Remember Acid2? (It’s the test that ensures browser’s extensive support for web standards. I had a posting about IE7 and how it was faring poorly to the test.)
The good news is that there is already a browser that has passed the test: Safari RSS.
Here’s a pretty interesting list of layout engines. I stumbled upon this list when I was researching if Dreamweaver Studio 8 was using Gecko or Trident, the engines for Firefox and IE respectively. I found out that it doesn’t; DW8 apparently seems to be using Opera’s engine, Presto.
This is very important, in my opinion. In Dreamweaver, it has a preview/WYSIWYG feature that emulates the browser and that means you are viewing your webpage in Opera, which is roughly around 1% of the browser market.
IE7 has yet to see the light of day but it’s already casting a big shadow on developers.
WindowsITPro has an article that apparently does not pull its punches. Some excerpts:
“Web developers are hamstrung into writing to it at the expense of established standards which work equally well”
“My advice here is simple: Boycott Internet Explorer. It is a cancer on the Web, and must be stopped…”
My take on this is this: IE7, whether we like it or not, is slated to inherit a good portion of the existing IE users. And this represents at least two-thirds of the total browser market. It would be unrealistic to expect its user-base to totally disregard the “standard” (Ugh! I cringe at that idea) browser.
However, it is my dream that the majority of browsers will NOT give me headaches in terms of rendering Web Standards-compliant sites. That is why I’d like to see Firefox as the de facto standard browser.
I’ve recently had a chance to get a beta copy of IE7 (don’t ask me how :D) and it promises a lot but also gives a big caveat to developers and designers, especially the web standards kind.
The Good: tabbed browsing, which seems to be the darling feature right now in web browsers. The interface is tweaked a bit (it’s sleeker and actually looks like Firefox) and the anti-phising feature seems to target novice net browsers.
Another improvement is the corrected CSS box model rendering (AT LAST!) This is probably the feature that may alter the course of web design history.
The Bad: Despite the big improvements, IE7 fails miserably WaSP‘s ACID 2 test. This test checks whether the browser can display key CSS features. The final output of the test is a smiley face. The screenshot below is how IE7 renders the test:
Hmmm… Doesn’t look like a smiley face to me.
It’s interesting to see how Firefox’s evolution and the process of getting there.
Also, from a personal note, I believe web designers should test web pages on Firefox.
From the IEBlog, a couple of nice improvements has been developed to be included in the next release of Internet Explorer.
IE’s lack of support of CSS has been almost legendary. From the box model to some erratic behavior, IE has been what keeps web standards from moving forward. I, for one, am glad that Microsoft is addressing some of the issues. (But what will actually be implemented remains to be seen.)