IEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE9, what a disappointment! It would not be so bad if Microsoft had managed expectations better. But the ACID3 scores going from 55% to 95%. And all the accelerated graphics routines. And the promise of Canvas, SVG, and HTML5 support. Shades of Windows 3.1 days when the Redmond boys won on glitz over substance[a foreshadowing of Windows Phone 7 launch in October??]. The following quick test of the IE9 beta released today shows big gaps between IE9 features and those of the other browsers like Chrome, FireFox, Opera, and Safari.
The biggest gap – IE9 does not run on Windows XP [more than 50% of all current Windows usage]. Yet all the other browsers do and with the features that Microsoft say they cannot implement in Windows XP like hardware assisted graphics acceleration. Worse, if you develop for the IE9 browser features, they will not port cleanly to any other OS – not Mac, Linux, Android, Apple iOS4 nor even the upcoming Windows Phone 7 because IE9 does not run on those OS.
Publishers are turning to the mobile Web because they’re sick of remaking the same app for different devices. HTML5 is a solution for both (see our post, “HTML5 is Great for Mobile, Developers Say“). Rich media ads get a 56% higher click-through rate than static ads, according to Greystripe. HTML5 promises a consistent and rich user experience across platforms, and it’s often faster…
So one would think the IE team would strive to put up the best face on its HTML5 capabilities. You would guess wrong – IE9 gets the lowest HTML5 test ratings of 96/300 tests among the 5 major browsers.
HTML5test.com tests results on 300 points
In contrast Google Chrome 6 scores 217 on 300 [while Firefox 3.6 is at 190, Opera 10.6 at 166 and Safari 5.0 is at 207]. You can confirm these results by clicking on the screen shot or going to Modernizr.com which does CSS3 as well as HTML5 tests. Modernizr reports IE9 at 18/36 score with no support for 7 CSS3 features. In contrast, Google Chrome scores 32/36 tests including all but one of the7 CSS tests. And there are huge gaps in IE9’s HTML5 compliance on other critical Web tasks.
For example, Chrome and Firefox support three video formats – WebM based on the open source V8 video engine [currently the speed champ], Ogg Theora also open source, and MP4 format. IE9 supports one video format, H.264. All 4 of the other browsers have syncing so you can quickly apply your browser styling at work to home or mobile while IE9 barely covers the PC OS set. And there are lots of new browser features like Firefox’s tab editing Panorama feature or Safari’s User CSS Styling and Article Reader or Opera’s Speed Dial and Mouse Gestures or Google Chrome’s Translate bar . In sum, IE9 is still playing serious catch up in features and standards compliance in comparison to all the other browsers.
While reading the excellent book – HTML5: Up and Running, I was wondering why the author, Mark Pilgrim, kept referring to all the new HTML5 tests and workarounds available for IE. Why do this given the promise of the IE9 Test Preview? Ahhh, I should have known better. IE9 is only half of what Chrome Firefox, Opera and Safari are on features, extensions, and new standards compliance. Demand better – do not bother to download the IE9 beta, rather use any of the other 4 excellent browsers [Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Opera or Apple Safari]. In sum, the IE9 improvements over IE8/IE7/IE6 are substantial and welcome; but no, it is no time for Microsoft and the IE team to rest on its laurels.