A Modern Browser

A Modern Browser

This morning, Mozilla shared their feelings on IE9 with a post that claims to answer the question, “Is IE9 a modern browser?” While they grudgingly concede that IE9 is “a step in the right direction”, they seem to be operating under a very narrow definition of what “modern” means, that I don’t think matches the dreams that web developers and end-users actually have.

Let me help them with a definition for what we believe users and developers should expect from a “modern browser”:

  • Modern browsers are fast. They take full advantage of the underlying platform to render graphics with the GPU, compile and execute JavaScript across multiple CPU cores and ensure that web applications run as close as possible to the same speed as native applications.
  • Modern browsers enable rich, immersive experiences that could hitherto only be delivered through a plug-in or native application. They can blend video, vector and raster graphics, audio and text seamlessly without sacrificing performance.
  • Modern browsers implement features when they are ready, providing predictable patterns that developers can rely on rather than suddenly breaking or removing specifications. They don’t check off support based on a half-completed implementation written to pass a synthetic test, but validate against a test suite that confirms interoperability.
  • Modern browsers do adopt standards at an early stage of readiness so developers can experiment and validate the specification, but clearly delineate unstable prototypes as such.

It seems that others share this view. The discussion on YCombinator starts with this comment:

Maybe I'm just weird, but I consider issues like performance, reliability, and having a stable foundation to build on to be far more important than supporting your own browser's take on some hypothetical future "standard", which is just IE vs. Netscape all over again. On that basis, IE is currently the only one of the big three that is actually going in the right direction.

And Download Squad concludes its analysis of the Mozilla article with the following:

Don't get us wrong, [Firefox] is an excellent browser -- but more stuff doesn't necessarily equate to better stuff.

To our friends at Mozilla, we admire your passion for the open web, and we look forward to continued competition.

  • Most of the comments are not really addressing IE 9, just rehashing what whiners have been saying (rightly or wrongly) about IE for years. Meanwhile, the users have been amazingly reluctant to moave away from even IE6 - and long after MS was begging and pleading for that to happen just so they could move forward.

    Stop whining and get over it. Users don't give a flying feck at a rolling donut how "hard it is" to write web sites that target multiple browsers. But some of you really need to reconsider what it is you're complaining about in the first place. Take it feature by feature and consider the trade offs involved with implementing each as-is right now with the web the way it exists today. That is what MS has done, and it seems much more developer-friendly than the kitchen-sink approach that FF wants to take - bragging-rights only please a certain segment of users. The rest of them just want the web to work and work fast.

    Judge IE 9 for what it is, and don't try to recreate the past wars. Browser competition is good, and IE 9 has moved ahead of FF in terms of performance. That's why it is now set as default on my machine today. FF wants me back? Show me the performance, because that's what IE 9 has done today.

  • There is no future in internet explorer. Microsoft should just stop developing such a backward browser.

  • > "A modern Browser is available for MORE THAN ONE plattform. IE is Windows only, so it can't be modern."

    There is Safari for Mac. Less then 1% users with linux - hm... No body cares.

  • Dude, none of your points actually refute any of their claims. You just say "They are wrong, here is what is important in a browser." Yes all those things you mentioned are important but thats no excuse for being late to the party, which IE9 clearly is. You don't get a cookie for NOT doing things you ought.

  • A 'Modern Browser' - for most end users - should mean a browser that is capable of diaplaying modern web content.

    If modern web content is being developed with CSS3, HTML5 etc etc ... then a 'modern browser' should be a able to support all of those to as high a degree as possible. (Obviously HTML5 is a grey area but still)

    Partly this is web developer's fault....we may build a site with the latest and greates features (possibly just as a tech-demo) and we tend to abbreviate the compatibility list to "Works in all modern browsers"

    Unfortunately, becuase IE releases are usually YEARS apart rather than months - and these bi-yearly releases are usually less compliant than the competition already out there on release day - we usually have to say "works in all modern browsers - except IE"

    Either your release cycle needs to increase - OR you need to have BETTER support than the others when you release.

  • Tim,

    I have developed on the web for over 15 years. IE has always sucked. Its is the bane of all web developers existence.

    IE has never followed standards properly and it always seems that the code works fine in all browsers except IE. The amount of css and JS hacks that have to be made just so the site works with IE are ridiculous.

    Why don't you guys start by making a browser that works. Then make it modern.



  • I've just seen a blog at people.mozilla.com/.../ie9 saying that IE98 is crap.

    Can't post what I think of their blog there so will list it here.

    "Is IE9 a modern browser? No" - Well modern dose not mean better but newer. IE9 is a year later or newer than the browsers it is comparing with.

    "No CSS3 Transitions (for animations)"! - What is it being translated from? One line of Javascript and you can swap one image (frame) with the next one.

    "Doesn't support JavaScript mode". - Well it supports JavaScript, VBScript etc since IE 3.0

    "Doesn't support CSS3 Flex box model". Don't know what that is but if it's a MODULE then it has been added to the basic program.

    "Doesn't support CSS3 Border Image". It's the only browser that will display a border correctly round a video. Others put the border behind the video losing any rounded corners.

    I think the Netscape fans are panicking that their browser is falling feather behind IE.

  • IE has held back the web and standards for the past 10 years and looks set to continue,  come on MS, get off your box and build a fast compliant browser and we'll gladly use it...

  • www.mozilla.org/.../firefox36.html

    What's waiting the Mozilla team to add a Protected Mode instead of just talking?



    Security has lower priority and a sandboxing system does nothing for them?

  • I think that IE9 is not a modern browser. But,I think that IE9 is a newest basic browser. Hereafter, only IE9 is a browser of the lowest line, and it is necessary to ruin a browser that is inferior to IE9.

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