Wikipedia:Browser notes

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Browser notes is a Wikipedia page aimed at helping contributors and readers learn of issues with various web browsers. There is no perfect browser for viewing Wikipedia.

Please list the pros and cons of particular browsers for viewing and editing Wikipedia articles. Limit your contributions to practical drawbacks and actual experiences with various browsers in interaction with Wikipedia. If you wish to report a bug to do with Wikipedia's interaction with a browser, see Wikipedia:bug reports.

No browser wars but if you must comment at length, take it to the Browser notes talk page, please.

Please change the order of the browsers to place the Consensus Best Browser first on the list for each platform and continue in order of preference. Keep comments brief.

Most browsers support a direct interface for searching Wikipedia. See Wikipedia:Searching for more information.

Mozilla Firefox and Gecko based browsers[edit]

  • Section "[edit]" links may be misplaced for some sections.

Browsers on Microsoft Windows[edit]

Chrome & Chromium[edit]

  • Large text sizes in wikEd and Custom Regex Gadgets?
  • Blue background in the Vector skin if Zoom level is below 100% (as of April 2012). Bugzilla:34551 documents it.

Opera[edit]

  • Superscript text creates a few pixels of extra line space. There is a fix, though with the fix the superscript/subscript text looks <small> and slightly raised or lowered instead of superscripted or subscripted, making it hard to determine what is superscripted or subscripted in some instances.
  • Quotes not displaying on Wikipedia pages properly?
    • Click on View → Encoding → Automatic Selection.

Internet Explorer and Trident based browsers[edit]

Old versions of IE demonstrate poor support of relatively recent (e.g., post-1999) W3C Web standards, but are still in use. As a result, certain elements may not look or work exactly right, although generally a workaround of some kind is implemented server-side if possible. Among the most visible issues are:

  • Prior to version 7, IE does not support alpha transparency of PNG images, showing an opaque grey background instead.
  • Prior to version 8, IE does not render the <q>...</q> tag with quote marks.
  • Prior to version 10, IE does not support CSS3 columns, showing text formatted using {{reflist}} or {{div col}} in a single column.
  • IE running on Windows XP does not override the display font where glyphs do not exist in that font, such as for passages of multilingual text or IPA used for pronunciation. Templates exists to work around this deficiency (see Template talk:Polytonic, Template talk:IPA, Template talk:Unicode).
  • Due to increasing incompatibilities in scripting, JavaScript has been disabled for IE 6 and 7 on all projects.

Browsers on Mac OS X[edit]

Safari[edit]

OmniWeb 4.5+[edit]

  • v?: Does not display popups at all.

Shiira[edit]

  • 1.2.2: Problems with authentication.
  • 2.2: Upon crashing, it may lose recently added bookmarks.

Chrome[edit]

  • 32.0: Does not display IPA fonts correctly

UNIX/Linux Browsers[edit]

Konqueror[edit]

  • Konqueror may trigger automatic protection that Wikipedia has in place to make it harder for some spiders if a web shortcut for Wikipedia is enabled and used. Make sure Konqueror is identifying itself to Wikipedia, preferably as itself.

Dillo[edit]

  • Formats quite nicely, but no CSS
  • Cookies are tricky, so logging in is tricky
  • Doesn't support UTF-8, so special characters will render as gibberish
    • but there is a patch that solves that problem. Debian's Dillo comes with the patch already applied.

Console and Text browsers[edit]

Warning: Many console browsers will convert text in edit boxes to the encoding in use by your terminal (or what the browser thinks is your terminal's encoding which may not be the same thing) either at page load time (links and lynx) or when editing a field (w3m). If your terminal encoding is UTF-8 this is not a problem but if your terminal is using a legacy encoding (or is using UTF-8 but your browser thinks it's using a legacy encoding) then this is likely to destroy characters that are not present in the encoding your terminal is using when you save the page after editing.

