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|Initial release||January 30, 2004|
2020 build 3 (March 17, 2020)
|Operating system||Windows (Windows 2000 and later)|
|Size||Lite: 4.46 MB|
Ultimate: 62.9 MB
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, Windows 8.1 and Windows 10. Internet Explorer versions 6 through 11 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.
History and development
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 trademark concerns.
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's "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.
The developer also 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 using similar approaches to Flock. 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 Browser 11
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. 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
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.
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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 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
- 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
- List of web browsers
- Comparison of web browsers
- Internet Explorer shell browsers
- List of feed aggregators
- Comparison of feed aggregators
- "Avant Browser - What's New in the Latest Version?". Avant Force. Retrieved 2016-10-16.
- "Avant Browser - What's New in the Latest Version?". Retrieved 2020-04-12.
- "Download - Avant Browser". Avant Force. Retrieved 2016-10-16.
- Orca Browser homepage. Retrieved 2008-12-12.
- Pash, Adam (2008-07-23). "Orca Browser is Avant for Firefox". Lifehacker. Retrieved 2014-09-02.
- "Microsoft offers browser choices to Europeans". BBC. 2010-03-01. Retrieved 2014-09-02.
- Bayon, David (2010-03-12). "Avant Browser review". PCPro. Retrieved 2014-09-02.
- "Avant Browser Ultimate". CNET. 2012-06-24. Retrieved 2014-09-02.