Mozilla employee: IE9 is not a ''modern browser''

Not even a week after the Internet Explorer 9 release candidate hit the web, a Mozilla tech evangelist has taken a public swipe at Microsoft bragging about web standards compliance.

In a blog post, Paul Rouget takes issue with Microsoft's public chest-beating about IE9's compliance with various standards, particularly HTML5. What appears to have particularly rankled Mr Rouget is a table, included in a February 10 post by IE boss Dean Hachamovitch, proudly proclaiming IE9's near-perfect performance on a bevy of standards tests as compared to other browsers, including Firefox.

Those tests, according to Mr Rouget, are not as objective as Microsoft would have you believe.

''Does IE9 support 99% of the HTML5 specification as insinuated by Microsoft? No, they're actually pretty far from it. The tests Microsoft are referring to are the ones they created during the development of IE9,'' he said.

Given that the tests are effectively in-house, it is unsurprising that the IE9 RC performed so well, he said.

''We score pretty well against our own unit-tests as well. The primary use case for these tests, however, is to spot regressions and validate code changes. In other words: the tests ensure that future changes don't break the things you just built. They don't actually test all elements of a specific standard,'' he said.

Using tests at caniuse.com and beta.html5test.com, Mr Rouget argued that IE9 is far from the modern browser Microsoft paints it to be, before listing more than 15 standards elements that IE9 doesn't support.

''The reality is that IE9 is 2 years late. Microsoft is glad to come out with the video tag, the canvas tag, SVG, and some CSS3. Like other vendors did years ago. Firefox 3.5 had the video tag, the canvas tag, Geolocation, SVG in 2009. Canvas and SVG existed 5 years ago,'' he said.

Given that these accusations are coming from a Mozilla employee, the case for bias is a clear one. Mr Rouget also appears to be somewhat of a lone voice when it comes to strong criticism of IE9's standards support - the release candidate performs quite well when put through a set of W3C tests, though it's worth noting that this particular suite is far from exhaustive. It's possible that after so many years of sub-par standards support from IE, developers are simply glad that Microsoft has finally begun to lift their game.

Image Credit: Myopera.com

Report a problem with article
Previous Story

Microsoft says Zune services are not being killed

Next Story

DoubleTwist serves media from Android devices to Xbox 360, PS3 (and more?)

188 Comments

View more comments

QUOTE: "It's possible that after so many years of sub-par standards support from IE, developers are simply glad that Microsoft has finally begun to lift their game."

Yes, this sums it up nicely. I'm sure that the developers from the other browser teams may be a bit frustrated that IE9 is getting so much attention right now, since they've been embracing these (draft) standards for a while. However, it's just great to see that the road map for IE will not continue to cause headaches for web designers going forward.

As a webdeveloper I don't care if IE9 is not the best browser but it is a huge improvement over its predecessors. Don't get me wrong IE9 is still behind but we still have to support it.

I just give thanks because I hope in the near future my life is going to be easier.

Cocoliso said,
I just give thanks because I hope in the near future my life is going to be easier.
Amen.

I am *really* hoping for a speedy take up of IE9. If they're not going to move to Chrome/Fx, etc ... at least they're not on IE7/8.

I'm sure web devs will have lots of fun in one or two years
"Guys, we have to support WinXP/OS X 10.whatever/some Linux distro/... and the latest Firefox version available on it is FF4...we'll have to write different code for it because the drafts it implemented have changed since then..."

Aethec said,
I'm sure web devs will have lots of fun in one or two years
"Guys, we have to support WinXP/OS X 10.whatever/some Linux distro/... and the latest Firefox version available on it is FF4...we'll have to write different code for it because the drafts it implemented have changed since then..."
Can you explain that in a different fashion? I can't make heads of tails of it. What does web code have to do with OSes? Web devs should code for features supported in browsers that people use, or are about to use. Features prone to potential change are rarely readily accessible.

Kirkburn said,
Can you explain that in a different fashion? I can't make heads of tails of it. What does web code have to do with OSes? Web devs should code for features supported in browsers that people use, or are about to use. Features prone to potential change are rarely readily accessible.

Remember IE6? Well, one of the main reasons everyone's bashing it is because it's not understanding standards the same way as other browsers.
Why? Because the IE team wanted to support drafts and early drafts - when those changed, IE6's support for them became a huge problem since the same code didn't do the same thing in IE6 and other browsers.
Mozilla is doing just that - implementing drafts, non-standards, etc.
Which means that web devs will have lots of fun if they have, for some reason, to support FF4 in a few years' time.

PS : I'm not saying this was IE6's only problem - of course it had other pretty huge bugs.

