Why I hate Internet Explorer

So, as a web developer, I have to make sure the a web site works in all browsers.  Generally this includes the following:

  • Safari for Mac
  • Firefox for Mac
  • Internet Explorer for PC
  • Firefox for PC
  • Safari for PC
  • Google Chrome for PC

Of course, I could include a few other browsers (Opera for Mac, Google Chrome for Mac – which is still in developer release).  But this covers the major part of what I’m looking at.  And, again, of course, this doesn’t start to address mobile browsers.

But, the basic job of any decent web designer should be to ensure that a web site looks decent and functions properly in ALL major browsers.

To the uninitiated, this may sound like a fairly simple task.  After all, all browsers are basically the same right?

Well the answer is a resounding NO! All browsers are not equal.  Well, to put it a different way, I could say this:  All browsers are almost equal – except for one.  The truth is that most browsers display things and function in basically the same way with one notable exception – Internet Explorer.  Simply put, Internet Explorer (the big blue E from Microsoft), is the worst browser EVER.

Just recently I was working on some “tweaks” to a site and wanted to see how they looked in Internet Explorer, version 8.  And, of course, they looked awful and didn’t work correctly.  So, I went back to the code to see what was missing.  The answer?  NOTHING.  The code was completely correct, however, Internet Explorer had, once again, invented it’s own rules to display things.

This frustration led me to go to one of the online tests for web browser’s standard compliance.  You see, there is an internationally recognized group of people who come up with how things on the internet should be displayed and what the code is to make something look like “X”.  So this international group puts out “STANDARDS”.  A good browser then would be a browser that adheres to the standards, right?

Well, some of the newest standards available can be checked in a test called ACID3. For anyone so inclined, you can find the test at:  http://acid3.acidtests.org.

I thought it might be fun to run each of the six browsers listed below through the ACID3 test and see what we get.  So, here’s the results:

Safari for Mac

Safari for Mac Acid3 Test Results
Safari for Mac Acid3 Test Results

Firefox for Mac

Firefox for Mac Acid3 Test Results
Firefox for Mac Acid3 Test Results

Firefox for PC

Firefox for PC Acid3 Test Results
Firefox for PC Acid3 Test Results

Safari for PC

Safari for PC Acid3 Test Results
Safari for PC Acid3 Test Results

Google Chrome for PC

Google Chrome Acid3 Test Results
Google Chrome Acid3 Test Results

Internet Explorer (8) for PC

Internet Explorer 8 for PC Acid3 Test Results
Internet Explorer 8 for PC Acid3 Test Results

Now, I know that the numbers aren’t the only things that matter.  I know that ACID3 is about more than just the javascript tests.  It also has a display element and render element, etc.

But, I don’t think we really need to go any further than the numbers.  If we take Internet Explorer out of the mix, the lowest score is a 93.  Still a very impressive score – especially considering that ACID3 test some very new HTML specifications – ones that really aren’t being used widely yet.

However, Internet Explorer got a miserable 20 out of 100.  What  a failure.  And, what is sad about this is that Internet Explorer still is the most popular browser (click the graph below):

Web Browser Comparison Graph (click for larger)
Web Browser Comparison Graph

While I continue to test against Internet Explorer, my only hope is that soon, very soon everyone will realize what a bad, bad, bad browser Internet Explorer really is (we haven’t even talked about security…) and switch.  But, I’m probably living in a dream world, right?

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