Monday, March 21, 2011

WTANZ #13 - The HTML5 Browser Shootout

Saturday night, while the rest of the West coast was winding down to go to sleep, I decided to get together with my friends in Australia and New Zealand and participate in their Weekend Testing session. One of the things that excited me about this was the fact that we were going to be doing something I hadn't spent much time with, and that was HTML 5. I was curious to see how we would actually test this.

That was answered in the early part of the session. Here was the mission:

A significant aspect of these browsers and also Chrome and Safari 5 is their support for HTML5 features such web workers and storage. As testers, being educated about the new functionality HTML5 allows will help us understand how to better stress web applications that make use of HTML5.


Today’s session is all about HTML5 support.

The mission, work through the HTML5 Rocks slides which illustrate and educate about HTML5 features in either Firefox 4, IE9, Chrome or Safari 5. At the end of the hour, we’ll talk about how well each of the different browsers supports HTML5.

HTML5 Rocks: http://slides.html5rocks.com/#landing-slide


Please pick one of these browsers, and let the group know which one you chose:


Firefox 4
IE9
Chrome
Safari 5

Since I had a laptop that I had just downloaded IE9 on, and a MacBook Pro with Safari 5, I decided to take those two on and see what I might notice. What's cool about the presentation linked above is the fact that the presentation itself actually demonstrates the features described. If your browser can support it, the option is displayed and can be worked with. If not, then only part of the feature would be displayed, or in some cases, none of the options would display.


Szalai László József posted the full transcript, so if you would like to see some of my observations, you can take a look at the chat session, but in general, I thought it was cool to see the differences between the browsers, and realize that not all browsers have implemented all of the features the same way, or even at all in certain circumstances. this shows me that HTML 5 support, while a neat new landscape, has a number of challenges, and compatibility testing is going to be a huge part of that puzzle. Safari 5 does a good job with graphical tweaks, but not so great with database manipulation and local storage of variables. IE9 was exactly the opposite.

So who was the winner of the HTML 5 browser shootout? From the evidence presented, Google Chrome had the best coverage of all the browsers based on the presentation... ah, but here's the rub, the presentation is a Google presentation, so I think it's safe to say that it was developed specifically to show off Chrome's capabilities. Be that as it may, all four of the browsers we tested had a variety of pluses and minuses related to the coverage of HTML 5 thus far, and I doubt that any of them is finished with development yet (seeing as HTML 5 is still evolving).

Overall a great session, and my thanks again to Marlena Compton for facilitating. as a WT facilitator myself, I know the time that goes into planning these sessions, and I enjoyed being able to be the tester again and learn something new.
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