Crossing blades in cross-browser compatibility issues
It's been only a couple of weeks since Google's last attempt at publicly admonishing (let's not use the harsher word "humiliate") Microsoft's baby, Internet Explorer. Well, as they say, all is fair in love and web. :) Since there is no "mommy" to go to when peers start hitting each other, the problem is left in the hands of players. And Microsoft is certainly an old player at this game.
The Google Chrome Frame is a browser plug-in that confers access to Chrome's rendering engine to IE users. Which basically means that once this plug-in is installed in IE, all IE does is look like IE. It will not act like IE. It will render web pages in a Chrome-like fashion, meaning faster and better, or so tests have shown, at least for IE 7 and IE8.
Which only leads to better and more reliable web browsers that users and developers alike can benefit from. On the other hand, we've got the IE tab working in Firefox, a plug-in developed years ago by Hong Jen Yee, a Taiwanese medical student with a passion for software. As a result users with an IE dependency started to slowly shake it off, as the smart plug-in allowed them to browse web pages solely developed for IE, within Firefox. All in all, an unplanned success for Firefox (so why doesn't Microsoft look tenderly upon Google's Chrome Frame?).
The meta tag used to install the Chrome Frame in IE even allows developers to specify when a page should be displayed using the Chrome rendering engine instead of IE's Trident engine, an approach that will ensure the use of the Chrome engine on an actual need basis. Web applications that require sole compatibility with an IE version will not be hindered by the plug-in.
It remains to be seen whether users will adopt to a significant extent Google's plug-in or not, but as the Flash plug-in succeeded in practically moving the Web forward, maybe the Chrome Frame too will bring relevant changes in web optimization, at least in what concerns the future IE development policies.