Not all browsers are equal and some are less equal than others

The title is a misquote of George Orwell’s quote from Animal Farm

All animals are equal – but some animals are more equal than others

We tend to think of browsers as a utility and don’t really care what version it is when viewing a web page

Unfortunately, the most common browser (and probably the one you are using right now) Internet Explorer 6 is also the least secure as well has a number of bugs whilst rendering web pages that it degrades the user experience. IE6 was launched in 2001 and due to its default install on Windows based computer pretty much dominant status till recently. Microsoft for various reasons had disbanded the IE development till recently and this led to the browser being very susceptible to security flaws which were actively exploited to install malware.

Over the last few years, there has been growing interest in alternatives for IE6 as individuals and corporations have realised that that its not worth putting all your eggs in one basket. This has led to innovation in terms of web standards and an improved user experience.

Microsoft has also responded to market pressure and customer demand and restarted IE development. They have launched Internet Explorer 7 which fixes a number of bugs in the IE6 engine as well as provides improved security. Security improvments come in the form of a built in phishing filter, opt-in ActiveX, an always available address bar so you know where the window is being launched form.

User experience improvements are provided in the form of tabbed window support, easy auto discovery of RSS feeds (we @ mumineen.org use RSS feeds extensively), integrated web search in the default toolbar , bug fixes to many rendering issues which make life for a web developer much simpler because they no longer have to spend time working around IE6 defeciencies but instead can focus on developing a better product

IE7 has been out for nearly 2 years and there have also been alternative browsers such as Firefox, Opera and Safari available which have similar features. Unfortunately our statistics show that nearly 40% of visits to our website come from IE6 so users haven’t upgraded either to IE7 or any alternative browsers

The advantage of Firefox and Opera is that they are cross platform so if you are using Mac OSX or Linux then you have that browser available to you.

We want to take this opportunity to encourage our userbase to switch away from IE6 to any of the better alternatives namely IE7, Firefox, Opera, Safari for a more secure and better browsing experience and as such we have coded a subtle message on our website specific to IE6 users encouraging them to take the plunge

If you have switched away from IE6, we applaud your judgement and hope that you will assist other mumineen in making that switch. Let’s use the mantra

Friends don’t let friends use IE6

Twitter

Mumineen.org has opened a Twitter account which can be seen here:

http://www.twitter.com/mumineen

What is Twitter, you may ask? Here is the answer from the Twitter FAQ:

Twitter is a service for friends, family, and co–workers to communicate and stay connected through the exchange of quick, frequent answers to one simple question: What are you doing?

Twiter works as a micro-blog, in which entries are limited to 140 characters. When you sign up for a twitter account, you can make entries (called tweets) via the web interface, via a chat message, or even by SMS. In addition to making your own tweets, you can follow other friends who have accounts, and they can follow you. The net effect is to create a kind of public conversation between friends, online.

The way that Mumineen.org is using Twitter is to auto-post the RSS feeds from our Akhbar of Huzurala TUS, our News of Bilad Imaniyah, World Bohra Headlines, Featured Photos, and this very techblog. Each of these sources of content from Mumineen.org are prefixed so it is easy to tell which is which (AKHBAR, BILAD, NEWS, PHOTOS, and TECH, respectively).

If you have a twitter account (and we highly recommend you sign up!) then you can simply follow us, and you will then automatically be notified whenever we have new content in our stream. You can even setup your twitter account so that tweets from Mumineen.org are sent via SMS to your cell phone, for free. Or, you can simply subscribe to our Mumineen.org Twitter RSS feed in your favorite feed reader.

We think Twitter is an amazing tool, and we intend to leverage it for max benefit of our community. So, if you are already a Twitter user, follow us, and if not, then sign up today!

Here’s a preview of our Twitter Feed:

Syndicate with Javascript

Mumineen.org offers the ability to syndicate its content to other websites or blogs with Javascript. All that’s required for you to do is to cut and paste some HTML onto your site. Your content will stay current, updating the same second we update ours.

To put headlines from our Huzurala TUS Akhbar, Bilaad Imaniyah Akhbar and Announcements sections on your site or blog, you simply need to add the code below to your web page where you would like the syndicated headlines to appear. There are two formats to choose from, one that provides an unordered HTML list (encapsulated within <ul> </ul> tags) of headlines only and another that generates an unordered HTML list of the headlines along with an abstract.

1. For Akhbar of Huzurala (TUS)

Headlines only

Headline and Abstract

2. For Akhbar al-Bilad

Headlines only

Headline and Abstract

3. For Announcements

Headlines only

Headline and Abstract

4. For Salaat Timings

Copy the following code on your Jamaat’s website replacing ‘yourcity’ with valid locations (example: mumbai, houston, london…)

The salaat syndication can easily be stylized using CSS.

Note: You should be aware of the following inherent Javascript weaknesses when you use Javascript syndication:

  • JavaScript depends on the user’s browser: if JavaScript is not enabled your content will not appear. People with disabilities will not have access to the content
  • Search engines will not index the syndicated content.
  • If your users are browsing with a device other than a computer such as PDA, mobile phone or Web-on-TV system – then their devices may not have javascript functionality.

Mumineen.org website transitions

The Mumineen.org team is in the process of making changes to the infrastructure that powers our site. The benefits are a centralized engine for processing akhbar and news, and increased use of RSS feeds to power the front page. We have also made enhancements to the salaat timing code and will be introducing a new combined miqat/calendar tool soon.

You may notice some temporarily broken links and reduced website functionality. We are working to bring missing features back online as soon as possible. Please email us at webmaster@mumineen.org if you have any difficulties, especially with salaat timings hosted on your own websites.

Moving Ahead

After our server meltdown, we’re taking a hard look at what direction our services should take in the future. We know what we like to see, but at the same time we know we’re not representative of those who visit our site. We’d really like to get some feedback from our readers. What parts of Mumineen.org do you like? What do you want to see more of? What are we doing right? What are we doing wrong? Comments are open.

UPDATE: In light of the comments we’re receiving, we would like to reiterate our policy that mumineen.org does not answer questions relating to fiqh (Islamic jurisprudence) or provide online sabaq. For questions of this nature, please contact your local raza na saheb.