The Acid Test, 21st Century Style

For those that might not know, there are a group of tests for a web browser called The Acid Tests, which tests the browser’s ability to render a web display properly (as referenced by the World Wide Web Consortium). These tests are meant to provide benchmarks for browser developers to use to improve their products.

Well, it’s not surprise that in most circles Firefox is considered to be the king of web standards & compliance. It is also widely agreed that Internet Explorer is, in contrast, the nemesis of web standards & compliance. Other browsers are assumed to fall somewhere between the 2.

Recently Apple released Safari 3.1 for Mac & Windows claiming to be faster, more stable and more compliant that other browsers. So, naturally I wanted to put that to the test…the Acid Test.

I decided to pit Firefox, Safari, Internet Explorer (IE) & Opera against each other in the 3 available acid tests to see who really was king of web standards & compliance. I was surprised by my findings.

The Acid Tests
There are 3 Acid Tests, each designed to test a different reference point within the development of web standards. At this point every browser should pass Acid Test 1 & Acid Test 2 without issue. Acid Test 3 is, however, a test of proposed standards and while a browser passing is a good sign, it is not yet something to worry too much about if a browser doesn’t get a 100 out of 100 in the test’s grading.

Acid Test 1
All the browsers passed the first Acid Test.

Acid Test 2
This one was surprising. We had a 50/50 split with 2 browsers passing and the other 2 failing the test. Yes Internet Explorer failed, but so did Firefox. Both Safari & Opera passed.

Acid Test 3
Acid Test 3 isn’t a simple pass/fail test, but rates a browser on a scale of 0 to 100. A 100 being a perfect score of rendering all the items on the page. Surprise, surprise Internet Explorer scored a 5 out of 100 (at least that’s the best I could tell while trying to read the results, as they were mangled beyond almost all recognition). The next worse was Opera, scoring a 46 out of 100. Firefox came in 2nd with a 53 out of 100, leaving Safari as the clear winner with a 75 out of 100.

Who Knew?
I’ve been a rabid Firefox user for years and believed the it to be the best, most compliant browser available. With Apple’s release of Safari 3.1 I need to rethink that assumption and my browser choice.

With the exception of Internet Explorer all the browser are available for Mac & PC users. I tested the latest versions, which were: Internet Explorer 7.0.5730.11, Firefox, Opera 9.26 & Safari 3.1 (5525.13) on both Mac OS 10.5.2 & Windows XP Pro SP2 with all the latest updates (as of this past Tuesday).