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  #1  
Old 09-05-2005, 06:11 PM
Menneisyys
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Default NetFront 3.3 review and help

NetFront (NF) version 3.3 has been released by Access; still in Japanese only. You can download it from here (Japanese) or here (English). The last download dialog page of the latter can be found here (so that you don't need to click Japanese language buttons - if you still prefer doing so, always click the leftmost one to submit the forms) - you'll only need to click the blue button.

Also see this Pocket PC Thoughts thread on the new version.

The big news is that it really supports VGA in SE mode, without any forced VGA hack. Text input also works flawlessly in this mode, unlike with 3.2 (also in forced VGA mode - in this, version 3.2 cuts down the lower half of the entered characters in text input fields). You may want to read my review of Pocket PC Web browsers to see the problems/the advantages of version 3.2, compared to other PPC browsers.

On the other hand, except for the native VGA support, there is little new in the new version. There is no added functionality (except for the useless virtual resolution setting and the English - to- Japanese translation contxt/Tools menu item). You still can't copy links to the clipboard, you still can't hide the tabs/scrollbars in full screen, you still can't reassign hardware buttons, you can't explicitly save pages under a given name/view their source etc.

Note that I haven't benchmarked its page loading speed/memory consumption as I don't think they have substantially changed. Also, I haven't re-tested its bugs (for example, the DST bug). Upon request, I may consider doing this.

Now, a dialog/menu-by-dialog/menu comparison of version 3.2 and 3.3 to 1, show the differences; 2, help people that would like to give 3.3 a try and need help with the Japanese menus.

The File menu

It's exactly the same as with version 3.2. For reference, here's version 3.2:



File/Bookmarks (A) is the same too:



So is Page Memo (B):



The same stands for History (C) and Local Files (D). (E) is Start Auto-Cruise and (F) is Offline Browse. G is Home, H is properties and I is Exit.

The View menu

It's a bit different from the 3.2 version. Toolbars (A) is the same, as with Text Size (B) (in it, (A) is the largest and (E) the smallest). Encoding (C) also has the same menu points, with slightly different order in the main submenu and a menu separator bar in the 'Other' menu (but it's still readable and logical). So are Show Images and Enable Animations (D/E), Full Screen (F). The four menu items at the bottom are as follows: G is ''Browsing mode" (Full (A)/Text (B)/Simple (C) browsing/ Rapid Render), H is Display Mode (Normal/Just-Fit/Smart-Fit Rendering), I is zoom (that is, Zoom and Display Mode is swapped, compared to version 3.2).

Zoom (I) is a bit different from 3.2: it offers a bit better zooming control. 3.2 only offered the 25/50/75/100/125 pre-defined zoom levels; with 3.3, you can go above the maximal 125% zoom level (see the new -/+ 25% menu items at the bottom of View/Zoom):



An example of going over 125%:

125%+25%:



125%+25%+25%:



The utility of this is very dubious, though, as even the 100% zoom will be too much with most web pages.

It does not offer going under 25% (unlike going over 125%) and it also lacks the fine-tuning capabilties such a new feature could involve. Imagine: if +25% meant, say, 25%*1.25=31.25% (and not 25%*2 = 50%), then, you would have a far easier/better way of setting the zoom (almost as good as the one in, say, Acrobat Reader - the latter allows for decreasing/increasing zoom by 1%) than with the current solution.

The View menu also has a new item (J) at the bottom:



The default is the automatic, uppermost mode. It sets the width of the screen. That is, if you set it to a higher level, it treats the screen, say, 640 pixels wide and, therefore, only breaks content into next row when reaching this width. It has nothing to do with sending out resolution HTTP request headers (it doesn't send out any resolution-related HTTP header, unlike PIE) and doesn't resembleThunderhawk's virtual resolution setter either. I, therefore, don't think it's a useful feature.

The Page menu

(invokable by tap-and-holding the screen; this menu is a mixture of the View and Tools menus with few context menu items like Save Image)

It is similar to the one in 3.2:



That us, New Window is (A), Full Screen is (B), Open in New Window, if you have done this over a link, (C), Save Image is (D), Text Size is (F), Show Images/Enable Animations is G/H. The last thee menu items have slightly different order: I is ''Browsing mode' (Full (A)/Text (B)/Simple (C) browsing/ Rapid Render), J is Display Mode (Normal/Just-Fit/Smart-Fit Rendering) and K is zoom (that is, Zoom and Display Mode is swapped).

A new item is (E), Infoseek; all the four options (as far as what I could make of the communication between the browser and the server, sent it through my snooper proxy) seem to do English to/from Japanese translation of the current page. That is, nothing interesting for a non-Japanese user.

Incidentally, the full screen mode still has scrollbars - you can't completely hide them unlike in MultiIE or PIEPlus.

The Tools menu

It's the following in 3.2:



In 3.3, the first four menu items are the same (Cut (A)/Copy (B)/Paste (C)/Select All (D)); the (E) is the Infoseek English - Japanese translation serrvice outlined in the Page menu section. (F) is Window (New (A)/Close (B)), G is Scroll mode (that is, screen drag). (H) is Browser Setting and I is Auto-Cruise Setting. J is About.

As far as the Browser Setting dialogs are concerned, the General (including the Advanced) tab are exactly the same:





So is the View tab, in general:



Whats new here is the one drop-down menu is the (virtual) screen size drop-down list, which shouldn't be touched.

The Advanced submenu also has two new checkboxes (in addition to Word Wrap) here:



The Network tab is exactly the same:



So is the Helper tab:



(NF3.3 also supports SVG; in tge demo version, there is no Flash/Java support.)

