Please stop trying to make a web browser.
People will claim that I am a huge Microsoft fan/spokesperson, but the honest fact of the matter is that I simply like what works. If it does its job well, then it’s a win in my book. If it goes above and beyond what it needed to do, then it gets bonus points. Some special features aren’t really useful to me, so I don’t factor them into my grading. Sometimes this means I rank Apple products rather highly. Sometimes I prefer Microsoft products. I rarely like Unix/Linux items (no features, no “above and beyond”, and requires three weeks of work to get it to do what I need? No thanks). Overall, though, I think I’m pretty balanced about what I consider “good” in the technology world.
So then why my plea to Microsoft?
Well, let’s assume you aren’t one of the millions of people who already hate Internet Explorer. Let’s pretend today is your first day on “teh interwebs” and you have no idea what else is out there. You have programs called browsers, which you use to “browse” web pages (hence the name). There are five major browsers in the world right now: Microsoft’s Internet Explorer, Mozilla’s Firefox, Apple’s Safari, Google’s Chrome, and Opera. All other minor browsers are actually just shells that run one of these other browsers as the core.
Of all these, it would be argued that Internet Explorer has been around the longest. Netscape Navigator came out about the same time, but closed doors in the late 90’s. The technology used by Navigator was later picked up and the rendering engine was used in Firefox. Since it has been around for so long, many web pages have been built specifically for Internet Explorer. By design, the web is supposed to be open to all standards. However, because Internet Explorer was always a little . . . quirky in how it rendered web pages, people started actually breaking their web pages so they’d at least look normal in IE.
It actually got so bad, that Microsoft finally overhauled the rendering engine that IE uses (called Trident) to finally be compliant with all the open standards of the web. While you think that would have actually fixed things, it was soon clear that the newest IE, version 8, couldn’t even render pages made for IE7! There’s actually a test to see how well a browser renders a web page called the Acid3 test. I’ll admit I’m not entirely sure how or what is being testing, but it’s touted as the baseline benchmark for all modern browsers. I happen to have all modern browsers installed on my computer, so I thought I’d give it a test.
Even my phone was able to pull a 100/100 on the test! Well, how about another test? Sure, we know that IE can’t display things correctly . . . but it has to be fast, right?! Right?!?!
You can access this benchmark yourself at home by going to http://www.futuremark.com and clicking on the “Peacekeeper” benchmark. In it, it tests a browsers ability to quickly render HTML, API’s, Java, Ajax, and on-the-fly HTML editing. A 916 IE? Really? That was after I stopped using the 32-bit version (which got a paltry 901) and went for the “faster” 64-bit version. I also expect this chart to silence all the people who keep going on and on with “You have to use browser X! It’s so much faster!” The one I use trounced all of yours, so please stop telling me I don’t know because I haven’t tried it. (Side note: Chrome 18.104.22.168 is actually not out yet. It’s a developer’s release version similar to an Alpha build. And it still beat the crap out of IE)
Bottom line is that Internet Explorer needs to be put down. There’s simply no place for it anymore in the world. The mobile version is utter crap. The Mac version was discontinued at v5.0 (which was crap when it was new). Microsoft, seriously, get with the picture! You give us something as wonderful as Windows 7, but then bundle IE8 with it? Yes, I know you said we can uninstall it (a first for Windows, by the way), but what good is that when so many websites we need to use everyday will ONLY work with the broken standards that you don’t even support anymore?