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IE9 the best browser? Not so fast !


ShyWriter

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IE9 the best browser? Not so fast !

by Stephen Shankland | November 3, 2010 12:32 PM PDT

It began innocently enough--a promotional blog post about Microsoft's newest version of Internet Explorer 9. But in less than a week, it became an illustration of just how rapidly misinformation moves through a hot and increasingly important corner of the software market.

The browser market was already competitive a year ago, but the arrival of IE9, currently in beta testing, has added even more energy to the competition. That's because Microsoft has placed support for a host of modern Web technologies front and center, transforming IE from a drag on the Internet into an ally in developers' efforts to bring everyone a more powerful Web.

IE6, nearly a decade old but still widely used, has saddled Microsoft with a reputation for browser neglect. So what could be more eye-catching than the news that IE9 not only is back in the game, but that it leapfrogged the competitors?

Alas, as with many good stories, the truth turns out to be less dramatic and but harder to find. The IE9-is-better idea triggered teeth-gnashing on a Web standard mailing list and a hastily published disclaimer by the World Wide Web Consortium that's developing many of those Web standards.

The episode shows the difficulties of keeping track of a browser market in the throes of breakneck change. Even those creating the yardsticks to measure the progress struggle to keep up.

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IE9 and standards support

What happened with IE9? Last week, Microsoft released the sixth "platform preview" version of IE9. At the same time, browser makers had begun submitting test results to a new W3C suite of HTML5 standards compliance tests.

When Microsoft discussed the new IE9 version on its IEBlog, the company included a link to the tests, calling them "an early version of the W3C's Official HTML5 Test Suite Conformance Results."

Shortly after came the headlines: "W3C Says IE9 Is Currently the Most HTML5-Compatible Browser" from Slashdot. "IE9 Outperforms Other Browsers for HTML5 Compliance" from ReadWriteWeb. "IE 9 Beats Chrome, Firefox, and Safari on Official HTML 5 Test" from Windows IT Pro.

Then came the alarmed reaction by those creating the standards. The W3C page, it turned out, was preliminary at best.

"This test suite is vastly incomplete. Publishing unverified results of a vastly incomplete test suite without a big fat warning is extremely silly. Why was this done?" said Anne van Kesteren, an Opera developer who works on standards issues, in a mailing list posting Tuesday.

Added Ian Hickson, the Google employee who's editing the HTML5 specification, "I agree with Anne that it's rather pointless to be publishing results for this test suite. Realistically speaking the test suite isn't even 0.1 percent complete yet."

Shortly after, the disclaimer arrived on the Web page with the results: "The HTML5 test suite is still being developed. The number of tests and the results on these tests will change. The results in this document may be updated, replaced, or obsoleted by others documents at any time. It is inappropriate to cite those results as other than work in progress and unstable."

Read the complete, fascinating story at: http://news.cnet.com/8301-30685_3-20021606-264.html?tag=mncol

~Shy

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Goodness. We're not reduced to the "either one or other" discussions are we? Listen up. I use 3 browsers and love them all for their various strengths - and weaknesses. Just like having 3 close friends. FF deletes my flash cookies, chrome is fast and cute, IE9 is the most standards compliant (Yes, it is!). And many other reasons too. Those were just the ones that came to me in 6 seconds or less.

Stop this "Which is better? Ford or Chevvy?" rubbish. It just downgrades the whole human race to neanderthal status again.

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That's just stupid. Organizations/Companies/whatever shouldn't encourage the use of IE6. What's better losing money because of IE6 being targeted or spending lots of money on upgrading? I would do the later. Move to the present people. You're almost 3 browsers behind.

They shouldn't be using an incomplete test solution. Gives credit when it may not be deserved. Not saying IE9 is bad, but it doesn't give out accurate results.:)

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I agree Wayne.. As for me, while I'm partial to Firefox, I have all the name browsers installed on my computer except Opera - just doesn't appeal to me. And while it might not be obvious to the casual reader, I am news neutral when it comes to posting messages with stories or excerpts about the different browsers. I've posted about flaws and bugs in IE8, IE9beta, Firefox and Chrome in just the past 7 days alone. There are MORE stories about IE because IE is what the business/computer writers want to write about. I can only report from whatever mix I am given, and I am also limited by the number of news posts I'm allowed to make due to Board policy so what gets posted (without my own personal comment) is whatever is of most interest to the most number of users-at-large.

When I post a personal opinion, it's MY opinion.. When I post News, it's NEWS by an author with his/her own opinion or agenda; I *have* to remain non-committal/neutral or otherwise I would be affecting the NEWS instead of reporting it.

Anyone that has a problem with my integrity, and/or neutrality, can feel quite welcome to IGNORE my posts via their CONTROL PANEL in MY CONTROLS. :D

'nuff said,

~Shy

PS: Thanks Wayne.. for covering my back. *wink*

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I agree Wayne.. As for me, while I'm partial to Firefox, I have all the name browsers installed on my computer except Opera - just doesn't appeal to me.

~Shy

PS: Thanks Wayne.. for covering my back. *wink*

Opera is okay, but I don't like how bookmarks are managed. I use it in my vm's instead as I feel I should use it as I use their blog service.:D Use Chrome to, but mostly because of the translation service for hunting malware.:)

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