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Monday, September 27, 2010

Getting ready for HTML5- Browser support

 I return to my Project HTML5 series, immediately after my most recent HTML5 post.

 Here's an index of previous posts in this series, if you've missed any:

 Now for an exciting post about which browsers support HTML5, and how well, so far.  I found a couple of handy resources.  Go ahead and try  Whichever browser you're using, it will give you a detailed, graded report as to how well your browser supports HTML5.  The screenshot below shows MY result when I tried the site about an hour ago.  For the curious, my OS is Windows XP (don't laugh), and the browser I was using (and the browser I use most often) is Google Chrome 6.0.472.63 beta, the most recent version of Chrome as of this writing.

 So, my favourite browser does fairly well with HTML5.  But with 217 out of 300, there's some room for improvement.  Hopefully, by Chrome 7, all of HTML5 and CSS3 will be supported, with all related attributes for tags.  With my most recent version of Chrome 6, most of HTML5 is excellently supported, with the exception of the <device> tag, parsing other than <!DOCTYPE html>, Microdata and WebGL.

 Other than Chrome, Firefox 3.5, Safari 4 and Opera 10 are looking pretty good.  

 The sad story is about Internet Explorer 7 and 8.  There's very little HTML5 support in even IE8.  There's hype about IE 9, which will be released soon, but even IE 9 won't support HTML5 and CSS3 as well as the more recent versions of Google Chrome, Opera, Safari and Mozilla Firefox do.  

 As a web designer, the popularity of Internet Explorer concerns me.  Whenever I see someone use any version of IE at home, what that says to me is that this person either is too lazy or not computer literate enough to Google the name of another browser and go to the pertinent websites to download it.  As most of us know, if someone is running a Microsoft Windows OS, such as XP, Vista or 7, a version of IE will be pre-installed.  

 As a web designer, it bothers me because IE is still used to access the Web 30-40% of the time, so if I don't keep IE in mind in my web design, a significant percentage of my visitors will see a crappy looking website.  If IE, even the hyped new version 9, had excellent support for HTML5, CSS3, or even more recent versions of JavaScript, I could simply optimize my web design the way I do for Chrome, Opera, Safari and Firefox and rest easy.  But when the sites I maintain, and are optimized for HTML5 in the next few weeks, I'm going to have to have an alternate version of all of the web pages for IE 7, 8, and 9, with a JavaScript redirect applet on both index.html pages.  I'm concerned about how that may affect SEO (search engine optimization), too.

 Even if more home users wise up to how IE sucks, I've still got to consider how, when people are web surfing at work, IE will still be a significant issue.  Most white collar workplaces only allow their employees to use a version of IE.  I think that's because, as a Microsoft product, it's easier to apply NT style user and workgroup rights and permissions to IE and it's features.  Keep in mind, IE isn't necessarily more SECURE than other browsers, just that it may be easier for IT departments to restrict employees' web surfing with IE.  In those environments, even if an employee wanted to download and use another browser, the permissions and rights on their user account won't allow them.

 If you ARE able to download and use another browser and you're using ANY version of IE, including 9, I strongly suggest that you download another browser NOW, for the sake of your overall WWW use.

 There are download links below:


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