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The Icon Bar: News and features: What is the February RISC OS Iris browser release like?
 

What is the February RISC OS Iris browser release like?

Posted by Mark Stephens on 08:32, 31/3/2020 |
 
One of the most exciting developments (for me personally) on RISC OS in the last 12 months has been the prospect of a modern browser on the platform. RISC OS Developments has been co-ordinating the development of not one but two separate browser projects - Iris and OWB. These are ports of existing Browsers to run on RISC OS. Of the two, Iris is based on the more modern Browser release.

As I tend to use cutting edge websites which use lots of JavaScript (i.e. BaseCamp, Jira, Trello), I have been following Iris very closely.
 
There was an initial release before Christmas and the latest release in February.
 
RISC OS Developments have been very concerned (paranoid) to manage expectations and not release too early. So if you expecting something which will blow away Chrome/Edge or Firefox running on 8 core MacBook Pro for the Pi, ARMX6 or even Titanium, you are going to be disappointed. If you want something which suddenly opens up modern websites on RISC OS at a reasonable speed on modern RISC OS machines you are going to be impressed...
 
The February release adds some performance enhancements, stability and a lot of usability. It is still a work in progress but it is very encouraging. It you are using the older version some things have changed or moved so read the installation instructions carefully.
 
The Iris Browser now has scaling and a resizable window with scroll bars. You can open multiple tabs and there is even an incognito mode. The Bookmarks works nicely and page text can be searched and copied. It is not yet ready for heavy-duty release (IMHO), but development is very encouraging.
 

 
In the screenshot, I have scaled the page to 75% and resized the window. What the screenshot does not show is that the images are all being correctly updated by JavaScript.
 
We will be running some tests on various sites - which would you like us to try? Are you using the latest release?
 
  What is the February RISC OS Iris browser release like?
  d.denk (12:05 31/3/2020)
  arawnsley (13:32 31/3/2020)
    nunfetishist (16:48 31/3/2020)
      markee174 (17:53 31/3/2020)
      arawnsley (19:27 31/3/2020)
        nunfetishist (21:18 31/3/2020)
          arawnsley (22:34 31/3/2020)
            Bucksboy (12:42 1/4/2020)
    markee174 (12:20 5/4/2020)
 
David Denkers Message #124776, posted by d.denk at 12:05, 31/3/2020
Member
Posts: 1
Excellent news. Especially as an owner of a Timachine. Where can we download the latest release or beta?
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
Andrew Rawnsley Message #124777, posted by arawnsley at 13:32, 31/3/2020, in reply to message #124776
R-Comp chap
Posts: 534
This version is (presently) only available to those who have made an investment in RISC OS Developments. We have provided early access to our investors so that they can see how things are progressing. If anyone reading this feels that they should have received the download info and *hasn't*, please contact me privately so that we can sort things out.

The next phase (2) will be to broaden the release to those who supported our OBrowser fund-raiser release.

Then, finally (3), a general release.

In the absence of a Wakefield show, I suspect that "phase 2" will happen in April/May depending on my time/availability. It may slip to summer if I don't have time to make myself available to handle feedback/support.

Phase 3 will likely be towards the end of the year, but depends largely on progress. We don't want to make a public release if it isn't (roughly) feature complete.

[Edited by arawnsley at 13:34, 31/3/2020]
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
Rob Kendrick Message #124778, posted by nunfetishist at 16:48, 31/3/2020, in reply to message #124777
nunfetishist
Today's phish is trout a la creme.

Posts: 505
Out of interest, which browser is it based on?
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
Mark Stephens Message #124779, posted by markee174 at 17:53, 31/3/2020, in reply to message #124778
Member
Posts: 72
It uses Webkit toolkit
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Andrew Rawnsley Message #124780, posted by arawnsley at 19:27, 31/3/2020, in reply to message #124778
R-Comp chap
Posts: 534
Webkit/gtk from sometime last year. It's getting an upgrade to latest build at the moment, which is requiring an update to the underlying gtk port as well.

That's the engine, anyway, the front end is RISC OS using the Toolbox. You have to be a little careful what you describe as a "browser", as there are many browsers out there, but most of them use one of about three engines.

[Edited by arawnsley at 19:29, 31/3/2020]
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
Rob Kendrick Message #124781, posted by nunfetishist at 21:18, 31/3/2020, in reply to message #124780
nunfetishist
Today's phish is trout a la creme.

Posts: 505
Webkit/gtk from sometime last year. It's getting an upgrade to latest build at the moment, which is requiring an update to the underlying gtk port as well.
Ah, those tabs implemented specially? They look a little fruity!
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
Andrew Rawnsley Message #124782, posted by arawnsley at 22:34, 31/3/2020, in reply to message #124781
R-Comp chap
Posts: 534
I believe they're part of Iris, although Lee may be using Rik Griffen's Tabs toolbox object - I don't know.

It has certainly been on my "things to mention when we're not looking at more complex things" to make the edgest of the tabs less angled so as to increase the amount of text space on them.

Do remember that this is cosmetically work-in-progress, and why we're still a long way from release. There's no skinning/themes or other features that you'd find in other browsers yet, because the focus has been on the engine and coping with projects so large that RISC OS needs new ways of handling things.

The net result is a browser which still has a way to go in terms of RISC OS integration, but is able to handle complex sites like banks (I've tested with Lloyds for example) and Google maps work correctly (if somewhat slowly). It is a long road, but then browsers always are.

Also, I don't envision Iris existing in isolation as "the only browser" - I suspect Netsurf will still be a welcome friend for fast, breezy browsing and reading of docs etc. Iris offers a heavy-weight alternative for when you need more.
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George Greenfield Message #124784, posted by Bucksboy at 12:42, 1/4/2020, in reply to message #124782
Member
Posts: 70
Sounds more like a potential Otter replacement. Is YouTube support likely (or at some future date)?
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
Mark Stephens Message #124793, posted by markee174 at 12:20, 5/4/2020, in reply to message #124777
Member
Posts: 72
I found a possible bug in Iris. If you start it in 64K screen mode (as opposed to 16million colours), the colours are wrong.
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The Icon Bar: News and features: What is the February RISC OS Iris browser release like?