I’ve been thinking a lot about web browsers lately. Recently a variety of lesser known browsers were in the news as a result of Microsoft’s antitrust case in Europe. I like to test my designs in a variety of browser to be sure they render correctly… I suppose it comes with the territory of designing web pages. Since I’ve been checking out so many different web browsers lately, I thought I’d go ahead and make a post about my thoughts on the different web browsers available out there today. Today? Yes, today. It’s worth pointing out that Opera 10.5 was released today.
Below you will find my ranking of browsers. I’ll explain afterwards a bit about why I ranked each one where I did.
- Google Chrome 4.0
- Opera 10.5
- Mozilla Firefox 3.6
- Apple Safari 4.0
- SeaMonkey 2.0
- Arora 0.10
- Flock 2.5
- Internet Explorer 8
- Sleipnir 2.9.3
- Avant 11.7
- Konqueror (unrated)
Clearly, I’m rating anything older than these versions as unworthy of even considering using. Why would anyone use an out of date browser? Really? You can download a modern browser quickly and easily. I highly recommend everyone do so.
On to my ranking.
Google Chrome 4.0 – It’s fast. It’s efficient. Using the WebKit browser engine, it is highly W3C standards compliant. It meets all CSS2.1 standards as well as some from the draft for CSS3. It passes the Acid3 test with a perfect score. I like it’s smooth clean look. My only complaint is that it doesn’t offer a Print Preview Button. I simply don’t understand why it doesn’t have it.
Opera 10.5 – My initial impressions are that this is a great browser. It has nearly the upside of Google Chrome. I haven’t yet noticed any issues with it’s rendering engine… it passes the Acid3 test with a perfect score. It has that Print Preview Button that I miss when using Chrome. But, unfortunately, it’s bookmarks system is kind of a pain. Maybe it just takes some getting used to. I don’t know. When I put my bookmarks on a bookmarks bar, it messes up the clean new look. I can’t seem to get easy access to a drop-down list of my bookmarks… I have to click around a little bit for it. Chrome just seems easier to navigate to me, but… like I said, it could just be because I’m used to Chrome.
Mozilla Firefox 3.6 – Where Chrome is clean, Firefox is cluttered. But at the same time, the clutter is what makes Firefox so good. It meets most W3C standards and draft standards that Chrome and Opera do, coming up with a 94/100 on the Acid3 test. But it’s real strength lies in it’s add-ons. Working in web design, I’m constantly finding myself checking my designs using add-ons such as Firebug and Page Speed.
Apple Safari 4.0 – It basically is the same as Google Chrome… except that Apple got a bit too fancy for my tastes, and it seems to slow everything down.
SeaMonkey 2.0 – Basically the same as Firefox. A branch off of the same Gecko rendering engine as Firefox, it scores nearly the same at 93/100 on the Acid3 test. I believe it can use all the same wonderful add-ons as Firefox, but I haven’t messed with it too much. It doesn’t seem to have tabs, which is a bit disappointing. I’m sure there’s a greater difference in there somewhere, but I haven’t found it yet.
Arora 0.10 – This upstart new browser looks like it could have real potential. My only complaint thus far is that the CSS3 rendering on text-shadow seems a bit off.
Flock 2.5 – Flock is an interesting little browser. It is focused on Social Networking type stuff. If that’s your thing, it could be a decent browser. Unfortunately, it is using an outdated version of Firefox’s rendering engine, and scores a mere 71/100 on the Acid3 test. It doesn’t display my CSS3 text-shadow properties at all.
Internet Explorer 8 – IE is really making strides in the last few years, but they’ve fallen too far behind the curve. They have little to no support at all for CSS3, and only have partial support of CSS2.1. How a major player in the computer industry such as Microsoft can fail to keep up with the fully adopted CSS2.1 standards, I’ll never understand. I mean, I’m shocked that they aren’t ahead of the open-source projects of WebKit and Mozilla. But they’re way behind. They score a mere 12/100 on the Acid3 test. No sign at all of my text-shadow.
Sleipnir and Avant – All the problems of IE8, but without the good parts. Avant especially annoyed me, as it automatically set itself as my default browser and changed my default search provider without asking me.
Konqueror – I hear it’s great, but the website to download it is just strange, and I didn’t feel like going to the hassle of figuring it out.