A Brief Introduction To IBrowse²

Last Updated: 19th June 2003

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Current Release Of IBrowse²
The latest release of IBrowse², v2.3, is finally here after many, many months of development. This release of IBrowse² saw two new developers come on board to work along side the lead programmer, which has allowed huge advances in the JavaScript support, surpassing any of the other current AmigaOS® browsers. Of course it is not only the JavaScript that has been enhanced, many other aspects of IBrowse² have also been tweaked, improved, rewritten or are entirely new. But this release is not all about bells and whistles, under the hood IBrowse² has had a lot of work done to make it more robust, more compatible, and more importantly, even faster than before.
Current Release of IBrowse² is v2.3 released on 29th January 2003 and is available online from our new distributor, IOSPIRIT at http://www.iospirit.de.
Current Release of ICE is v13.22 released on 29th September 2002 and is available online from the author, Thomas Igracki at http://www.igracki.de

Feature List
The following feature list is a small extract of some of the main features of IBrowse² v2.x over the original IBrowse v1.x. Latest changes in this release are denoted by the New! symbol.
New Features:
  • New!   User & CA certificate management system
  • New!   AmiSSLv2© cipher management system
  • New!   Content-Disposition: header support
  • New!   MIME Type specification for form uploads
  • New!   Optional Microsoft® Windows® to AmigaOS® character mapping
  • Custom Action System for Fastlinks, Toolbar Buttons & Macros
  • Download Management system
  • Multiple browser tab system
  • URL Preference system
Rewritten Features:
  • New!   IBrowse² Textfield, now faster and with additional keyboard control
  • HTML Engine, supporting features from HTML 3.2, HTML 4.0/4.01 & XHTML 1.0
  • HTTP Engine, supporting HTTP 1.0 with partial support for HTTP 1.1
  • Cache system, now more robust
  • Table parser, now more tolerant
Improved Features:
  • New!   JavaScript™ support, based on JavaScript™ 1.5 and revision 3 of the ECMAScript (ECMA-262) specification
  • New!   Browser tab operations, now much faster
  • New!   Navigation operations, now much faster
  • New!   Layout operations, display and resizing now much faster
  • New!   GUI hotkey shortcut support
  • New!   Cookie handling, now more compatible with badly formed cookies
  • New!   FTP support, now more compatible with FTP servers
  • New!   Table refresh code, now much faster
  • New!   HTML entity table expanded, now covers more entity names
  • New!   Memory management and usage
  • New!   IBrowse² Cache Explorer© integration
  • New!   Mozilla spoofing, now more compatible
  • New!   File management during downloads
  • New!   ARexx support
  • New!   PostScript® printing
  • New!   International character printing support
  • New!   Image decoders
  • Disk access for faster I/O
  • Drag & drop support
  • Error message system
  • Mailto: support
  • Proxy support, including AutoProxy configuration
  • Rendering speeds
  • Secure Socket Layers (SSL) v2, v3 and Transport Layer Security (TLS) v1 support
  • Expanded Preference options
  • Highly optimized image dither routines
Additional Support For:
  • Contact Manager © Simone Tellini & Alfonso Ranieri
  • HTTP & FTP Resume
  • IBrowse² Cache Explorer (ICE) © Thomas Igracki
  • OpenURL via openurl.library © Troels Walsted Hansen & Alfonso Ranieri
  • PostScript® Level 1 printing
  • Progressive JPEGs
  • SSL via MiamiSSL © Holger Kruse, or AmiSSLv2 © Andrija Antonijevic & Stefan Burstroem
  • SSL CA & User Certificates

Key Features Overview
Browser Tabs Overview
First introduced by IBrowse² back in April 1999, Browser Tabs take away the clutter often associated with multiple window applications. By providing a row of tabs within the main IBrowse² window, access to any of the browsers is quick and easy, being a mere click away.

With the addition of a new preference option to open browsers instead of new windows, gone are the days of popup adverts filling your screen with windows, leaving you to depth arrange ten windows just to get back to the main one you were using.

Instead, you have a sleek GUI environment, designed with ease of use as the number one priority. Closing all those popup adverts is a simple matter of selecting Close via the new Browser Tab FAB Menu - you do not even need to activate the tab first!

By fully supporting Drag & Drop via MUI, the tabs can be rearranged, changed to windows, moved from window to window, even converted from a window to a tab. URL loading is of course also possible via Drag & Drop making it possible to effortlessly load new URLs from the Display Area, or Fastlinks.

Customisable User Interface Overview
The Graphical User Interface is a fundamental component of any application, but for a web browser it is vital. Streamlining your environment can make all the difference when spending long periods on the Internet doing research, or browsing for enjoyment.

