The Olympics…for browsers

InformIT.com, a strange site that always suprises with great content, has an article up today called Searching for Substance: Web Browser Olympic Scorecard. In it, Nigel McFarlane “boils down all the competition between browsers into a single score for each browser.”

The premise is that a “web browser should strive to give the user perfect access to the World Wide Web. Not good access or great access, or this week’s access — perfect access. That goal might sound achievable, but it turns out to be something of a technical Holy Grail. It turns out that issues such as big buttons and smart, labor-saving features are far easier to achieve than silent, perfect access. Perfect access is what web surfers need, though. If the TV has drifted off the station, putting it into a nice cabinet won’t help. You need a clear picture.”

The four contestants are Microsoft’s Internet Explorer, Mozilla, Opera and KHTML/Safari. There are 5 events:

  1. Recognize the type of any web document
  2. Recognize the content of any web document
  3. Understand the content of the web document
  4. Display the web document
  5. Keep users safe from villains on the web

I’ll let you read the article for all the good details, but here’s the summary:

Competitor Score
Mozilla 4.87 (97%)
Opera 4.87 (97%)
KHTML 4.78 (96%)
Internet Explorer 2.79 (56%) or 3.79 (76%)

The tie between Mozilla and Opera is no doubt contentious. Such
a tie is good for consumers, though. Even if IE gains points for setting de
facto display standards instead of using public standards, it still lags behind
the other browsers. It’s pretty clear from these scores why the confidence
of the other browser engine makers is sky high at the moment. IE is being left
behind
, and anyone who has done this kind of analysis knows it. No wonder
there’s a browser war.

(emphasis mine)