HTML5 Test of Browsers : Feb 2015

TheOpenSourcery looked at the HTML5Test.com  benchmarks for the major browser just 6 weeks ago but HTML5Test changed its grading [read all about it here]so lets see what has happened:

html5test2014
HTML5 Test Dec 20, 2014

webhtml5
HTML5 Test Feb 6, 2015

So what has happened in 6 weeks time? First Maxathon is no longer available for browser comparisons. But like all the top 5 browsers its new HTML5 test score moved backward to 433 one of the biggest declines in the new HTML5Test scoring system.  So Chrome returns to the top with Opera very close behind – the Blink Webkit alliance appears to be paying off for Opera.

Meanwhile, IE lingers at the bottom and not just in HTML5 features as above, but also CSS3 and DOM . So Microsoft’s move to a new Spartan browser to replace the IE line will once again place a Microsoft browser in theWeb-World headlights. Currently IE11 brings up the rear in HTML5 Test by a wide margin 60 points behind the Safari browser.  Will Spartan and its “new” direction help?

Here is what Microsoft is saying about its Spartan browser:

  1. Our new rendering engine will be the default engine for Windows 10, Spartan, and Internet Explorer. This engine has interoperability at its core and consumes the same markup you send other modern browsers. Our standards support and roadmap can be found at http://status.modern.ie.
  2. Public Internet web sites will be rendered using the new engine and modern standards, and legacy Internet Explorer behaviors including document modes are not supported in the new engine. If your web sites depends on legacy Internet Explorer behaviors we encourage you to update to modern standards.
  3. Our goal is interoperability with the modern web and we need your help! You can test the new engine via the Windows Insider Program or using http://remote.modern.ie. Please let us know (via Connect or Twitter) when you find interoperability problems so we can work with the W3C and other browser manufacturers to ensure great interoperability.

So once again we Web “Charlie Brown” Developers will be trying to kick the web browsing football without Microsoft injecting missing standard features and/or proprietary extensions. Since 1995 I would count at least 10 Charlie Brown whiffs and an added 20-30% of development time to make Web apps work with various IE versions. Thank you Bill Gates, Steve Ballmer and Dean Hachamovitch for all the extra and often non-billable work. Here is hoping Spartan is truly a different Microsoft Web experience.

Meanwhile  Apple continues to waver on Web Browser support with new graphic engine link ups, but major gaps in HTML5 as seen above, CSS3 and DOM with no ShadowDOM . Face it Apple makes billions off its proprietary iOS software and devices. This proprietary swing appears to be creeping upward with the split with Google on WebKit.

Most Frequent Gaps

With 90% of the standards being met by the top 3 Web browsers, one would expect to see different deficiencies among the browsers. And to an extent that is true as old divergences on standards support linger. For example MPEG4 is supported by Chrome, IE, Safari and recent Firefox adoption but not Opera. Web SQL Database is supported by Chrome, Opera, and Safari but not Firefox nor IE. Blob database support is true for Chrome, Firefox and IE but not Opera nor Safari. And so HTML5 Web database support remains inconsistent.

Other elements are consistently spurned by all the browser vendors like menu toolbar, menu popup and WebGL 3D. Or the time ad month element rejected by all but Firefox.Ditto for. microdata. But perhaps the most notable inconsistency is the uneven support for Web Security measures. Now given the growing wave of hack attacks both politically and criminally motivated, the last thing Web standards need is major  security  omissions. But Web Cryptography and Web Security API are on the back burner for most vendors. And in a bit of irony Sony is one of the last major vendors to holdout on support for sandbox control of iframes.

In sum, HTML5 compliance is a good measure of overall Web support. Opera and Chrome now are at the top. But two major vendors, Apple and Microsoft, are still engaged in major proprietary strategies. For Microsoft, the question is whether Spartan will bring major improvements or the same old same old.  And Apple still appears to be repudiating the Web  Designers and Developers that  have helped establish the “Apple-is-cool” reputation.