ELinks[edit]

  • Text only, but renders tables and frames.
  • Supports HTTP authentication.
  • Users can use their text editor of choice to edit textarea fields.
  • Problems with editing UTF-8; set "User-agent identification" (in setup->option manager->protocols->http) to something like "Lynx/elinks/%v (textmode; %s; %t-%b)" to get non-ascii characters as hex codes.
  • View is enhanced (especially of diffs) by using the following user.css and lua hook file (place in ${HOME}/.elinks and enable via option manager)
user.css:
/*
1. place in ~/.elinks
2. set user css to be "user.css" (no path, relative to ~/.elinks)
3. use document colors: use 1 or 2
*/

.diffchange {
        color: red;
        font-weight: bold;
}

.diff-deletedline {
        color: green;
}

.diff-addedline {
        color: cyan;
}

a.new {
        color: cyan;
        font-weight: bold;
}
hooks.lua:
--[[
lua preformatting function 

1. lua has to be installed before compiling elinks; if this
   is the case, it is used by default
2. place this file in ~/.elinks

this file does:

show <del> and <ins> element, make <s> more evident

preformatting for wikipedia pages: since elinks ignores the
class attribute of <td> tags, we move it into the inner
<div> element

]]

testing=false

function pre_format_html_hook (url, html) 
  -- formatting for <s> <del> <ins>
  html = string.gsub(html, '<[sS]>', '<s>[S:')
  html = string.gsub(html, '</[sS]>', ':S]</s>')
  html = string.gsub(html, '<[dD][eE][lL]>', '<s>[DEL:')
  html = string.gsub(html, '</[dD][eE][lL]>', ':DEL]</s>')
  html = string.gsub(html, '<[iI][nN][sS]>', '<s>[INS:')
  html = string.gsub(html, '</[iI][nN][sS]>', ':INS]</s>')

  -- diff-addedline and diff-deletedline classes
  if string.find(url, "diff=", 1, 1) or testing then
    html = string.gsub(html, '<td class="diff[-]addedline"><div>',
                             '<td><div class="diff-addedline">')
    html = string.gsub(html, '<td class="diff[-]deletedline"><div>',
                             '<td><div class="diff-deletedline">')
  end

  return html
end

Links[edit]

  • In old versions the login may be broken. (Try to check referrer sending and cookie handling. If everything fails try to use ELinks, and check the same settings.)

Lynx[edit]

  • Users can use their text editor of choice to edit textarea fields (this feature needs to be enabled at compile time)
  • Forces wrapping of very long lines in a textarea, which is a problem in editing some articles.
  • Display options for non-ASCII characters affect editing.
  • Most tables are rendered as simple text.
  • Viewing of diffs and redlinks can be improved by adding the following to the lynx.lss configuration file:
    span.diffchange:bold:brightred
    td.diff-deletedline:bold:green
    td.diff-addedline:bold:cyan
    a.new:bold:cyan

PDA & cell phone browsers[edit]

See also Wikipedia:Wikipedia on PDAs and Wikipedia:WAP access.

Browser add-ons & proxies[edit]

Ad-busters[edit]

Opera kiosk mode filtering[edit]

  • May block access to articles if they begin with blocked strings such as "ad"

Atguard, Norton Internet Security, WebWasher[edit]

  • On default settings, disallows access to articles beginning with the word "ad" (ad hoc, ad hominem etc.)

Adblock Filterset.G Updater[edit]

  • Filterset set blocks /ad/ in URLs, use Adblock Plus and Filterset.G Whitelist to bypass (whitelists Wikimedia related URLs)


Unwanted effects[edit]

Some browser extensions are not fully compatible with Wikipedia or may have unwanted effects. Some extensions add text like when editing <div class="myEventWatcherDiv">, QuickiWiki Look Up or <a class="ktg6us78hf8vdu7" href="javascript:void(0)">. Most of these are detected by Edit Filter 345 which issues a warning message.

Dictionary of Numbers[edit]

  • May arbitrarily remove strings starting with numbers when editing (discussion)

WikiTweak[edit]

  • Has a "QuickiWiki" option which may arbitrarily add the string "QuickiWiki Look Up" when editing (discussion)

StumbleUpon[edit]

  • May display italics markup <i>...</i> in page names instead of rendering in italics (discussion)

Skype[edit]

If you find the Skype icon in an unexpected place, like in this image, your browser is likely misinterpreting a set of numbers as a phone number.

Web filtering[edit]

Displaying ads[edit]

  • Some browser extensions including Codec-C and InfoAtoms may add ads to Wikipedia pages without properly informing the user (discussion)

File page bypassing[edit]

Search Plugins[edit]

Plugins that can be used to search Wikipedia more easily.

Mozilla (all, including Firefox)[edit]

  1. Dictionary Search
    This plugin can be set up to search the Wikipedia as follows:
    1. Open "Tools->Options->Extensions", or "Tools->Add-ons"
    2. Click on "Dictionary Search", then the "Options..." button
    3. Choose one of the dictionary slots, and enter "Wikipedia page for $" (or something like that) as text, "W" as accesskey (if it needs an accesskey), and "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/$" as URL.
    4. Now you can highlight any word on a webpage, right-click and choose to go to the corresponding Wikipedia page.
  2. Mycroft Wikipedia Plugin
    Adds a Wikipedia in the language of your choice to the list of search engines on the Navigation bar.

