With the imminent public Beta release of IE8, which will be with us in the first half of this year and with Beta versions of the other major browsers already released, the next-generation, standards-compliant browsers are starting to become widely available – and with new versions, come new support for CSS amongst other things.
A lot of credit I feel has to be given to the Firefox project, which has acquired a significant share of the browser market as a by-product of actively pushing web standards and by doing so, has forced IE to play catch-up. Initial reports indicate that the IE team have been keeping their ear to the ground – Dean Hachamovitch, General Manager of IE Development noted that the latest version of IE from the industry heavyweight has passed the Acid2 test. This is a sign that at last even Internet Explorer is taking note of what the web community has been requesting for a long while.
However, where before Firefox was considered to be one of the front-runners in terms of standards-compliancy, I can’t help feeling that the Firefox team are starting to let things slip, judging by my latest evaluation.
I’ve recently been testing out the nightly builds of FF 3 Beta (namely Beta 2 Pre 4), and was disappointed to discover that it passed only 32 out of the 43 tests in our Selector Test, having tripped up on a number of tests relating to several structural pseudo-classes. Repeating the same test with the latest Webkit nightly build and even the Opera 9.5 Beta release candidate, the results showed that both browsers passed all 43 tests, showing that Safari and Opera are at least surpassing the long-standing industry leader in terms of standards-compliancy, leaving Firefox somewhat in the dark.
Yes, I am comparing nightly builds, which by their very nature change daily, but I think this news is highlighting a sign of the times. You might be surprised to know that between the Firefox General Release version 184.108.40.206 and the Beta 2 Pre 4 version I was evaluating, only 8 additional selectors have been given support (26 & 36 passes respectively) – Beta 2 Pre * now includes full support for all six variations of the attribute selector. Whereas Opera 9.5 Beta which became a release candidate before the latest FF nightly build, comes with more selector support out of the box.
I’ll certainly be keeping a keen eye on Firefox’s development and will be interested to see what selector support we can expect in the next Beta version.