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 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.