Browser Performance


There are now many browsers freely available for installation on computers. Apart from Microsoft Internet Explorer and the newer Edge browser, which were or are available as the default browsers for Windows operating systems, Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox and Opera lead a pack of others, some of which lay claim to having better or faster systems or smaller footprints. The development of web site coding results in efforts to improve the methods of providing a better and more attractive experience in browsers. Thus the browsers constantly have to be improved in their ability to translate and display the code into what is intended by the coder of the web site. Because of the responsibility to support many operating systems and applications, and putting stability as an important feature, Microsoft IE has tended to be slow in supporting the newer coding methods, such as those introduced in HTML5[1] and CSS3[2]. The newer Edge browser, available only in Windows 10, released 29 July, 2015, was a significant departure from IE and has much improved HTML5 recognition as well as some new features. It has now been replaced by a Chromium-based Edge brwser, which now performs as well or better than the other browsers.

The Chrome and Chromium-based browsers are top in HTML5 recognition and Firefox is top in CSS recognition. The latter might presently be considered best overall, since issues in parsing HTML may cause less issues in the display than those with CSS. The price often paid for the rapid progress in browser development is instability in some browsers. Seemingly this is because the pre-release testing is sometimes inadequate. The first Edge was a different browser from IE and its emergence spelled the end of IE, when operating systems, in which it is supported, reached the end of their own support period; as was the case with IE 9 in Windows Vista and IE 10 in Windows 8.  Firefox, which released Version 57 on 14 November, 2017, only started life in 2003; whereas IE had only reached version 11, with the first version in 1995. Google Chrome, which is based on the open source Chromium browser project, has moved even faster from its start in 2008 and on 13 February, 2018 released Version 62!  Microsoft Edge browser had incremental updates improving its performance as well as security updates on the second Tuesday each month together with other Microsoft software. In October 2017, Microsoft also introduced an Edge browser for Android and iOS phones.  These are Edge in name only and do not use the Edge engine. The Android version is based on the Blink engine used in Chromium and the iOS version is based on the WebKit engine as used by Safari. Their performances are similar to other Chromium and WebKit-based browsers. We do not run Apple platforms and Apple stopped support for the Safari Windows versions in 2012.  Testing of Safari ver. 5.1.7 found that it did not support the HTTPS protocol and we discontinued testing on our site.

Regarding other alternative browsers, it should be noted that Opera, at version 49 on 16 November, 2017, is the fifth most popular browser. It was first released in 1996 and it presently performs almost as well as Chrome in recognizing HTML5 and CSS3.  It has been difficult to find a 64-bit version until recently. The Firefox version 57 has been named Quantum and is said to be faster and use less memory than Chrome. Firefox version 58 was released on 23 January, 2018.  Two other browsers, SRWare Iron version 62, released 6 November, 2017; and Vivaldi, now at version 1.14, released on 31 January, 2018, are also based on Chromium. Iron claims the advantage of not allowing the feedback as used by Google from Chrome and thus has better privacy. Vivaldi offers a theme colour that will follow the web site and a panel for working with open tabs.  Our experience with both browsers is that they perform very well, but support for automatic updating is lacking.

All of the above browsers are available in 32-bit versions, but some are also available in 64-bit versions, although the availability of add-ons, plug-ins and extensions may be more limited.

Even with the rapid development of browsers, when using HTML and CSS, there are still differing ways to write the code necessary to show the various styles, which evolve. While the latest versions of the more popular browsers may be able to recognise standardised coding, they still need their own specific extensions to recognise certain CSS coding such as the colour gradients used at the top and bottom of these pages. The older versions of browsers may also need different extensions added, if pages are to be backwards compatible. As many as 7 different strings of code are needed to accomplish this for one particular gradient style. Styling for pages can be checked on a W3 CSS Validation page and, if the tests are passed, will be acknowledged with a logo and a message: Congratulations! No Error Found. This document validates as CSS level 3!


To compare browsers in their capabilities to render HTML5 and CSS3, there are two web sites that will almost instantly give you a valuation at the following URLs:

HTML Results appear on opening screenCSS3 Results appear on opening screen

1. HTML5 is the fifth revision of the HTML standard. Its main aim has been to improve the language with support for the latest multimedia, while keeping it easily readable by humans and understood by computers and devices. HTML5 will subsume HTML 4. 2. CSS3 (Cascading Style Sheets Level 3) is one of a series of levels. Style sheet language is used for describing the look and formatting of a document written in a markup language such as HTML. CSS3 is divided into several separate modules, which have been in development since 1999. Not all implementations are considered stable and browsers vary in their capability to render them.

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