Which Browser my development should work on??

  • Published on Friday, 17 May 2013 19:20
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One of the first Decision that you, as a designer,developer or project manager, need to take into account when defining your project is the compatibility with browsers and Versions. It is not an easy decision at first glance, ..but here I am to help you take the right one. 

It exists a huge list of different browsers out there and not only 5 (Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Internet Explorer and Opera) as you might be thinking. ..have you ever heard about Konqueror, Maxthon, Amaya, seamonkey, Epiphany???, most surely now you might have said: "ooooohhh, yeah, I have heard about that one!!"..., but the list is really long. To have a nice overview of them just check the List of Browser at Wikipedia

Browsers

Are you going to code in a way that looks good in all these browsers??. It is not a difficult task if you just have in mind a particular version of them, ..but is it worthy??. The answer is NO!!. Why I am so sure about that??. keep reading..

W3Counter

Well, just based on statistics about the most browsers used nowadays. Here they are in April 2013 courtesy of W3Counter:

92,5% of the web surfers do it on any of these browsers.

W3Schools

Based on W3Schools (collected from W3Schools's log-files so let's say more techie Users):

April 2013 Internet Explorer FireFox Chrome Safari Opera
Digital Trends 12.7% 27.9% 52.7% 4.0% 1.7%

99% of the web surfers do it on any of these browsers.

Expected Browsers

So I think is good enough to develop your Project to work on:

  • Internet Explorer
  • Firefox
  • Chrome
  • Safari
  • Opera??

Why i have a question mark on Opera???, ..the trend tell us that is losing market share every month, ..slowly but happening so I wouldn't mind much if something is out of Focus in Opera.

Browser Versions

Now that we have the browsers, Which version might we use??. My recommendation is always to think about the present and look forward the future. That doesn't mean to just validate your project on the latest version of the different Browsers, ..not at all but:

  • Think about the future and which web technology will be used. For sure HTML5
  • Think about a % of the population and which browser version they use, ...the same as we did browser types.

HTML5 Test

Ok, let's see which browsers version runs 100% of html5 capabilities???: The answer is ..NONE!!

oooohhhh, my, ...how this can happen??. Well, HTML5 is very, very new although you have hearing about it since many years ago, ..just as of December 2012, is a W3C Candidate Recommendation (so forget about html6 for now :)), but the answer we are looking for is in this great tool call the HTML5 Test tool.  Any version which scores OK in the following sections will be a good Candidate:

  • Parsing Rules
  • Canvas
  • Elements
  • User Interaction
  • History and Navigation
  • Forms (If some Input Type is not in the list or even de datalist, that shouldn't be a problem)

Really fascinating that in the first place of the Test We have an "unknown" Maxthon 4.0:

You can check which are your Favourite Browser versions in this Graph courtesy of HTML5 Test:

And the Winners are:

  •  Firefox 6 (Aug 2011)
  •  Chrome 7 (Oct 2010)
  •  Explorer 10 (Oct 2012)
  •  Opera 11.10 (Apr 2011)
  •  Safari 5.1 (Jul 2011)

As you might have checked any version which went life from 2011 to today.

W3Schools

Another data in which we could base our study can be again W3Schools. We can check how we can get at least 95% of the population, ...good enough. This is what we got (In green the browser version that will sum up more than 95% altogether):

Explorer IE 10 IE 9 IE 8 IE 7 IE 6     12,00%
  1,30% 5,20% 5,50% 0,80% 0,20%     13,00%
Firefox FF 21 FF 20 FF 19 FF 18 FF 17 FF 16 FF* 27,50%
  0,10% 0,90% 19,00% 1,40% 0,90% 0,90% 5,30% 28,50%
Chrome C 27 C 26 C 25 C 24 C 23 C 22 Older  51,70%
  0,40% 2,10% 44,20% 2,10% 0,80% 0,40% 1,70% 51,70%
Safari S 6 S 5 S 4         4,00%
  2,80% 1,20% 0,10%         4,10%
Opera 0 12 0  11 O Mini         1,20%
  1,10% 0,10% 0,60%         1,80%
                96,40%

and the winners are:

  •  Firefox 6 
  •  Chrome 22
  •  Explorer 8
  •  Opera 11
  •  Safari 5

So i would just consider the older versions from this two (..well in chrome actually you don't need to focus in older versions as basically are used by tech people and autoupdates), so the above browser names and versions that you need to focus when coding are the ones just Above!!!!!, ...that is why they are in bold :)

If you want to get more statistics, here you have some interesting resources and how they calculate this:

Stat Counter

StatCounter is a web analytics service. Our tracking code is installed on more than 3 million sites globally. These sites cover various activities and geographic locations. Every month, we record billions of page views to these sites. For each page view, we analyse the browser/operating system/screen resolution used and we establish if the page view is from a mobile device. For our search engine stats, we analyze every page view referred by a search engine. For our social media stats, we analyze every page view referred by a social media site. We summarize all this data to get our Global Stats information.
Get more: Click here

W3Schools

From the statistics below (collected from W3Schools' log-files over a period of ten years), you can read the long term trends of browser usage.
Get more: Click here

W3Counter

based on the last 15,000 page views to each website tracked by W3Counter. W3Counter's sample currently includes 65,812 websites. The browser market share graph includes data from all versions of the named browser families, not only the top 10 as listed below.
Get more: Click here

 Have a very nice happy coding day!!

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