Sunday, September 18, 2011

Acid3 test updated

I find it interesting that the much mentioned Acid 3 test was recently updated.  As a result of this change, IE9 now passes with a score of 100.  Although it is still slow on test 26 and requires multiple tries on test 69.  For those of you who don’t know, the 5 tests that IE9 was failing had to do with SVG fonts and SVG animation, which are not W3C standards.  It would appear that Acid 3 has recognized this fact and removed the test.  My point here is that test suites are only valuable if they correctly implement the standards that they are testing.  Was Acid 3 wrong before?  No, but it was testing for something that it appears is unlikely to become a standard.
A couple of quick tests of the browsers that I have installed using the Acid 3 test shows that all passed but had to retry several times on test 69.  Of the browsers that I have installed only Google Chrome 14 meet the 30fps requirement on test 26.  Interestingly, GC 14 wasn’t the fastest overall in spite of being the leader in test 26.  That honor goes to IE9 at 0.26 seconds.  To compare, Firefox 5.0 took 1.81 seconds, Firefox 6.0 took 2.22 seconds (not sure why it took longer than 5.0), Google Chrome 14 took 0.61 seconds, IE10pp3 running in a VirtualBox took 1.12 seconds.  I discount the speed of IE10 since it could not take advantage of any hardware acceleration due to being the virtual environment and programs in general take about 20% longer to run there. 
So, what does all this mean?  Nothing.  Well, ok, progress is being made.  My major complaint is that Microsoft seems unwilling to provide a fully standards compliant browser for older editions of Windows (Like XP and Vista—Never mind Vista, but XP would be nice).  Now I understand why Microsoft doesn’t want to put all of the new features of IE10 into XP, but it would be nice to see the new rendering engine back fitted to IE8 (maybe call it IE10 Lite).  This would greatly serve to move the web forward without having much if any impact on Microsoft’s bottom line.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Windows 8 & IE10

Ok, I've had a chance to try the new Windows 8 developer preview and IE10. 

First Windows, the new user interface is going to take some getting used to before I like it.  Personally, it feels too much like a smart phone and not enough like a desktop computer.  Still, I see it being a very good choice for touch enabled devices. (Most of your tablets, smart phones and many laptops to come) 

Second IE10, contrary to some reports, you CAN use third party add-ins.  However, at least for now, you can only use them in the "desktop" mode.  The good news here is that I was able to load several popular addins that worked with IE9 onto IE10 without any problems.

The speed of IE10 isn't great at this point (about 10% slower on several javascript tests), but that really isn't surprising. I seriously doubt that Microsoft has even start to optimize for speed yet.  (Bear in mind that this is pre-beta software)  Given the early state of this software it will be interresting to see what level of performance we get once Microsoft fine tunes everything.

Microsoft's continued progress toward standards compliance is nice to see, but more work remains to be done in this area.  There were improvements in every HTML5 test suite that I tried.

A question that remains: Will Microsoft release IE10 before Windows 8?  Personally, I doubt that that will happen, or if it does, it will be days or at most weeks before the release of Windows.