Friday, February 23, 2007

Internet Explorer Losing Ground?

As someone who has struggled to make web pages look beautiful on Internet Explorer, Firefox, and Safari, I found this story on ars technica hard to avoid reading... "Internet Explorer loses ground to Firefox, Safari... but "the rest of the story" as Paul Harvey liked to say is that there are conflicting numbers from a variety of tracking efforts and so no one really knows...

Suffice to say that Microsoft's Internet Explorer is still somewhere around 80% of the market for browsers. The introduction of IE 7 hasn't helped them, but they are still the dominant player.

But in a related note on the ars technica site there is data that shows that Firefox isn't growing either. So who is gaining marketshare? Safari.

How could that be? The only people that use Safari are Macintosh users. Could this be an early indication that Apple is finally gaining marketshare? And how long before these users abandon Safari -- I like to complain about Internet Explorer but Safari's support for W3 standards is even more abysmal.

On a related note, I have some advice for people trying to decide which browser to support when working on their web site compatibility tests. Don't forget to test Firefox on Mac. Just testing Firefox on Windows isn't sufficient. And while the total number of users of Firefox on Mac OS X may be small - they are a very influential group. I just met with a company yesterday that has a very popular website and they have done NO testing on Firefox for Mac OS X. How can that be, I asked? And I showed them a very nasty bug that they have in their product -- just on that platform... They thought they were done when the tested on Windows. Don't get caught in the same trap!

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