tymshft

There is nothing new under the sun…turn, turn, turn

The one constant – shiny new toys get old very quickly

In the process of writing a post that is scheduled to appear next week, I had occasion to reference a rant that I wrote back in August 2008. At the time, I was an employee of Motorola, and Motorola’s officially-approved web browser was Internet Explorer version 6.

To some people, this was, like, TOTALLY uncool.

In my August post, I referenced a March 2008 post from Offbeat Mammal that discussed the then state-of-the-art. At the time, I didn’t quote Offbeat Mammal’s introductory paragraph, but I’ll quote it now.

IE7 has been available for a couple of years, and IE8 has just gone into beta. Firefox 2 is getting on nicely with v3 in the wings and even Safari with version3 is looking pretty good on Windows. Some people even like Opera (actually, it’s pretty cool on the Mobile platform).

Now there was a portion of the Offbeat Mammal post that I did quote – the one that claimed that it was really really easy to get one of these new web browsers. (The mammal neglected the fact that large multinational corporations do not put software on an approved list until they ensure that the new software works with all of their existing applications.) Let’s look at the justification for getting a new browser, back in 2008.

If all those folks using a version of any browser older than IE7 could just upgrade, get with the program and do their bit (it’s only a few moments to download and install and it doesn’t even insist on a legal copy of Windows these days!) then developers could concentrate on making great web applications using all the cool Ajax, Silverlight and Javascript features without having to worry about testing a load of different quirky behaviors.

It’s interesting to look at this paragraph less than four years after it was written. You see, there’s one technology that Offbeat Mammal didn’t mention.

HTML5.

Even though the HTML5 standard isn’t approved, people are scrambling to support it, pushed in part by the late Steve Jobs’ insistence that Flash was not worth supporting.

And there are tests that can be performed to see if your web browser can handle HTML5.

For example, my favorite 2008 browser Internet Explorer 6 got a score of 25 in the HTML5 test.

Compare that to Internet Explorer 7, mentioned by Offbeat Mammal. That web browser got a much higher score for HTML5 compatibility, scoring a – well, a 26.

Firefox 2 and Safari 3? The HTML5 folks didn’t even bother to test them.

Why not? Because they tested the current versions of those and other programs. Here are those scores:

Google Chrome 17.0 374
Mozilla Firefox 11.0 335
Opera 11.60 329
Apple Safari 5.1 302
Microsoft Internet Explorer 9 141

All these scores are much higher than the scores for the state-of-the-art web browsers in March 2008.

Now to be fair, Offbeat Mammal never claimed that IE7 and IE8 would be the best things of all time. But when I went to look at his blog to see what he was saying about web browsers these days, I discovered that he had switched to blogging more at a Posterous site. But when I visited that site, I was unable to find any postings since December 14, 2011.

He’s probably using Pinterest.

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