HTML5 is rapidly coming of age as a)the major browser vendors move to implement more of HTML5 and b)Web developers, especially for mobiles, add more HTML5 features. So theOpenSourcery will be producing a quarterly report on the latest HTML5 Web Browser performance and market share numbers. Also commentary on Web Development related to the browsers will be added as required.
Meanwhile, there is lots happening in the world of HTML5 web browsers; so lets get right to the details. First the new browser usage reports have come out and Firefox is seeing continuing decline for the first time ever:
See details at ConceivableTech
Opera followed suit a week later[June 28th 2011] with the significant 11.50 upgrade. Try it, Opera is now very fast and feature packed. Meanwhile, Chrome has been showing an Agile Development schedule updating every 3-4 months as Google’s commitment to a ChromeOS. This browser based OS depends on superior performance and capabilities in Chrome the browser.
Apple appears to be splitting development – more for Safari on the iDevices, less on Safari for Macs and Windows. This seems to be a growing Apple trend as Mac OS Lion still will not have multi-touch screen operations and of course many of the sensor based features of the iDevices. Also HTML5 carries the burden of being the only cross platform development tool for iOS; so developers have to watch Apple’s compliance with Web standards extra closely.
Given all the new browsers out, it is helpful to apply them against a range of benchmarks and tests. There are a number of HTML5 and CSS3 tests available in the table below with links provided so users can try out the tests on their browsers.
Surpringly, the organization lagging the furthest behind in providing tests is W3C. They have a poorly automated test harness for HTML5 here with 1281 tests but it only covers three of 8 major new technologies in HTML5 – audio/visual, canvas, and some specialized HTML/HTML5 syntax. This leaves a large swath of HTML5 capabilities completely untested by the standards setter. W3C is promising more comprehensive HTML5 testing suite for the 2013-2014 time frame making a mockery of the trend in development towards test first and often [and you thought Washington had a lock on budget muddling].
So developers will have to look elsewhere for a more broad sets of HTML5 tests. But this is the old ANSI SQL standard problem where so many exceptions and standard versions were created that no vendor met the stanadrds – and huge incompatible database silos resulted. The resulting data incompatibilities still plague IT and have given rise to new open database standards like Hadoop and its Huge database variants. The split or poorly administered standards produce a race to the bottom: Software vendors and special interest organizations then fill in the gaps with “free proprietary” extensions. This fragmentation in Web testing is then reflected with tests like ACID which are incomplete or sometimes skewed to show off a particular vendors competence.
Fortunately a few test have been developed that appear to have a)a much broader cross section of HTML5 features tested and b)are open and subject to review of the process. For example, HTML5test.com released on June 22nd its latest generation of HTML5 Testing. The number of indiviual tests was increased by 150 in all categories to a total of 450. Right now HTML5Test is running a close match with Just go to the site and let your browser show off its HTML5 prowess. HTML5 is becoming ever more important as the only cross platform glue for the proliferation of mobile devices and operating systems as Apple, the leader has thwarted all efforts to deliver cross platform Flash, Java, and Program generatorthat all the major browser vendors
So note the following table which summarizes the HTML5and other test results using several measures[all of which can be referenced directly]:
|HTML5 Test of Latest Browsers|
|Test Description||Chrome||Firefox||IE 9||Opera||Safari|
|NA-Not Available, NS-Not Supported|
In contrast, Firefox and Opera vie for most improved with Firefox’s latest versions providing the promise of even faster improvements in compliance and performance. SVG developers will not be surprised by Opera’s good CanIuseSVG compliance and GUIMark2 Vector performance scores. And Firefox users can see that their browser consistently scores second in most compliance tests and achives top ratings for the CanIuseCSS3 and HTML5 demos test.
Chrome consistently scores highest in compliance test taking top spot in the HTML5Test, Sencha Touch, CanIuseHTML5, and in both CSS3 compliance tests. With ChromeOS and ChromeBook being Web devoted systems, Google has every incentive to make their browser work well with W3C standards being led by Googlite Ian Hickson.
But with WebGL and WebCL rapidly coming down the pike for Chrome, Firefox, and Safari, their performance in 3D, games and media graphics processing will undoubtedly improve dramatically. In fact, for Firefox 7 just moving to its own new Azure engine, takes the lead in WebViz graphics performance results. Samsung and others are making WebCL available to show the large speedup available with the open code. The result is that by Fall or Christmas time some dandy browsers should be appearing on the market.
Clearly browser wars are on again and all the major players are investing in Web Browsers as a main interface to the Web Cloud and even in the mobile domain. Google and Microsoft and Apple are committed to browsers [or say they are in the case of Apple] for some of their major PC, Cloud, and mobile/tablet products. But clearly there is some “embrace and extend” dangers here. Witness the battles in HTML5 over Web Database, Multi-touch, Web Workers, Web Offline and Web 3D standards. Of even more concern is the Webkit only philosophy embraced by Apple, Google, RIM, and others . Also CSS3 is seeing a proliferation of special properties for _moz, _wb, _ie etc. Finally W3C is moving slowly on HTML5 in some of the key areas noted above. Even more critical is less than Agile approach to design and testing adopted by W3C – it is reminiscent of the “Fire, Ready Aim” approach to development.
So clearly Web browser development is in for some rapid change. Consider Tom’s Hardware rating of the best browser. That honor is based on an impressive list of tests and has flitted among several browser over the past 2 1/2 years. Currently, it is Chrome [ye Editor agrees]but that honor could change again by Fall.