Web Browser Wednesday

It has been over two-months since we last discussed the status of Avant Browser 11, which was in the Beta phase at the time. It was officially released around the middle of September but I held off writing about it because they were providing updates almost everyday. It appears that it has finally settled down a little bit.

Avant Browser uses the Internet Explorer rendering engine so you don’t have to worry so much about compatibility problems with those sites that you frequently visit. It offers users a huge list of features, including tabs, which is why the browser has become so popular over the years…while Internet Explorer was still in the dog days of multiple windows. Man, whoever came up with the whole idea of tabs is a genius!

Avant Browser 11 has some really great features so I thought I would cover some of them. Here is a quick overview of what is new since Avant Browser 10:

  • Avant Online Storage: Save your bookmarks, feeds, and more!
  • Outlook-style RSS reader.
  • AutoFill: allows users to save their web passwords.
  • New Bookmarks System and bookmarks management.
  • Improved plug-in support.
  • More tab options: Lock Tabs, Show Underlines, Show Progress Bar, Show Close Button, and more.
  • Fixed most of the bugs reported in 10.x

–Avant Online Storage–

It is a dream for many to have access to your bookmarks and RSS feeds wherever you go. Avant Browser makes it easy to to bring your browser with you by utilizing a central storage area. I think it is cool to have this service available but the real reason I would use this is for a backup. Computers crash more often than you would like and the browser is probably the most used application for many computer users. That data is definitely something that I don’t want to lose.

I use Google Bookmarks myself and I have my Firefox profile synchronized with another computer using backup batch files. I’m sure that I’m one of the few geeks that do that so this solution by Avant Browser is great. Here is a screenshot of what the Online Storage system looks like when you start the browser:

Avant Browser Online Storage


–The Browser Itself–

After you provide the information for the quick configuration (like where you want the tab bar located) it will welcome you to the sleek interface. I have always loved how compact everything is in the browser but the first thing that I normally do is remove some of those unnecessary buttons from the toolbar. I think they could trim down on those by default because it looks a little congested. Start simple and let users clutter things up if they choose.

Avant Browser


–Feed Reader–

When I originally found out that Avant Browser was going to have a feed reader I was really excited. I opened up the sidebar and chose to add a feed to the reader. Here is what the feed configuration screen looks like:

Avant Browser Feed

I was very happy to see the option to let me choose the update frequency. Most online readers will only update once each hour and that seems to be a little long for me. I normally adjust less-updated feeds to 30-minutes and frequently updated feeds to 15-minutes.

Now came the disappointment. The feed reader is designed to show you feeds in a similar fashion to how Outlook shows you emails. The problem is that it will only show you a snippet of the article in the feed even if the publisher has chosen to display the full content. This should be a feature that could be adjusted somewhere but I didn’t find anything. I guess there isn’t anything that I can do about it:

Avant Browser Feed Reader



If you are afraid of options then you definitely don’t want to open up the preferences! This thing, like previous versions, is loaded down with configurability and customization. I have never seen a browser offer its users the ability to change so much:

Avant Browser Options



As you can see Avant Browser is a great alternative to Internet Explorer. I have, and probably always will, keep this installed for those IE only sites. I haven’t really had memory leaks or anything of that nature while using it and it is very power-user friendly (meaning a lot of options), which is something I have never found Internet Explorer to be. For that reason it has earned a place on my hard drive. ;)