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?

    Palmer says:
    09/28/2009 Reply

    I like Firefox and am okay with Chrome but I’m going to keep using IE until someone shows me a way to make Firefox work with Outlook easily.

    mathcreative says:
    11/04/2009 Reply

    bad browser Internet Explorer really is (we haven’t even talked about security…) ” I thought that IE8 was more secure then firefox.

    Eric says:
    11/04/2009 Reply

    mathcreative – great response. There are tests out showing IE 8 blocking more malware, and identifying more phishing sites.

    But, some don’t trust the test as they were paid for by Microsoft.

    Here’s a link for yourself:

    http://bit.ly/4ozBep

    But, this doesn’t address the fundamental problems with ActiveX controls in general… Still a problem.

    Thanks for the conversation.

    cata says:
    03/05/2010 Reply

    I woke up this morning after having a wonderful dream; a web without IE!

    IE Fudger says:
    03/30/2010 Reply

    IE is not just the worst for the above reasons, but also because MS don’t give you any decent tools to figure out why their own browser doesn’t display things right, or operate Javascript correctly. If MS seriously wants to be a web enabled company, as they declared over a decade ago, then wouldn’t they support developers by giving them tools so make their stuff work?

    And developer tools ? please ! don’t even mention it, I install it every time I reinstall my software and without fail I open Notebook to fix code, because it’s faster. Firebug rules!!

    If

    IE Fudger says:
    03/30/2010 Reply

    Oh, and another thing. MS is not the leader any more, see http://www.w3schools.com/browsers/browsers_stats.asp
    I remember when MS first gave away IE for free, and sitting in at a MS convention and hearing them boast that their browser share was increasing (yeah, because you had to have it!). But even just this year MS still ramble as if people like the browser because they HAVE to have it. So sad. MS can’t even force people to use their browser, they’re losing market share.

    People are starting to wake up.Thankfully!

    Louie Sibeto says:
    08/13/2010 Reply

    yes it is possible to

      Eric says:
      08/13/2010 Reply

      Louie – Thanks for joining the conversation…. Looks like we missed some of your commets?

    Front Page says:
    08/15/2010 Reply

    Why do you need all these weird coding to develop a website? My web designs are never browser-selective, they even work the same with IE5 😉

      Eric says:
      08/15/2010 Reply

      Front Page – thanks for joining in the conversation. I’m sure we’d all love to see some of the sites you’ve developed that work on IE5. Have you tried them out on Firefox, Google Chrome, Mac vs. PC, etc.? A larger and larger percentage of web visitors are NOT using Internet Explorer and we need to make sure we write web site that work for ALL browser.

      Simply put, this means writing STANDARDS COMPLIANT code. The only problem is that many time Internet Explorer ignores commonly held standards. Hence the problem.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.