With the release of Windows 10 and Microsoft Edge (the successor to Internet Explorer) just weeks away, now seems like a good time to take a look at how Microsoft’s new browser measures up to its well-established competition. With Edge being touted as a browser “built for the modern web”, my expectations were high that it would be a juggernaut of compatibility with modern web technologies. If Microsoft wants Edge to even be mentioned in the same breath as Chrome or Firefox, then it needs to achieve an equal, or superior, level of support for cutting edge HTML5 and CSS3 features.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t.
I’m using HTML5 Test for this. To see the HTML5 feature compatibility of a particular browser, you just visit the site in the browser you wish to test and your browser receives a score out of 555 points. A score of 555 would mean the browser supports 100% of all current HTML5. A tall order, even for the best browsers. But the goal is to get as close as possible.
Microsoft Edge scores 402:
Not too shabby, right? After all, Internet Explorer 11, Microsoft’s current flagship browser, scores a measly 348. But let’s take a look at the current version of Google Chrome:
Here’s Firefox 36:
Perhaps even more important than HTML5 compatibility is CSS3 compatibility. We can test this with The CSS3 Test. Just like the HTML5 test, the CSS3 test gives your browser a score based on how many of the current CSS3 features it supports. It uses a percentage. First, here’s Chrome:
52% may seem low, but keep in mind that this test includes the most bleeding edge CSS features out there. For comparison, Internet Explorer 11 scores a 44%, and Firefox scores a 52%.
So what does Edge score?
Yep, only one point higher than IE11, and well below Chrome and Firefox.
Take This Information For What It’s Worth
What I’ve looked at here is just one aspect of the overall quality of a web browser; it’s not to say that Edge doesn’t have some good things going for it in terms of speed, usability, and features. But I can’t help but feel worried when I see Edge’s unimpressive compatibility numbers. Internet Explorer has earned, rightfully so, the reputation of being way behind current web standards. The release of Edge represents a golden opportunity for Microsoft to catch up and show the world that they care about staying current. If these lackluster numbers represent the actual state of Edge when it ships in two weeks, they’re not getting off to a good start.