Monday, May 19, 2008

Web browsers. The Fastest and The Best.

Yesterday, I was going through my stat counter and was surprised to see actually how many people still use Internet Explorer 6.0. And there were couple of people using 'Camino', which is the Mac version of Mozilla. So I ran a quick check on Mac's native safari, and the reviews came out to be pretty impressive. Even though I am not a apple fan, a fast and most importantly an 'accurate' web browser is not something that I can reject. So after a couple of minutes, here I was, starring at apple website(yeah, safari's home page is And also, a couple of weeks ago I installed Opera 9.27 following a comment from Om Malik of GigaOm network stating that it is a faster browser.

So, after all, I had the 4 most popular web browsers asking "Do you like to make ......... your default browser?" all the time! So which one am I going to choose????

Let's see.

The user expects a several things from a browser.
  1. Speed
  2. Accurate display (you dont want everything to be a mess, with half lines and overlapping..etc)
  3. Low resource usage.
  4. Features (everything from tabbed browsing to IM and IRC support)
I found some great tools for web browser benchmarking and for now, I will just take a look at the first two points, the speed and accuracy. And since the system configuration can change the results, here is my test system configuration if you want to compare.
  • Microsoft Windows XP Pro SP2 32bit(I have installed some critical updates but not all)
  • Intel Core2Quad Q6700 (2.66GHz)
  • 2GB DDR2 @ 667MHz
  • Maxtor 320GB SATAII 16MB cache
  • 8800GTS 512MB GDDR3
Almost all the pages in the web today uses CSS. So rendering and downloading speed of CSS based web pages is a very important factor. To benchmark these settings, I used the CSS benchmark from The results were quite surprising.

Yes, It is surprising, And that is something that steve jobs worshipers can brag for years saying "
Steve jobs said that, apples are superior because Safari is from apple". Well Safari really do kick butt here...! Or does it???

I had to digg a little bit to find the truth. These tests are based on documents onLoad() event that occurs after completely displaying a web page. So the page calculates the time between start and onLoad() event and takes that as the time to display the whole page. But what Safari does, is trigger the onLoad event as soon as it starts displaying. So actually, it will still keep loading the page even after the onLoad event. OH!!!!!! is apple cheating???? well, it is half true. Because steve jobs publicly benchmarked IE and Safari based on this method and said Safari "rules" (not exactly his words :D) but they knew that is not true(Safari is faster than IE but not from a big margin as benchmarks say). In the other hand, safari actually uses a different approach for rendering so there is nothing wrong with firing onLoad event early (You can read the full article about safari and bechmarking here).

So, moving to the next test from Sun, what this measures is the JavaScript evaluation speed of the browser. Like CSS, most web sites uses JavaScript as a main scripting language, hence this too can be considered as an integral part of a browser benchmarking collection.

Here, the clear winner is Firefox 3 (Release candidate 1). New Safari and Opera comes close leaving Microsoft to re-walk their new to-be-released Internet Explorer 8(beta 1). And if you are using either IE7 or IE6, yes, bang your head on the wall and download another browser before you read the next!!!!!

Yes, this is the part that Internet Explorer sucks by all means. It is the Acid3 standards compliance test. This talks about accuracy of a browser (that's my opinion. Some might say Microsoft can do whatever they want because they have the biggest market share, here's my answer). It test how good the browser handle web pages according to web standards. When you open a web page, If you see scattered borders or gibberish text, that is because the browsers does not comply with web standards 100%.

And if you are not familiar with ACID3, it is a test where the browser is given specific instructions and see how many of them, can the browser handle correctly. The tests are divided into 6 areas and are shown with 6 boxes. ACID3 is written extensively hard that actually no web browser has passed the test yet.(Some browsers has got internal versions -Opera, IE8, Safari- that gets 100% but does not pass the smoothness test.) You can read more about ACID3 here and test your browser here.




Opera 9.27

Firefox 2.0

Firefox 3RC1

Safari 3.1

Opera 9.5b

And this the way that actually all the browsers are 'supposed' to display the image.


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xcorat said...

Thank you. Well I know blogger offers less features, but the point is, that It offers features I need. I have created my own template, so the blogs fit better, and the google ads, are just for testing(definitely not for revenue - I had it with another professional web site). So no, I will not use any other web hosting service that has ads for my blog.

But your site difinitely has somthing. 1GB storage is ok, and mySQL support, great. I might use that. But not for a blog.