acid3 pass For about a month now browser developers have been eyeing the new Acid3 test to see how they can push to meet the standards it tests for. Shortly after the test was released we took a look at how the browsers stacked up to each other, but none of them passed the test. Then just last week both Opera and Safari released test builds that demonstrate their compliance.

What about Firefox? Mozilla co-founder Mike Shaver wrote about his thoughts on Ian Hixie’s Acid3 test, and I think it’s safe to say that he’s not overly fond of it:

Ian’s Acid 3, unlike its predecessors, is not about establishing a baseline of useful web capabilities. It’s quite explicitly about making browser developers jump — Ian specifically sought out tests that were broken in WebKit, Opera, and Gecko, perhaps out of a twisted attempt at fairness. But the Acid tests shouldn’t be fair to browsers, they should be fair to the web; they should be based on how good the web will be as a platform if all browsers conform, not about how far any given browser has to stretch to get there.

Mike then went on to say how they won’t be getting support for the Acid3 test into the Firefox 3 browser, which is completely understandable. It’s very unlikely that Opera and Internet Explorer will be adding support Acid3 for their next major milestone releases either. And Safari just released a new version of their browser, and so their next milestone won’t exactly be soon. It’s obvious that the browser developers need time to test the necessary changes, and I don’t think anyone will criticize them for that.

Ian Hixie, one of the developers of the Acid 3 test, responded to Mike in the comments of his post. Here’s a snippet of what he had to say:

I would love to have tested innerHTML and setTimeout and all kinds of stuff like that, but sadly there is no spec for those yet (other than the very much in-progress HTML5 drafts). We can’t write Acid tests for things that we don’t have a spec for. I’ve been working my ass off for the past few years to write a spec for these things. Hopefully by, say, Acid5, we’ll be able to write an Acid test for them.

With Acid2, the original “first cut” failed a lot in IE, Mozilla, and Safari, but actually did pretty well in Opera. We (Håkon and I) then went on a hunt for Opera bugs and made Opera fare much worse on the test. With Acid3, IE and Opera ended up doing really badly on the first cut, and Firefox and Safari did well, so we added some more things that failed in Firefox and Safari. (Then we added even more stuff that failed in Safari, because they kept fixing the damn bugs as I was adding them to the test.)

Of course you wouldn’t want a bunch of the browsers to pass the test immediately after it is released because it wouldn’t really be doing any good. What are your thoughts about this?

[via ZDNet] Thanks to “Change” for the tip!

There Are 14 Comments

  1. I don’t even see a point of the Acid3 test, or any of the Acid tests for that matter. If Opera gets 100%, does that mean it will render all websites properly? No. Also, some Microsoft websites are meant to be viewed in IE only. Some standardization that is.

  2. Max wrote:
    I don’t even see a point of the Acid3 test, or any of the Acid tests for that matter. If Opera gets 100%, does that mean it will render all websites properly? No. Also, some Microsoft websites are meant to be viewed in IE only. Some standardization that is.

    That’s a good point, but that’s not the fault of the browsers. It’s actually the fault of the designers not adhering to the standards that have been put in place.

  3. I’m kinda w/ u Max, the test does seem counter-intuitive.

    Here’s a list of the common browsers (latest release) in terms of standards compliance (least to greatest)…
    Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari, Opera

    Now here they are in order of site compatibility (least to greatest)…
    Opera, Safari, Firefox, Internet Explorer

    That’s a strong negative correlation (-1) between standards compliance and site compatibility!

  4. Well, his comment:

    “But the Acid tests shouldn’t be fair to browsers, they should be fair to the web”

    is a cop-out. As a web developer, I can tell you that websites today are built to work in browsers. Having a site that is cross-browser compatible is the highest priority. Browser compatibility will trump design every time.

    If web browsers all conformed to the same standard then web developers could finally actually focus on the bigger picture, the web itself, instead of focusing on browsers.

    Get your browsers to render the same based on the same standard, and developers will create a web that lives up to its potential.

  5. netster007x wrote:
    Now here they are in order of site compatibility (least to greatest)…Opera, Safari, Firefox, Internet Explorer

    That’s a strong negative correlation (-1) between standards compliance and site compatibility!

    Yeah, but that’s just because IE has the biggest marketshare and Firefox has tried to make its engine more compatible with how IE displays thing in order to gain marketshare as well. You cannot compare it like that (unfortunately) :)

    I do see the point of Acid2 because the browsers that support that generally support standards better (= easier to develop cross-browser compatible websites), but I’m not sure if this is the case with Acid3 yet. If Mike Shaver is right, the impact of Acid3 on the web experience will be minimal, which was not the case with Acid2.

  6. Change wrote:
    netster007x wrote:
    Now here they are in order of site compatibility (least to greatest)…Opera, Safari, Firefox, Internet Explorer
    That’s a strong negative correlation (-1) between standards compliance and site compatibility!

    Yeah, but that’s just because IE has the biggest marketshare and Firefox has tried to make its engine more compatible with how IE displays thing in order to gain marketshare as well. You cannot compare it like that (unfortunately) :)

    That is exactly right. There is really no correlation (positive or negative) to standards compliance and ability to render a site correctly. Opera takes a lot of steps to ensure that major sites render correctly (such as Gmail), and it’s merely because developers don’t want to take the time to test and debug any problems. With IE8 becoming more standards compliant we might see a more uniform Internet in the future.

  7. For those who have 3.0b5 try this

    about:robots

  8. James wrote:
    For those who have 3.0b5 try this

    about:robots

    That was actually really funny. I especially like what happens when you click the “try again” button.

  9. [tekkie.flashbit.net] So it’s 100 subtests of 100 passed now.

    [tekkie.flashbit.net]

    In this game, Mozilla is quite far behind.

  10. flash tekkie

    Sorry, but you are wrong.

    1. Webkit has passed all 100 subtests for a great while. They have also passed the rendering part of the test since spring. What is new is the announcement that they also pass the smoothness criterion. That is what is “now” – the rest is old news.

    2. Mozilla is not far behind. Their internal builds score 97. They get the rendering part almost perfectly (one really small glitch left).

    In general they are doing a more thorough job on each bug they fix. There is actually one issue unsolved with the test as such!

  11. Firefox 3.1 just hit 93/100 in hourly builds released after today’s nightly build or you can see the results in tomorrow’s nightly build.

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