The newly released sixth preview of Internet Explorer 9 best handles the forthcoming HTML5 standard, followed by Google's Chrome 7 Web browser, according to recent early tests by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C).
The W3C's test suite examined five Web browsers' conformance with seven features of HTML5: "attributes," "audio," "video," "canvas," "getElementsByClassName," "foreigncontent" and "xhtml5." Microsoft's IE9 Platform Preview 6 fared best across the test suite, with 100 percent scores on all but the "canvas" and "getElementsByClassName" categories, on which it achieved 89.6 percent and 83.3 percent, respectively.
Google's Chrome 7.0.517.41 beta placed second, with four 100 percent scores along with 80.6 percent on "canvas," 92.9 percent on "video" and 42.9 percent on "xhtml5." Following Chrome were Firefox 4 Beta 6 and Opera 11.00 alpha (build 1029), both of which achieved three 100 percent scores, and Safari Version 5.0.2 (6533.18.5), which earned two perfect scores. You can see the full suite of scores on the W3C's results page.
A Partial Snapshot
The new HTML5 specification for structuring and presenting Web content has yet to be finalized, but it's anticipated with considerable excitement for its inclusion of features such as video playback that previously depended on third-party browser plug-ins such as Adobe Flash and Microsoft Silverlight.
The W3C's test suite provides only a very early indication of the various browsers' support for the standard, however, and it's important to keep in mind that the suite does not yet include all of the standard's features. Still to be incorporated, for example, are aspects such as the file API, local file storage, and Web workers.
In Video: A First Look at Internet Explorer 9 Beta
Other tests already out there produce different results. The HTML5 Test, for instance, allows Web surfers to get an indication of their current browser's HTML5 support; for me, Firefox 3.6, for instance, scores 139 points plus 4 bonus points out of a total of 300 possible on the site. Then there's the When Can I Use site, which offers compatibility tables for features in HTML5 as well as CSS3, SVG and other upcoming Web technologies.
Still, it's interesting to see where the various browsers fall, particularly when compared with market share. According to Net Applications' new market data for October, Internet Explorer has dropped from 59.7 percent in September to 59.3 percent; Firefox has dipped a bit from 23 percent to 22.8 percent; Chrome has risen from 8 percent to 8.5 percent. At 5 percent, Safari has moved up slightly, and Opera, at 2 percent, has dropped slightly.
Follow Katherine Noyes on Twitter: @Noyesk.