Print 71 comment(s) - last by Belard.. on Mar 13 at 12:01 AM

The reference rendering for how the Acid3 test should look.  (Source: Web Standards Project/DailyTech)

Current versions of both Internet Explorer 7 (top) and Firefox 2 (bottom) fail the Acid3 test catastrophically.  (Source: Tom Corelis/DailyTech)
Putting browser makers on notice, again

Just a few months after the announcement that Internet Explorer 8 successfully passed the Acid2 standards compliance test, the Web Standards Project (WaSP) announced last Monday that it unleashed Acid2’s successor, Acid3.

Created to identify flaws in the way a browser renders its web pages, WaSP’s Acid tests throw down the gauntlet with difficult-to-display graphics written to accentuate browsers’ quirks. When the original Acid test was released in 1998, it helped reign in browser inconsistencies and insured that Internet Explorer, Netscape, and others handled HTML code according to specification – making web designers’ lives easier and ensuring the web rendered consistently in the future.

Acid2, with its focus on Cascading Style Sheets, seems quaint in comparison to Acid3’s objectives, which target major web standards expected to see use today and in the future. Tests are derived from many of the last few years’ development in the web’s control languages, including rendering graphics embedded in HTML code, CSS3 compliance, DOM compliance, CSS2 downloadable fonts, as well as handling new graphics formats and Unicode support.

Currently, no known browser is able to correctly render the Acid3 test, which displays an animated, incrementing score counter and a series of colored boxes with some description text. Bloggers have already assembled galleries of browsers’ failing test results, with most of today’s browsers scoring between 40 and 60 on the test’s 100-point scale. The results shouldn’t be too alarming as the Acid tests have always been forward-looking in nature, and are designed to measure standards to aspire to, as opposed to what’s current. Also note that more than six months lapsed between Acid2’s release and Safari 2.02’s announcement that it was the first to pass Acid2.

Anecdotal reports around the web seem to indicate that nightly builds of the next versions of Firefox and Safari are reportedly achieving Acid3 scores in the 80-90 range.

Given the state of the web today – where web designers will often write two versions of a web site: one for Internet Explorer and one for everyone else – Microsoft’s announcement that Internet Explorer 8 passed Acid2 is all the more important. Currently, each new version of Internet Explorer keeps older versions’ flaws for compatibility, resulting in a confusing state of affairs for web developers.

The release of IE7 complicated matters further, as it shipped with both an IE6-compatibility mode and a somewhat-standards-compliant IE7 rendering mode, with an easily overlooked method for switching between the two.  As a result, Internet Explorer earned a nasty reputation among web design circles, with developers writing safe, proven websites that worked universally instead of rich websites that exercised their languages’ full features.

In time, it is hoped that Internet Explorer 8 will see the end of this rift, as it will ship with the new Acid2-passing standards-compliant mode switched on and used by default. For those that want to test Internet Explorer 8 out on your own, Microsoft already released the Beta 1 version of the browser.

Comments     Threshold

This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled

By Spoelie on 3/6/2008 6:33:26 AM , Rating: 5
Except that most of the time, you're wrong.

Faulty rendering stems mostly from the fact of developers NOT reading the standard and interpreting tags, etc. their own way.

A very simple example, if you define a width of an element and a border, does that width account for the border or not? This is described in the standard but historically rendered differently in IE vs others, where IE would not adhere to what the standard said a width should be.

If your logic was correct, then their would be one browser that always gets 100%

By Alexstarfire on 3/6/2008 9:41:43 AM , Rating: 2
How did using different standards even come about? You make a valid point in that you wouldn't really know unless you read more. I believe it shouldn't count, and no I don't know if it does or not. I took one semester of web design and that's it. I don't make any web pages. Of course, I always just tested the stuff out and figured it out myself. I mean, if every browser renders the EXACT same way then you wouldn't have to go read all of the stuff. Why do browsers render stuff differently to begin with?

By BansheeX on 3/6/2008 9:55:21 AM , Rating: 5
There is only one "standard," but if IE is used by 90% of web users, and IE is written outside of the standard, guess what web developers do... they don't follow the standard, they follow IE's flawed deployment of the standard. Otherwise, 90% of the people visiting their site are going to see errors.

By thartist on 3/6/2008 1:22:07 PM , Rating: 2
That's what is trying to be done, thoroughly impulsed by Acid tests and with the compliance of other than MS's browser.

If EVERYONE adheres to the standards, everyone will get things right, besides what IE has already done to webpages.

It had to start sometime.

By robinthakur on 3/7/2008 5:07:28 AM , Rating: 4
Actually most web developers I know, myself included, do make two 'versions' of a site as part of their workflow. One version is for Firefox, IE7, Safari etc. which you might need to tweak and the other is for IE6. Its not quite as simple as writing two seperate style sheets either, its (sometimes) creating two different set of graphical layouts to account for the fact that you never know whether IE6 will even render the transparency properly, even with all the hacks out there (i.e. content on top of transparent CSS background etc.) plus all the issues with the box model which can be worked around with some effort. Its a complete pain and completely unecessary and those days need to end as soon as possible. In the ccontext of an individual project, you wouldn't believe how much time this takes.