The Security tab has a new drop-down list and a minor change in grouping:



Finally, the Misc tab is the same:



The same stands for the Advanced submenu here:



Note that the main registry entries of NF 3.3 have been relocated from HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\access.co.jp\NetFront32\ to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\ACCESS\NetFront33\. Make sure you take this into account if you try, for example, to relocate its cache as described for example here:



Bottom line

If you have a VGA device, used in SE (not in native VGA) and can put up with the limitations of the demo program (10 favorites/2 tabs at most, no Java/Flash etc) and the language (hope my 3.2 English screenshots were of help), you may really want to consider switching to this (demo) version from 3.2. It has really seamless VGA.

For others (owners of QVGA devices), this version offers almost nothing new/advanced.
 
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  #2  
Old 09-05-2005, 07:11 PM
Patrick Y.
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GREAT REVIEW!! THANKS!!!
 
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  #3  
Old 09-06-2005, 06:01 AM
juni
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I'll probably get it when it is released
 
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  #4  
Old 09-07-2005, 11:38 AM
AIO
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How well does it work in true VGA (not SE kinda VGA). Any Toshiba e8XX owners?
 
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  #5  
Old 09-07-2005, 12:11 PM
Menneisyys
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AIO
How well does it work in true VGA (not SE kinda VGA). Any Toshiba e8XX owners?
Working perfectly in native VGA on WM2003SE. Dunno about the compatibility with e800's WM2003, tho.
 
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  #6  
Old 09-08-2005, 02:37 PM
Craig Horlacher
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Default can't get it to work

Quote:
Originally Posted by AIO
How well does it work in true VGA (not SE kinda VGA). Any Toshiba e8XX owners?
I have a toshiba e830 and I can't get it to work at all...well, let me be more specific. The program opens and the program looks fine (if you like boxes in your menu's) but when I put in a url it just tries forever and never loads anything. I opened pocket ie and loaded a few pages to make sure it wasn't my connection and they came up without a problem as normal.

So, no, it doesn't seem to work on the e830. If you have an e800 or e805 there's a rumor that they actually have a specific version of netfront for that device. Email them or google a little and maybe you can find a way to get it.

The e80x used an ati graphics subsystem which the e830 does not. That's why it won't work on the e830.

Anyone have any ideas for me to try? I'm not using a proxy server or anything funky.

I'm really hoping for a vga version of minimo. It drives me nuts how bad my pocket pc is for surfing. Does anyone make a browser for the pocket pc with full (graphic and text) vga support! Is that really asking for a lot!?!?!?

There are few things worse in life then technologically advanced hardware that is crippled by a lack of adiquate software. Why are people not complaining to Microsoft more about how bad pocket ie is. There is not reason they every should have released a version on 2003se without vga support. Then again a more basic need is to open more then one page at a time and they still haven't figured that out either. Someone at Microsoft, please buy a psp, throw the 2.0 firmware on there, and see which is better for browsing. 9 sites out of ten, I'll take the psp, thank you!!!

***I should not that se_vga sort of fixes the problem and whoever made that utility is just awesome and should go work for google. Most of the time it's easier for me to use my psp then reboot my pocket pc to start and stop browsing.
 
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  #7  
Old 09-08-2005, 06:41 PM
Menneisyys
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Default Re: can't get it to work

Quote:
Originally Posted by vector
when I put in a url it just tries forever and never loads anything.
1, Does PIE use any HTTP proxy?

2, did you try unchecking the "Auto-retrieve" checkbox in the Network tab in Tools/Browser Setting?

 
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  #8  
Old 09-08-2005, 09:32 PM
Craig Horlacher
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Default Re: can't get it to work

Quote:
Originally Posted by Menneisyys
Quote:
Originally Posted by vector
when I put in a url it just tries forever and never loads anything.
1, Does PIE use any HTTP proxy?

2, did you try unchecking the "Auto-retrieve" checkbox in the Network tab in Tools/Browser Setting?
Nope, I don't have any proxy set for PIE. NetFront 3.2 worked fine. I uninstalled it and installed 3.3. So not only does it not work, but it's all japanese (which shows up as boxes in the menus) so I don't know what I'm doing when I click stuff to try to fix it. I found the full screen option and bookmarks - that's about all I recognize so far.

I'll dig around and look for something that might be a proxy configuration dialog.

Maybe it is some odd e830 compatibility issue.

Thanks for the reply.
 
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  #9  
Old 09-08-2005, 09:54 PM
Menneisyys
5000+ Posts? I Should OWN This Site!
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 5,067
Default Re: can't get it to work

Quote:
Originally Posted by vector
Quote:
Originally Posted by Menneisyys
Quote:
Originally Posted by vector
when I put in a url it just tries forever and never loads anything.
1, Does PIE use any HTTP proxy?

2, did you try unchecking the "Auto-retrieve" checkbox in the Network tab in Tools/Browser Setting?
Nope, I don't have any proxy set for PIE. NetFront 3.2 worked fine. I uninstalled it and installed 3.3. So not only does it not work, but it's all japanese (which shows up as boxes in the menus) so I don't know what I'm doing when I click stuff to try to fix it. I found the full screen option and bookmarks - that's about all I recognize so far.

I'll dig around and look for something that might be a proxy configuration dialog.

Maybe it is some odd e830 compatibility issue.

Thanks for the reply.
I don't think it has to do with the particular PDA model. These problems are mostly caused by the default 'the proxy checbox is enabled' functionality.

To navigate the Japanese menus, just use the screenshots I've posted. I've made screenshots of all menus/dialogs and commented them all - with them, you'll be able to navigate around.
 
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  #10  
Old 09-13-2005, 09:22 AM
Menneisyys
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An English version of version 3.3 preview has just been released.

(At last, we didn't need to wait for months after the Japanese version ).
 
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