By Andrew Tetlaw

Really? IE9 100% Compatible with HTML5?

By Andrew Tetlaw

Visiting the IE Test Center site you may be forgiven for thinking that IE9 has scored 100% compatibility with HTML5. They have constructed a test results table that compares the current IE9 platform preview with current versions of all the other major browsers. IE9 scores 100% on all of their tests, even the one labeled “HTML5.”

However, on closer inspection, it’s clear they’ve only added tests for a very limited subset of functionality under the HTML5 label:

  • HTML5 JavaScript text selection API
  • Embedding SVG in HTML
  • The JavaScript getElementsByClassName function

HTML table of test results showing IE9 scoring 100% for all tests

So, it’s not really a HTML5 compatibility test. As Dave here at SitePoint HQ succinctly put it:

We’ve created this IE9 conformance test suite and we’ve concluded that none of these other browsers are IE9.

Visiting The HTML5 Test website paints a completely different picture. From the testing I did, the best browser was Google Chrome 5, which scored 142/160, Safari 4 achieved 120, Opera 10.5 received 38102, and Firefox 3.6 scored 101. The worst scoring browsers were IE8 and the second IE9 platform preview; both scored 19/160.

To demonstrate that anyone can play the test results game, the Internet Explorer 9 HTML5 Canvas Campaign site has published a set of HTML5 test results that demonstrate IE9 consistently scoring 0%.

Personally, I’m excited about IE9. Who’d have thought Microsoft would have ever natively supported SVG? It’s also way too early to tell how well IE9 will support technology like HTML5 and CSS3; we only have an early platform preview so far. I have high hopes, though!

In the meantime, blatantly misleading test results like this help no one and only create confusion and mistrust.

  • chillybin

    Interesting stuff

  • Anonymous

    One group who will be helped by this misleading info is web designers and in-house IT people. Yep, that’s right.

    Web designers will be helped because normal people who don’t know any better will thing IE9 is great and upgrade. These aren’t the sorts of people who are going to use Chrome, Safari, Firefox or Opera. They use IE because it’s what they know. If they think IE9 is a significant improvement, they’ll want it more.

    IT people have a similar situation. There’s no way a company that’s IE/Microsoft-centric is going to switch to a different browser, no matter how much they’d benefit. So if the IT staff can point to data saying IE9 is awesome in every way and more than worth the time it takes to upgrade and retrain, the adoption rate will increase.

    Yes, it’s false information. Yes, it does make people in the know distrust Microsoft for their blatant lying. They’ve done it before with IE (remember when IE8 was the most secure browser?) and they’ll do it again. At the end of the day I just try to remind myself that as long as people upgrade from lesser versions of IE to IE9 it’s all for the best.

    Until then I’m stuffing my fingers in my ears, closing my eyes and singing show tunes.

  • iconiK

    Why doesn’t Microsoft switch to WebKit operating-system wide? WebKit is under the LGPL and thus it can easily be used by any application with very little legal implications. Besides, being LGPL’d means Microsoft is required to make available any changes, so if the innovate in an area the competitors can use the same code (if they use WebKit – and port it to another OS if applicable) so the web is improved as a whole.

    Supporting applications that embed Trident is doing only one thing: provide a COM interface just like mshtml.dll does – actually, just replace that DLL with one with the same interface but doing the work using WebKit; I bet someone around this world has made a proof-of-concept replacement.

    If you are concerned about WebKit dominating just like IE did – it’s not possible, since the WebKit source code can be used and modified by anyone and must be left accessible to everyone – having a free software rendering engine dominate is not the same at all as having a proprietary browser AND rendering engine dominate.

  • “Opera 10.5 received 38”

    Huh? I get 102.

    • Same here, 102 with 10.53 on Win7. Maybe a different result on Mac?

  • Tweedle

    I’m viewing in Opera 10.53 right now, and it’s giving me a score of 102. Where did you get 38 from!?

  • jmaan

    Thats the problem with bloggers and web trash. HTML 5 specification is still not a specification and HTML 5 test sites are not yet ‘standard’ and approved. Hell we still dont have a clear choice of video codec to use. I for one applaud M$ efforts in this regard.
    This is almost the same as when people quote Acid 3 like it is a difinitive test for compliance. Acid 3, as per me, is the worst test ever since it does not test most real world scenarios. I am a web developer. I love firefox. But give M$ credit where they deserve.

    • Ahmad Alfy

      Give Microsoft Credit ?
      Are you kidding :D ? Credit for what? for that crappy browser and the fake tests they post?

      Give me a damn break!

  • Why does Microsoft keep doing this?
    Did they not learn anything from the IE8 Browser Comparison table?

  • susan

    very good!

  • Wardrop

    All this proves is that Microsoft still behave like Microsoft.

  • Chris Pratt

    Maybe if Microsoft spend less time trying to convince everyone that IE isn’t the world’s most awful browser, they could spend more time actually making it as good as they claim. It’s long past time to retire Trident, and adopt WebKit. Trident never has and never will be a competent rendering engine; accept it and move on.

  • Oops I don’t have Opera 10.5, I only have version 10. My Apologies. Thanks for the corrections.

    • OK, updated to show a score of 102

    • Nice work Opera… When I upgraded from 9.xx to 10.5x (Mac) it changed my preferences and made it my primary browser. Not a huge deal but that was an unwelcome surprise :(

  • Even if these were fair tests, what do they tell you? That the browser is compatible with one particular moment-in-time’s snapshot of the pre-specification draft that might eventually become HTML5?


  • ruNNin13

    Well, first, hello everybody !!!
    Here is how I see it.
    Microsoft AGAIN unable to show its competitiveness against opponents (other browsers), and so this BIG FAT corporation starts false campaign, lying to everyone that their browser is the best. I am not surprised at all, in fact Microsoft is falling deeper & deeper having this kind of attitude towards users and most importantly towards designers.

    HTML5, CSS3 – is good and nice, but I think it is too soon to use them, they are not even in RC stage! Instead, browser developers must fully integrate existing web standards XHTML, CSS2.1, if not do that it will be abandoned by deveolpers when the HTML5 and CSS3 specs come out officialy, don’t you agree?

  • stve

    Went to The HTML5 Test website to test Opera 10.6a & got
    “Your browser scores
    and 4 bonus points
    out of a total of 300 points”
    “Please be aware that the specifications that are being tested are still in development and could change before receiving an official status. In the future new tests will be added for the pieces of the specification that are currently still missing. The maximum number of points that can be scored is 300 at this moment, but this is a moving goalpost.”
    Microsoft is not the only company prone to lying Apple with Safari make plenty of misleading claims as well, maybe its a culture difference & is acceptable in the USA
    IE8 now scores
    “Your browser scores
    and no bonus points
    out of a total of 300 points”
    As Microsoft would say IE8 scores 33% better on the The HTML5 Test a massive jump from 19 to 27.

  • Very interesting. Though I get a different total for Firefox.

  • Seems as though we must either write in html 5 for Apple hardware (that no longer supports Flash) or write in html 4 for Microsft browsers that are not fully compatible with html 5 in particular to Flash Javascript conversions. Adobe has had its fingures burned – perhaps Microsoft should be next ! Well done Firefox, Opera, Chrome and Safari – Microsoft should take their example of how excellent browsers should be written and function without problem.

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