IE9 Tops Chrome, Firefox in HTML5 Compatibility

Internet Explorer 9 has topped all other browsers in conforming with the HTML5 specification, including Google Chrome and Firefox, according to tests carried out by the World Wide Web Consortium.

W3C pitted the just-released version of IE9's developer platform preview against Chrome, Firefox, Opera and Safari, evaluating the five browsers in dozens of tests across seven categories of features.

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IE9 scored 100% in five of the seven categories, including audio, video and XHTML5. Chrome scored 100% in four categories, whereas Firefox and Opera scored 100% in three categories and Safari did so in only two.

The only HTML5 category in which IE9 lags behind its rivals is getElementsByClassName functionality, with IE9's 83% score placing last behind all other browsers. Google achieved a 100% score in this area.

Readers who really want to dig into the W3C tests can run and inspect them themselves at the organization's test runner site.

"Interoperability is important to Web designers," the W3C said in releasing the results. "Good test suites drive interoperability. They're a key part of making sure Web standards are implemented correctly and consistently. More tests encourage more interoperability."

Microsoft's HTML5 score may be troubling to Google, which has prided itself on HTML5 performance and even chided Microsoft on this front. Google recently took the beta tag off Chrome Frame, an add-on to Internet Explorer 6, 7 and 8 that Google says will let users "access modern Web technologies like HTML5 on legacy browsers."

Microsoft, however, has made HTML5 a priority, with CEO Steve Ballmer saying, "The world is pushing down the HTML5 path and so are we."

But despite excitement over HTML5, the specification may not be ready for prime time. A W3C official recently said it's too early for Web sites to deploy HTML5 because of interoperability issues.

Follow Jon Brodkin on Twitter: www.twitter.com/jbrodkin

Read more about software in Network World's Software section.

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