Avant Browser

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IEopera
Developer(s) Avant Force
Initial release January 30, 2004 (2004-01-30)[1]
Operating system Windows 2000
Windows XP
Windows Vista
Windows 7
Size Lite: 4.24 MB
Ultimate: 62.9 MB[2]
Type Web browser
Feed reader
License Freeware
Website www.avantbrowser.com

Avant Browser is a freeware web browser from a Chinese programmer named Anderson Che, which unites the Trident layout engine built into Windows (see Internet Explorer shell) with an interface intended to be more feature-rich, flexible and ergonomic than Microsoft's Internet Explorer (IE). It runs on Windows 2000 and above, including Windows 8 and Windows 8.1. Internet Explorer versions 6 through 9 are supported.

Version 2012 (released October 2011) was separated in two editions: Ultimate edition, which added the Gecko layout engine (used by Mozilla Firefox), allowing the user choose between both layout engines, and Lite edition which contains only the Trident layout engine.

As of November 2008, total downloads surpassed 22.5 million.

Avant Browser is currently available in 41 languages.

History and development[edit]

Avant Browser was largely inspired by Opera, the first major browser to have a multiple document interface. The developer's objective was to wrap a comparable interface around the layout engine used by Internet Explorer, thereby achieving Opera-like ergonomics without suffering the frequent problems that browser had rendering pages tested only in Internet Explorer. In fact, it was initially released under the name "IEopera", though this was soon changed due to the obvious trademark issues.

Later, Avant's developer, Anderson Che, has concentrated on adding user-requested features, and Avant was among the first browsers to have popup blocking, advertising server blocking, and one-click disabling of potential security vulnerabilities such as ActiveX, Java, and JavaScript.

The Avant Browser's default search engine is a version of the Yahoo! search engine renamed Avantfind and is given a custom look. Other search engines are available via the address bar' "Quick Search" facility, and instructions on how to change the default to an engine of the user's choice have been posted by the very active Avant Browser user community.

The community has also created other tools and extensions for Avant, including registry files which allow it to use the Information Bar and other security enhancements of Windows XP SP2.

Alongside Avant, the developer used to have a sister project known as Orca Browser, an Avant-like shell of Mozilla's Gecko layout engine as used in Firefox 3 and it has similar approaches to Flock.[3] [4] Orca Browser project is now discontinued. Gecko layout engine was included in Avant Browser version 2012 Ultimate edition, alongside the traditional Trident layout engine.

Avant was one of the twelve browsers offered to European Economic Area users of Microsoft Windows in 2010.[5]

Avant Browser 11[edit]

Avant Browser 11 (build 130 released on January 26, 2011), introduces more new features than any previous version. These include support for many toolbars that are compatible with Internet Explorer, a facility for users to create their own scripted toolbar buttons, and a password and form-filling wizard. The overall trend though seems to be a gradual movement away from Avant's Internet Explorer roots.

More radical is the addition of a native bookmark system in place of sharing Internet Explorer's Favorites. These bookmarks may be stored online - as can feeds, autofills, and browser settings. [6] This allows the user to synchronize any number of Avant installations on different computers. Avant can still share Internet Explorer's Favorites. This option was reintroduced by the developer after some users lamented its loss.

Another innovation is that Avant may now be run from a USB flash drive (or other portable storage device such as an MP3 player) without needing to be installed. In conjunction with Avant's session saving facility, this allows the user to halt a browsing session on one PC, move to another and resume viewing the same web pages.

Avant Browser 2012[edit]

Avant Browser 2012 Ultimate edition (build 3 released on October 25, 2011) added the Gecko layout engine (the rendering engine used by Mozilla Firefox), and the most recent release (build 168 released on April 6, 2012) also included the WebKit layout engine (the rendering engine used by Safari), making Avant Browser a three-engine browser. Layout engine is selectable by the user. [7]

Features[edit]

An early version of Avant Browser

Interface[edit]

Tabbing[edit]

  • User-customizable tabbed interface
  • Progress bar on each tab (optional)
  • Tab locking, duplication, and drop-and-drag arrangement
  • Automatically save and reopen any number of pages
  • Can restore open pages after system crash
  • Undo menu for last 25 closed tabs
  • All pages open in single process, reducing resource demands
  • Multiple home pages

Tools[edit]

  • Compatible with many Internet Explorer toolbars and add-ins, including Google toolbar
  • Highlight marker to find keywords on any page (the words also used by the search engine)
  • Facility for user to add custom-made function buttons
  • RSS feed reader built in
  • URL alias facility to create keyboard shortcuts to favorite sites
  • Page zoom slider - 25% to 500%
  • Full desktop mode - hides toolbars
  • Full screen mode - hides toolbars and taskbar
  • Compact mode - saves interface space
  • Boss button - quickly hides browser
  • Tray icon - keeps Avant running in system tray for fast access (optional)
  • Mouse gestures (customizable)
  • Autoscroll facility for hands-free reading
  • Context-activated floating toolbars to save and edit images, text and Flash
  • Customizable right-click menu entries
  • Quick translation menu
  • 15 interface languages available so far
  • Automatic page refresh at custom intervals
  • Sidebar access to:
    • Advanced search
    • Blocked URL record
    • History
    • Bookmarks
    • Feeds

Appearance[edit]

  • Fully skinnable:
    • Range of bundled skin options (21 total)
    • Accessory application allows user to create own skins
  • Highly customizable:
    • Toolbars can be rearranged freely
    • Most functions may be accessed from either toolbar buttons or menus
    • All Buttons and menus are optional

Security and privacy[edit]

  • Push-button quick blocking of unwanted items (Popups, Adverts, ActiveX, Java, Scripts, Flash, Video, Sound, Images)
  • Customizable black/white lists for popups and ad servers
  • Multiple proxy servers may be configured
  • Browsing tracks cleaner - can clear traces automatically
  • Windows XP Service Pack 2 security extensions can be integrated

Search[edit]

  • Search bar with separate engines configurable for web, images, groups, directories and news
  • Search within site, search within page, and target word highlight buttons
  • Quick Search facility - user can configure any engine for searches from the address bar
  • Similar websites toolbar - searches in background for pages that relate to the current

Bookmarks and online storage[edit]

  • Online secure bookmark, feed and setting storage - allows access of same browser setup anywhere
  • Portable flash drive version allows running of Avant without installation
  • Bookmark search
  • Bookmark validation
  • Bookmark toolbar for fast link access
  • Bookmarks can be arranged in task-orientated groups that can be opened together or individually
  • Optionally uses Internet Explorer favorites

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Avant Browser changelog
  2. ^ Avant Browser Download
  3. ^ Orca Browser homepage. Retrieved 2008-12-12.
  4. ^ Pash, Adam (2008-07-23). "Orca Browser is Avant for Firefox". Lifehacker. Retrieved 2014-09-02. 
  5. ^ "Microsoft offers browser choices to Europeans". BBC. 2010-03-01. Retrieved 2014-09-02. 
  6. ^ Bayon, David (2010-03-12). "Avant Browser review". PCPro. Retrieved 2014-09-02. 
  7. ^ Stuff, Download.com (2012-06-24). "Avant Browser Ultimate". CNET. Retrieved 2014-09-02. 

External links[edit]