Friday, March 3, 2017

Naver Whale browser IE plug-in compatibility mode active, but limited 1-2 years

Here's some news on that IE-compatibility feature that's being baked into Naver's upcoming Chrome-rival browser Whale. Over on their Whale browser development blog, Naver posted an interesting detail about the browser's handling of Internet Explorer type plug-ins. Naver's end goal is to eliminate the feature entirely, but incorporate it as a stop-gap measure for up to two years on certain essential sites.

Really this is just an update to my previous more in-depth post about Whale browser, but I figured anybody who reads this blog might be interested in this update. 

First a quick review.

Quick review: IE Plug-in Compatibility Mode


This was the option I found in the settings for a special Plug-in Compatibility handler, that was still grayed out and unable to activate in whatever beta version I was on at the time.

It was a special Plug-in Compatibility handler. If you can't see the highlighted text in the screenshot, it reads:
플러그인 호환 모드
플러그인 호환 모드를 사용하시면 금융,정부,회사 업무 사이트의 호환 문제를 해결해줍니다.
플러그인 호환 모드 사용하기
So basically, a feature that lets Internet Explorer style plug-ins work in a Chromium-based browser. It specifically says it's for financial, governmental, and corporate sites. Remember that Swing Browser's whole purpose was this ability, which I noted here.

Plug-in Compatibility mode is now Active

Well, in the latest beta (I'm currently using the beta), the option is active and functional.

Plugin compatibility mode setting

Here you can see the setting is active. It reads:

플러그인 호환 모드를 사용하시면 금융,정부,회사 업무 사이트의 호환 문제를 해결해줍니다.

So again, it's working for financial, government, and corporate sites. You can edit which version of IE it mimics. I like how 7 is the default. You can edit the list of sites that will automatically use this mode to add your own, but it also includes a pre-populated list

Here's that full list:

  • 대법원인터넷등기소
  • 국민건강보험공단
  • 고용보험
  • 국민연금관리공단
  • 근로보험공단
  • 민원24
  • 홈택스
  • 나이스
  • 넷마블
  • 한게임
  • 다음게임
  • 엠게임

So basically a list of government tax and insurance sites, and some game sites. I wondered if other sites, like the registry for making an appointment with Korean immigration, would be supported too? I suspected some people might need this on a site like for making immigration office appointments. So I tried added it manually and fired it up.

Whale thinks is a malware site

OK, well I didn't expect that. Whale's automatic malware detection flagged it. Talk about a Confucian conflict here. How dare this young hip little browser insult the ancient and creaking HiKorea government portal site. Let's go ahead and click "I like to proceed dangerously" or whatever. installing an Active X plugin in a Chrome-based browser!

Pretty cool. Just like old times on real IE7, I get the toolbar warning thing about installing the add-on. I didn't get a screenshot of the installation process, but it went fine, both the ActiveX plugin and the anti-keylogger. Unfortunately, I couldn't log-in. Not because of a plug-in issue, but because I forgot my own ID/password. Crap. I'll have to sort that out at some point.

(Note that the HiKorea site is not actually black. I'm a one of those men who uses a dark high-contrast theme for Windows. I wouldn't have to if Microsoft would just make a nice global dark theme for Win 10 already. I spend a lot of my day, evening, and even night in front of a screen, and don't want my eyes burning out.)

I know most banking sites have their own downloadable .exe security apps for Chrome users, but if for whatever reason you can't get yours working, maybe give Whale a try. But not for long, which brings me to...

Whale's Plug-in Compatibility mode is on the chopping block

Don't get too attached to this feature though. It looks like this plug-in compatibility mode will only be operational for up to two years. From a recent Naver blog post:

웨일은 1년 안에 본 기능을 지원 중단하는 것으로 목표로
최대 2년까지만 지원할 예정입니다.
[출처] 플러그인 호환 모드|작성자 웨일 팀
플러그인 호환 모드 : 네이버 블로그

So even Naver thinks this is a stop-gap measure that they plan to phase out. That's a good sign, since it suggests many major sites that would require it will instead be updated to more open standards. Maybe we're really finally seeing the last stage of the Active X era.

You can see my fuller post about Whale browser here,

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