in Best Practices, Web Design

The Browser Wars: Not Yet Settled

The browser wars did not end with the fall of Netscape and the triumph of Internet Explorer. Indeed not; there is still a fierce competition out there for the supreme browser on the internet. This post was mostly spurred by a recent post done by Keith Parnell which asserts that 73.04% of all internet traffic is viewed on Internet Explorer. Well, that should settle the debate, right?

Not so fast.

Last week, Keith Casey wrote about some statistics that are coming out of W3 Schools that show Internet Explorer in decline. I’ve included their stats below:

2008 IE7 IE6 Chrome Fx Moz S O
October 26.9% 20.2% 3.0% 44.0% 0.4% 2.8% 2.2%
September 26.3% 22.3% 3.1% 42.6% 0.5% 2.7% 2.0%

According to W3 Schools, Internet Explorer makes up 47.1% of all internet traffic, only 3.1% better that Firefox, and 26 points lower than Keith Parnell’s stats.

But as I’ve learned, often the information you get about browser usage is based not on some actual proportion of users but on the users who visit your site, or sites where you gather statistics. For example, 63.5% of the users of this website use Firefox; however, 59.5% of you use Windows as your primary operating system. If I were to make an assertion about the world, I’d have to presume that browser traffic was 2/3rds Firefox. But we all know that’s not the case (especially since 11.6% of you use Linux and 24.5% of you use Mac OS X, which is 2 to 3 times above average).

So the browser wars will continue. The fight will persist and it will not be settled easily.

However, as Keith Casey points out, we will soon be free of Internet Explorer 6. And for that, we can all be thankful.

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Brandon Savage is the author of Mastering Object Oriented PHP and Practical Design Patterns in PHP