IBrowse² features an extensively customisable GUI, where the layout can be altered via Drag & Drop. Any of the browser GUI "elements" (e.g. Navigation Toolbar, Transfer Animation, URL Toolbar etc.), can be moved around within the confines of the main GUI window, enabling you to create an environment that best suits your requirements.

In addition to customising the layout of the GUI, some of the individual elements can be further configured. The Navigation Toolbar can be expanded to allow additional buttons, which can then be assigned to internal ARexx commands, external ARexx scripts, or Amiga compatible applications. Fastlink buttons and Macro menus can configured in the same way, or simply used to provide quick access to commonly visited websites.

Much of the configurability of IBrowse² is thanks to the use of MUI, which means the look of IBrowse² can be further altered via the MUI settings themselves, giving you complete control of the entire customisable user interface.

Download Manager Overview
One of the core activities of using the Internet is downloading files, so it makes sense that IBrowse² should come with a comprehensive Download Manager. Presented in a simple window, the tabs give you quick access to Current, Queued, Failed and Completed downloads.

A wide range of options are available in the Preferences, allowing you to tailor the behaviour of the Download Manager as you so desire, such as window activation and closure, and how to handle erroneous downloads. The logging options provide the ability to generate a log of Complete and/or Failed downloads, which is preserved across sessions enabling you to build up a full download history.

Support for Drag & Drop is of course provided, allowing easy transferring of files to the Current or Queued download tabs. Individual file control is also possible, enabling you to abort Current or Queued downloads, or restart any downloads that may have failed or have been aborted.

JavaScript Overview
Since the last release of IBrowse², the use of JavaScript on the Internet has flourished. Support in web browsers has therefore become increasingly important, with many websites now relying heavily on its use.

JavaScript allows web pages to interactively react to your input, with images that change as you move the mouse over them, and validation of forms being two common uses.

The inability to use JavaScript can often produce incomplete web pages, make navigation impossible, or even render the whole website useless, which is why it was one of the biggest areas of improvement in IBrowse² v2.3.

At the time of writing, IBrowse² boasts the fastest and most complete JavaScript implementation for AmigaOS®, based on the latest ratified standard, ECMAScript revision 3, with support for most of Netscape's JavaScript 1.5 extensions.

SSL Cipher & Certificate Management Overview
When using the Internet for activities such as online shopping or banking, it is vital that the communication is performed in a secure manner. The original release of IBrowse v1.x came with its own implementation of Secure Socket Layers (SSL), which is the method used to perform the secure communication, but that was superseded in IBrowse² v2.0 by support for MiamiSSL and AmiSSLv2.

Unfortunately, AmiSSLv2 has remained released for years, which meant users of TCP/IP stacks other than Miami or MiamiDX, were unable to perform secure operations with IBrowse².

Fortunately, this has now been rectified, and AmiSSLv2 is available for the first time for use with the latest release of IBrowse². Although MiamiDX support is still available, it is recommended that users change to AmiSSLv2 as it is based on a more up to date² OpenSSL implementation, and is integrated into IBrowse² v2.3 directly.

IBrowse² provides extensive support for the many AmiSSLv2 options via the Preferences window, where it is possible to select which of the ciphers are enabled, by toggling individual encryption and authentication options. Certificate support has also been expanded, providing facilities for viewing, enabling/disabling, importing and exporting of both root (a.k.a. Certificate Authorities, or CA) and user certificates.

URL Preference System Overview
One of the unique features of IBrowse² is the ability to configure specific options to an individual or groups of websites. At first, this may seem a little strange, why would you want to? When you start to use the extensive preference options, the ability to restrict certain options to certain websites becomes all the more apparent.

Several aspects of the Internet are often treated with some concern, Cookies and JavaScript being two prime examples. Whilst on the whole they are fine, questions regarding privacy and security are often raised, so for that reason you may decide you would prefer to browse the Internet with one, or both options disabled.

This is generally fine, that is until you stumble across a website that requires explicit use of Cookies or JavaScript. On other browsers you would have to make a decision: do I globally enable or disable these options? One could mean losing the ability to correctly use other websites; the other could raise those potential privacy or security concerns again.

Using the URL Prefs in IBrowse² however, you can quickly and simply, enable the Cookie handling or JavaScript support just for this particular site, or even just the particular web page.

The URL Prefs work by matching the specified URL with the one being loaded, and dynamically adjusts the preferences accordingly, which gives you unparalleled degrees of configuration for your environment.

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¹ Current release at time of authoring these documents.
² OpenSSL v0.9.6g at time of authoring these documents.
Valid XHTML 1.0! ~ Upload This Local File To http://validator.w3.org To Validate Yourself

IBrowse² Documentation v2.3 © 2002, 2003 Dave Fisher ~ IBrowse² Development Team Revision 1.0