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Browser competition makes the web better

Browser competition makes the web better

In the browser wars of the early 90’s, competition between Netscape and Internet Explorer brought about proprietary HTML extensions (layers, anyone?), and “This site was built for Netscape Navigator” messages.

This time around, there are organizations like W3C, and WaSP to give the competitors a goal to shoot for. The Acid2 test has started to shake things up, by setting a standard that anyone can test browsers against. At the moment, the only browser that passes the test (that I have installed) is Safari. Internet Explorer 8 Beta also passes the test, but I haven’t installed that browser, since I need to keep a standard browser around for testing sites. Similarly, recent betas of Firefox 3 also pass the test, but I haven’t tried them.

Since Safari 3 has come out of beta, it’s been pushed out through Apple’s Software Update (the same one that updates iTunes). While Mozilla and other open-source advocates object to this method, it means that there will be a huge jump in the number of people not using IE6 which is a huge step forward for end users and web developers.

browser compitition for web   Browser Statistics

Like most of my web-savvy peers, I’ve been recommending Firefox for 3 years now. It looks like we’ve made pretty substantial progress. Firefox was built to adhere closely to web standards, and to have a small footprint (relative to the entire Netscape/Mozilla suite), and it was free and cross-platform. At this point, though, I’m comfortable with current browsers from Apple, Microsoft, Opera, and Firefox. I’ve spent so long training myself to avoid the things that make IE6 behave badly, that IE7 just works in most cases.

IE7 has been listed as an high-proirity update, which makes it much easier for us to recommend that clients update their browser, or switch away from IE6. When IE8 is released, the increased version number will make it even clearer to people that IE6 is dead. I’m happy that it’s not being called IE7.5 or anything ridiculous like that 😉 . At that point, I hope I won’t need to be telling anyone about browser versions, since they’ll likely at least have IE7 or Safari, which render web pages just fine.

Note: This is not to say that we do not provide cross-browser compatible sites, including IE6. Just to say that IE6 makes me grumpy, and I’m glad to see it go.

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