JavaScript bookmark (All browsers with JavaScript enabled)

  1. Bookmark this simple lightweight JavaScript which pops up a prompt for a search term.
  2. Create a new bookmark and put the following into the URL/Location:
    javascript:void(q=prompt('Wikipedia search:',''));if(q)void(location.href='http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special:Search?go=Go&search='+escape(q))

Textarea tools[edit]

Lynx[edit]

  • Allows any text editor to be used once the option is set.

Konqueror[edit]

  • Internally highlights misspelled words in textareas.

Safari[edit]

  • Underlines misspelled words in textareas if you check the Edit > Spelling > Check Spelling as You Type option. Control-click or right-click for a list of suggested corrections.

Omniweb[edit]

Internet Explorer[edit]

  • IESpell adds spellchecking to Internet Explorer.
  • External is a small program that may help you use any external program to edit the textareas in the browser

Opera[edit]

  • Opera 10 and above: inline spelling checking based on the OpenOffice.org dictionaries called Hunspell.
  • pre Opera 10: Supports the spelling checking on Windows and Linux if you install GNU Aspell. Instructions are available from Opera.

Mozilla and Firefox[edit]

  • Universal Edit Button adds an extra icon in the address bar for the editable pages
  • Wikipedia Extension
    • Adds a toolbar with various formatting functions and quicklinks to most Special: pages.
    • Not tested on Mac
    • Make sure you get the latest version, 0.7.1 as of this writing; download at update.mozilla.org is out-of-date and does not work on 1.0
  • SpellBound adds spellchecking to Firefox, supporting international dictionaries. Download from here for Firefox up to 1.0.x and from here for Firefox 1.5.x. Firefox 2.0.x has spellchecking built in.
  • These tools add an option to the browser to use an external editor on a web page textarea.
    • Mozex
      • Doesn't support Mozilla on Mac
      • Doesn't support Firefox 1.0 as provided (see this for a workaround)
    • Electrix
      • Not currently maintained
    • It's All Text!

Safari[edit]

  • UnicodeChecker allows in-place conversion of Unicode text to HTML entities and back. Requires Mac OS X Panther (10.3). Freeware.
    • Great for editing text in non-ISO-8859-1 character sets on the English-language Wikipedia (Cyrillic, etc.).
    • Works as a system service from a menu (Safari→Services→Unicode→), or keyboard shortcut (command-shift-8).
  • CocoAspell adds international spelling dictionaries to the inline spell-checker. Freeware.
    • Based on UNIX Aspell.

Old and discontinued browsers[edit]

NCSA MOSAIC[edit]

The latest version (3.0 from 1997) of NCSA MOSAIC will not load Wikimedia pages due to lack of support for the HTTP 1.1 host header system.

NetPositive[edit]

NetPositive ran only on BeOS. Not all elements of the CSS recognized, though still fairly functional. NetPositive has issues with some HTML entities on repeated editing (replacing entities by the character glyph), so be careful.

Netscape[edit]

The very old Netscape Navigator, cannot edit long pages. See Wikipedia:Article size.

On Unix in version 4.x: Problems with <div> marked images; sometimes crashes when one writes a new article or heavily edits an existing one.

On Mac OS in version 4.5: overlapping text and quick bar under cologne blue settings, may add weird space in text; some encoding issues.

Internet Explorer for Mac[edit]

Internet Explorer for Mac runs only on classic Mac OS.

  • 4.5: logging off from one wiki to another. Some encoding issues.
  • 5.2.3: Some text is invisible, with no apparent pattern. The words disappear mid-sentence, or even mid-word, and reappear a few words or sentences later.
  • 5.5: sometimes freeze the edit window

Opera on Mac OS[edit]

  • 5.0: cut long pages in editing mode; encoding issues. Overlapping text and bar in some pages (prefs)
  • 6.0: add undesirable blank lines, crashes unexpectedly

iCab on Mac OS[edit]

Side toolbar appears in wrong location (below any main text).

Old Firefox[edit]

Prior to Firefox 2, the find-as-you-type text search ignored the edit window. Bugzilla@Mozilla bug 189309 documents the issue, which does not occur in the newer version, Firefox 3.

