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February 16, 2011

Mozilla’s Rouget claims IE9 isn’t a modern browser

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by Darren Allan

With the Internet Explorer 9 Release Candidate having trundled out last week to much fanfare from Microsoft, Firefox has had a dig at the now almost-finished browser.

Specifically, Mozilla’s tech evangelist Paul Rouget, who has posted an article on his blog entitled: “Is IE9 a modern browser? No.”

Rouget takes Microsoft to task for the figures it produced when wheeling out the RC of IE9, which used W3C tests to show that the browser supported 99% of HTML5 and 100% of CSS3.

He argues that Microsoft is engaging in some wool-pulling by claiming “caniuse” tests aren’t as useful as the W3C figures the company has quoted.

Rouget explains: “Does IE9 support 99% of the HTML5 specification as insinuated by Microsoft? No, they’re actually pretty far from it. The tests Microsoft are referring to are the ones they created during the development of IE9.”

“It’s not that surprising that they pass the very tests they used to design and develop the browser – we score pretty well against our own unit-tests as well. The primary use case for these tests, however, is to spot regressions and validate code changes. In other words: the tests ensure that future changes don’t break the things you just built. They don’t actually test all elements of a specific standard.”

Under caniuse tests, Rouget claims that examining for all web standards compatibility, IE9 achieves a figure of 61%, compared to Firefox 4′s 87%. Indeed, Firefox 3.6, released a year ago, hits a score of 65%, more than IE9.

On the HTML5 test site, IE9 scores 130, less than Firefox 3.5 which totals 142. Hence the conclusion that as Firefox 3.5 is some two years old, Microsoft’s new surfing hope just isn’t a modern browser. Firefox 4 scores 255 on the test.

These are certainly some interesting numbers, although not everyone agrees with Rouget. Microsoft, for starters, but web developers have also been defending MS on Twitter.

Devon Govett tweeted to Rouget: “[IE9 is] a great step up from IE8, and that is a really good thing. Maybe not 100% there yet, but as a web dev it makes me happy!”

He also noted that most of the technologies Firefox 4 supports over IE9 are bleeding edge, which are “still in flux”, and Microsoft has a different opinion to Mozilla on what’s worth implementing, and when. The dev concludes that “IE9 has enough to be considered modern.”

Rouget replied to him: “I’m happy with IE9. Way better than IE8. Let’s see IE10.”


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1 Comment »
  1. “bleeding edge”?

    Um, you mean like web standards?

    You know, supposed to apply to all developers, instead of doing a Microsoft and ignoring so many that designers had to use custom HTML code just to display webpages properly for IE? :)

    Comment by Brian Turner — February 16, 2011 @ 11:45 am

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