FireFox myths

There’s an interest web page called “Firefox Myths” that takes some of the more common claims associated with Firefox (it’s faster, it’s more secure, it’s a floor wax and a dessert topping) and examines each claim. While I’m sure that busting all of those myths is going to bug a lot of people who prefer Firefox, I think he’s dead on.

While I like the idea of Firefox, it’s implementation bugs me. It’s slower than IE and much slower than Opera. IE gets a startup boost by being part of the OS, Opera is just fast. I also prefer the Opera UI, it handles the MDI tabs much better than Firefox does. You can extend Firefox to get the same functionality with extensions, but I prefer that nice shiny out of the box experience.

I do have Firefox running on the iLamp. It’s arguably less annoying than Safari.

I fully admit to being an Opera bigot. It’s faster and more secure than the other two, and I prefer the UI. The latter reason is purely subjective, but the other two reasons are real. There are plenty of sites that don’t fully support Opera, it’s mainly a sin of ommission. Opera supports the web standards as the others and it lets you change the user agent string on the fly to get past some of the sites that don’t allow Opera.

And the people behind Opera have a good sense of humor. Three years ago, Microsoft’s MSN portal changed it’s code and deliberately excluded Opera users. When Opera Software found out about, they complained to MS and then released the “Bork” edition of Opera. It worked just like the regular edition, unless you were visiting the MSN site, there it would translate all of the text into the language of the famous Swedish Chef from the Muppet Show: Bork, Bork, Bork!

[Edited 2/28/06]
I have disabled comments on this post because S/N ratio was starting to drop. There were some good comments, but I didn’t want this post to turn into a “Bash FireFox” post. That was never my intent.

Is soap.tcp with WSE a singleton?

Ok, the title of this post is pure jargon, but it fits. This WSE 3 thing is still new to me and I’m still trying to grok some of the finer details. The ability to run a .NET web server over TCP without involving IIS has caught me eye. Thanks to Indy, I’ve been doing stand alone web services with Delphi for a couple of years, an equivalent functionality in .NET may make some things easier to migrate. Having a stand alone web service allows you to do interesting things with persistent data structures and you no longer have to worry about IIS flushing your service out of memory.

But is a .NET web service thread safe when it’s not running inside IIS? If 10 clients call the same method at the same time, are threads spawned to handle each request, are they just queued up, or does it just collapse like a house of cards? Googling for clues turned up very little (for once). I did come across a posting from Mark Fussell, the WSE Program Manager at Microsoft, where he states that it’s not thread safe but I may be reading that in the wrong context. On a side note, do the web service endpoints in SQL Server 2005 have the same limitation?

When I get some time, I’ll build a simple WSE 3 based web service and and blast it from multiple targets and see what happens. Between Ethereal and log4net, I should get some metrics out of it.

Viewing local XML files with IE without that idiot warning

To take a quick peek at an XML file, Internet Explorer is what I usually use. It knows how to properly format the display and allows you to close and open the nodes. It does have it’s quirks. When you open up an XML file, IE will probably display the following warning:

To help protect your security, Internet Explorer has restricted this file from showing active content that could access your computer. Click here for options…

This appears in the Information Bar when the active content is blocked from running in the Local Computer zone. This was added to XP with SP2 as part of Microsoft’s security initiative. While this is generally a good thing, I do find it annoying. I spent a lot of time viewing XML recently while working on a C# service to collect GPS data from several vendors. I was tracking down a discrepancy with a live feed and this warning became a distraction. After solving the actual problem with the GPS feed, I moved on to the next item and forgot about the warning message.

Tonight I attended a great WSE 3.0 session at TVUG. The presenter was Julie Lerman and she did a great job and I learned a few things. But that’s another blog entry to come. While demonstrating how the XML logging works, she would display the XML output files through IE. She kept getting the warning message in Information bar and asked if anyone knew how to get rid of it. After a little googling, I found out how to disable that message.

Select “Internet Options” from the IE “Tools” menu. Select the “Advanced” tab, and scroll down to Security and check the box “Allow active content to run in files on My Computer” and click the “Apply” button. And if Bob’s your uncle, you will no longer see that particular warning message. For the curious, MS has a detailed list of the Information Bar messages as KB article 843017.