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Mozilla is keeping its promise of speeding up the release cycle of Firefox and released today Firefox 5 (download, release notes).

As NetWeaver 7.0 and 7.3 do not support Firefox 4, there is also no support for Firefox 5. The findings and workarounds of One more browser: Firefox 4 are still valid.

When you run an EFP or your users can install browsers your life will get a little bit more complicated. You can block access to your portal / Web Dynpro, but this approach will leave a bad impression. Once again, company installations of Firefox are safe.

The number of users still running FF 3.5 is impressive: > 12 millions. But Mozilla is planning to get rid of FF 3.5 the hard way: forced upgrade. FF 3.5 users will be upgraded to FF >= 3.6. The process is outlined in the EOL document for FF 3.5 and in the FF forum.

The FF 3.5 release is marked as unsupported as of 3.5.19 in Wikipedia but I didn’t find the same statement from Mozilla. Currently, FF 3.5 is still appearing in the PAM.

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  1. Walter Koenders
    Hi Tobias,

    In general release cycles are becoming shorter and shorted and we see the impact this has on browser releases; Google Chrome is updated automatically and recently Mozilla has adopted a similar accelerated major version release strategy for FireFox.

    On one hand this is a good thing because end-users will get access to new technologies quicker.

    But on the other hand there may be supportability problems; after installing FireFox 5 I found that my favorite add-in could not be installed and it reported it was not compatible with FireFox 5.

    In the short term, the challenge for application (like SAP portal) and add-in developers will be to “keep up” with these browser versions. In particular for SAP Portal support for new browser versions is implemented in support packages, which can also put more pressure on SAP support to get these implemented.

    In the long term there will need to be a solution thought up for this; possible it can be standard support. Instead of the application being supported for a particular browser the browser and application check for a certain standard. If the standard is supported there is really no reason why the application should not work.

    Cheers, Walter

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    1. Tobias Hofmann Post author
      Hi Walter,

      Mozilla is investing in a new addon framework to ensure that addons will continue to work with newer Firefox versions. This known problem won’t stop Firefox users to upgrade in the near future.

      The real problem is the support of new browser versions (be it FF, IE, Chrome, Webkit). The support based on Service Pack level is showing its weakness:
      A new browser version gets supported with a new SP. Old browser version are dropped, so you don’t know if the old browser will still work on the new SP.
      Patching ever 6 months is not always possible, so you can end up having NetWeaver / Portal running on a 2 year old SPS.
      Standard conform HTML / Javascript / CSS is nice and helps a lot when it comes to browser support and bug finding, but you’ll still have to test the browser: Who says that the browser implements the standard correctly (ok: the vender, but …)

      Instead of having a browser support defined by SAP I’d like to see a more open approach:
      I don’t really care if SAP says that FF 4 will work with my current portal. I have to test my applications against the browser either way. May the code be standard or not: it has to work on the browser I want / have to support.

      If SAP would publishes test cases I can test my browser against these test cases. This way I’ll know that my browser works with the SP installed. I can even use the test cases with exotic browers.

      br, Tobias

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      1. Walter Koenders
        Hi Tobias,

        Agree with you on the more open approach, however if SAP would publish test cases these will only be for standard SAP, not for any customer developments/customizations. You would still have to test browser versions against the portal you are running.

        Its an interesting subject, and just proves that testing is important and will stay so for the foreseeable future..

        Cheers, Walter

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    1. Tobias Hofmann Post author
      HI Sergio,

      yes, SCN runs fine with FF, but SCN isn’t a standard SAP Portal you’ll find at SRM, ESS/MSS, MDM installations. It is Web Page Composer + Jive + homebrew, you’ll hardly find Web Dynpro, UWL, POWL, etc. Not even the navigation is what customers get when installing the SAP Portal.
      SCN is more a POC to show what is possible with the SAP Portal when you have the right people 🙂

      Tobias

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