Prior to Firefox 3, when editing, Firefox changed all non-breaking spaces (hexadecimal 0xA0) to breakable spaces (hexadecimal 0x20). Bugzilla@Mozilla bug 218277 documents the issue, which does not occur in the newer version, Firefox 3.

Safari on Windows[edit]

Safari on Windows renders fonts using its own algorithm that yields results differing slightly from the native Windows font renderer.[1]

Palm OS 5.4.5/Blazer 4.0/PalmOne Treo 650[edit]

Default settings

  • Default monobook skin rendering on the Treo650's Blazer.
    Site is unreadable (Wikipedia:Main Page alternative (simple layout)). Prior to everything downloading (and thus, prior to final rendering) page displays as plain text with links and basic formatting. After final rendering, the page is squashed into a thin vertical strip a few characters wide. This effect occurs with either "wide page" or "optimized" views. Same effect with the main front page, the "table free pages", and all article pages.
  • Registered users can work around these problems by configuring a different skin such as Cologne Blue or by installing their own style sheets for the various skins.
  • If the page loading is stopped midway, the original "non-rendered" version remains and is fully functional and readable. Timing when to stop the load (after content loads, but before the styling loads) is very difficult.
  • In Fast Mode, using the option to disable CSS may also provide usable results (tested on Blazer 4.5 - Treo 700p)
  • Large pages do not display completely. Editing large sections of text may not be successful.

Cologne Blue

  • Readable and quite usable; logging in from a Palm device to switch to Cologne Blue may be a problem. After logging in, use the "my preferences" link at the top of the page to select different skins.

User installed style-sheets

  • Wikipedia allows users to create accounts and upload style-sheets (amongst other things) to override/customize the rendering of pages via skins when logged in as that user-account. A style-sheet is required per skin. In the examples that follow the default monobook skin is assumed to have been selected. It is best to create a separate user-account for handheld viewing as the resulting rendering is illegible on most desktop browsers.
  • To start-off key in the URL for the per-user-account monobook style-sheet - en.Wikipedia.org/wiki/User:user-account-name/monobook.css into the browser. Replace the italicized user-account-name in the URL with the account name for handheld viewing. The site might complain that the page was not found - which makes sense as it has not been created yet.
  • Click on the edit this page tab at the top of the page. Copy in the boxed contents below into the edit region.
#column-content {
    margin: 0 0 0 0;
    line-height: 1em;
    float: none;
}
#content {
    margin: 0.0em 0 0 0; /* Change the 0.0em to 2.8em to make */
                         /* extra white space at the top of a wiki page */
                         /* The 0.0em causes the tab buttons at */
                         /* the top ("edit this page", etc) to disappear */
                         /* on gecko based browsers. In such a situation hit */
                         /* "alt+shift+e" to edit this page */
    line-height: 1em;
    padding: 0 0 0 0.2em;
}
/* Something about the above two sets of lines makes all content flow */
/* linearly down the page */
#column-one {
    padding-top: 0px;
    line-height: 1em;
}
#p-logo {
    position: relative;
}
#globalWrapper {
    font-size: 100%; /* Sets all fonts to normal size */
    line-height: 1em;
}
#contentSub {
    font-size: 100%; /* Sets all fonts to normal size */
    margin: 0 0 0 0; /* Removes margins */
    line-height: 1em;
    color: #FFFFFF; /* Sets the background to white */
}

ul, ol, li, dt, dd, p, h1, h2, h3, h4, h5, h6 {
    line-height: 1em;
} /* Packs lines nicely*/

div.tright, div.tleft {
    border-width: 0 0 0 0;
    line-height: 1em;
    padding: 0 0 0 0;
} /* Shrinks thumb picture frames as much as possible. */

div.thumb div div.thumbcaption {
    line-height: 1em;
    padding: 0 0 0 0;
} /* Shrinks thumb picture frames as much as possible. */
  • Save the page by clicking on the Save page button at the bottom of the edit window.
  • On your handheld, browse over to en.Wikipedia.org and log in as the user-account created. This will be hard with the single-character width rendering - but it'll be the last time you'll have to - if all goes well.
  • Key in a favorite Wikipedia page. If it renders badly, hit the refresh button. Thereafter rendering should be legible. Sample screenshots follow:
Rendering of the beginning of an article using custom user.css.
Contents section (list items) rendering using custom user.css.
Inline article image rendering using custom user.css.
Regular paragraph rendering using custom user.css.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]