if they tried installing that thing in the popup — and mentiont that if they do, everything will work just fine.

  • Code used (wordpress ate it in the previous comment):

    <!–[if IE 6]><script type=”text/javascript” src=””></script>

  • wow, respect for doing that bold move mate!

    frontends of all our sites work in ie6 (more or less). but amount of jquery we use in backend is just too heavy for ie6 (everything is too sluggish) so we will definitely put it in our vudu cms.

    I have to think really hard when it comes to graceful degradation and even harder when it comes to forceful progressive enhancement.

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