While I don't hate Microsoft at all, I in fact develop in, in this situation, if you pack in a browser which 90% of the world uses with the OS, make sure that it doesn't hold back the progress and development of the internet due to not supporting the major standards properly. Considering that an internet browser is possibly the most used computer application this is inexcusable.

I would far rather people adhere to the Acid tests as gospel for CSS implementation than anything else, although they really shouldn't need to. They are built using real world standards compliant code so I don't really see why you wouldnc't want to...

Despite there being differing 'interpretations' of the rules at the end of the day they are pretty clear cut and the functionality which browsers should provide in css2 and css3 is hardly a recent thing. When you consider that virtually no serious refresh was done on the most used web browser out there (I.E.6 was released in 2001) for about 6-7 years, Microsoft opened the way for Firefox themselves and are now having to play catch up. Instead of focussing on bolt-ons like the phishing filter, just render the pages correctly, that is the whole point of a web browser.

By Screwballl on 3/7/2008 12:59:50 PM , Rating: 2
agreed.... too bad it has taken MS 10 years just to come close to standards compliant. Many deployment experts are stepping away from using hacked versions of the code just to work with Internet Explorer and suggesting that if a page doesn't work or render properly, to get Firefox or IE7.

By robinthakur on 3/10/2008 7:15:38 AM , Rating: 2
Unfortunately, these deployment experts are unlikely to convince organisations which are heavily entrenched with Microsoft to use Firefox, despite the benefits. This also does not alter the fact that for extranets and internet pages, the major browser population is still, sadly, IE6. Therefore its simply not feasible to ignore it in all cases. A not inconsiderable number of people still avoid upgrading to IE7, not least because it messes with some games on XP. Its a chicken and egg situation really promulgated by MS's non standards compliance which is going to take a few years even after IE8 is released before we start to see partial resolution.

By jackedupandgoodtogo on 3/6/2008 10:37:50 AM , Rating: 3
Of course if they all rendered exactly the same, you're either following the standards (if all the browsers rendered per the standards) or everyone's created their own standard.

Browsers don't render exactly the same way because each development team interprets, codes, and prioritizes the features differently. The only way to have all browsers act the same is to either interpreted and implemented the rules the same or they copy each other's implementation.

By porkpie on 3/6/2008 9:49:40 AM , Rating: 1
If your logic was correct, then their would be one browser that always gets 100%
That's just silly. There's a hundred tests in Acid3, each containing several assumptions about how the standard should exactly be written. Unless a test was written specifically to a certain browser, its going to fail at least some of them.

And for you MS haters who rate down anything you think is positive about the company, I never said IE wasn't worse than other browsers, and didn't have actual coding errors. But interpretation of ambiguous standards is part of the problem and it explains why no browser will ever get 100% on a test like this unless they code specifically for it.

By jackedupandgoodtogo on 3/6/2008 10:53:54 AM , Rating: 2
You're assuming the ACID test is just another browser's interpretation of the standards, which misses the intent. If there was one "correct" interpretation of the standards, and it demonstrates the results, every real browser should strive towards the same results. If you don't believe the ACID tests reflect the standards, then you're correct that it is just another interpretation.

Given that the tests are supposed to be the benchmark for the standards, the browser dev teams can use the benchmarks as a visual goal for compatibility to the standards text, which a lot of times can be confusing and interpreted differently.

By glennpratt on 3/7/2008 10:30:49 AM , Rating: 2
Please list some assumptions made by the Acid tests that you believe are wrong. Until then you have no point.

By noirsoft on 3/6/2008 12:43:22 PM , Rating: 2
In this particular case, IE rendered in accordance with the standard established long ago for printed pages, and the clarification for web standards that dictated the opposite (and IMO wrong) behavior came out AFTER the version of IE (I think this was in the IE 5-6 timeframe)

"I f***ing cannot play Halo 2 multiplayer. I cannot do it." -- Bungie Technical Lead Chris Butcher
Related Articles

Most Popular Articles5 Cases for iPhone 7 and 7 iPhone Plus
September 18, 2016, 10:08 AM
Laptop or Tablet - Which Do You Prefer?
September 20, 2016, 6:32 AM
Update: Samsung Exchange Program Now in Progress
September 20, 2016, 5:30 AM
Smartphone Screen Protectors – What To Look For
September 21, 2016, 9:33 AM
Walmart may get "Robot Shopping Carts?"
September 17, 2016, 6:01 AM

Copyright 2016 DailyTech LLC. - RSS Feed | Advertise | About Us | Ethics | FAQ | Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information | Kristopher Kubicki