I really don't think that's an accurate representation at all. IE6 has implementation issues, and they became a problem because IE6 didn't get updates for *years*. Some of it may have been down to attempting to support early drafts (they were pretty much the only browser on the block, so it was down to them anyway, really), but that became an issue because it just didn't get updated and made some use of proprietary stuff.

All other browsers get and continue to get reasonably frequent updates, which helps ensure people don't code for a specific browser version.

We already all knew that FireFox 4 is better than IE 9. Only Hardware Acceleration IE has better cause it's native but even we can't be 100% sure. Ah! The design also! I hate FF's extreme rounded corners on everything but it's easily fixable.

Deo Domuique said,
We already all knew that FireFox 4 is better than IE 9. Only Hardware Acceleration IE has better cause it's native but even we can't be 100% sure. Ah! The design also! I hate FF's extreme rounded corners on everything but it's easily fixable.

BS. Firefox uses Direct2D like Internet Explorer.

day2die said,

BS. Firefox uses Direct2D like Internet Explorer.

Yeah, but FF uses ANGLE to convert OpenGL instructions to DirectX ones. Which means it'll be a bit slower.

i mean there are many things in ie9 that seems downgrade, the lack of customization, the forced UI, the idea of copying chrome its a bad effect that affects not only to microsoft but the same we could say about firefox (the elimination of the status bar its one of many issues)

eilegz said,
i mean there are many things in ie9 that seems downgrade, the lack of customization, the forced UI, the idea of copying chrome its a bad effect that affects not only to microsoft but the same we could say about firefox (the elimination of the status bar its one of many issues)

The UI changes are a shock to most people. I bet if you give them time they will adjust. As far as concerning UI customisation, IE9 remains a browser that targets both the home and corporate user and your typical IT administrator would like to have full control over your pc. Hell, in my previous company they forced an ugly and dark wallpapper to every desktop

I thought that I would take a look at RC, first impressions are mutch better than the last version I seen. neowin.net loaded un cached extremely fast. In fact it was insane, typed in the web address and it was there within... as a gues, probably within 5 seconds easy. Oh dear now I'm stuck between Chrome, Opera, and Firefox. Shista at the moment until Firefox flops out of RC10, RC11, RC12, RC13 and probably RC14. Well maybe not this far but IE9 has my vote at the moment. There is one aspect of IE9 I do like and that is the Development Tools. ideal for Web Dev.

Firefox used to be very good, but its latest beta I tried I hate it, the menu layout is rubbish imo and the speed of it v other browsers is slow/average at best

IE9 is a modern browser because its not yet released, so it must be...It's just not a good browser. Still has poor CSS mistakes and bad usability.

Since when did a browser not save tabs for instance? It's just bad. Microsoft are getting worse at usability again, they were getting good at it. I dread to think what Windows 8 will be like.

SPARTdAN said,
IE9 is a modern browser because its not yet released, so it must be...It's just not a good browser. Still has poor CSS mistakes and bad usability.

Since when did a browser not save tabs for instance? It's just bad. Microsoft are getting worse at usability again, they were getting good at it. I dread to think what Windows 8 will be like.

IE9 scores 100% on finalized CSS 3. There are aspects of CSS 3 that some browsers support and some don't. For example try the voice features of CSS 3 that only Opera currently supports, and then you can say that Firefox and Chrome sucks at CSS 3 too.

Every browser has missing CSS 3 features, and some are purposely not implementing functions that are still under revisions as the specification is not right or has problems.

As for the saving of the tabs, IE9 does this. Just save the Tab Group to your Favorites, you can then reload the entire group with a single click. (IE9 and how Tabs and saving them is a bit more elegant than just trying to remember your last tab settings.)

maybe we're going the wrong way with browsers? Perhaps the w3c, comprised of groups like microsoft, mozilla, apple, adobe, etc should be responsible for putting together a single library that parses and renders html? then anyone who makes a browser is free to use this rendering engine and can only make changes for the particular environment (such as hardware rendering).

seta-san said,
maybe we're going the wrong way with browsers? Perhaps the w3c, comprised of groups like microsoft, mozilla, apple, adobe, etc should be responsible for putting together a single library that parses and renders html? then anyone who makes a browser is free to use this rendering engine and can only make changes for the particular environment (such as hardware rendering).

Yeah, I don't understand why every browser has to render differently, IMO none of them are "right" as they are all different. Firefox is no better, yes it has better support, but still.

Well... in my opinion, the "IEFox" War is, kind of ... stupid ... there are like little childrens.

"i have css3 support"
"i have better windows integration"
"i'm faster than you"
"i upgrade myself with Windows Update"
"my old release its better than you're recent release"

however, google its quieter than those 2, google releases its broswer and then shut its mouse
Google Chrome has the largest HTML5 Support, and has one of the better CSS3 Support.

Commenting is disabled on this article.