In the past few days I’ve been revising the CSS compatibility table with information about the latest crop of browsers. There’s no doubt about it: this is IE9’s show. It just supports nearly everything. No hassle, no buts.
Besides, CSS3 selectors are now fully supported by all browsers but one. And that one browser is not IE. It’s, curiously, Opera.
Microsoft has finally taken the big leap forward we’ve been waiting for ever since they announced their decision to restart IE development back in 2005.
IE9 promises to be an excellent browser. Its CSS support is now at par with that of the other browsers — although each browser still has its specific areas where it performs less. But we cannot in good faith say that IE is behind the others any more.
There are only a very few declarations in my test that IE9 does not support. CSS columns, gradients,
text-stroke are the only ones, and the latter two are WebKit-only.
Even better news: Microsoft’s filters seem to have just disappeared from IE9. It supports normal opacity; no more filters required. Also, the gradient filter is gone, leaving IE (temporarily?) not supporting it.
Another golden oldie that got dropped is
cursor: hand, the MS proprietary alternative to
cursor: pointer. That’s not really important in practice (IE6 already supported both syntaxes), but it’s a powerful symbol of the changes that the IE team has wrought.
With so much excellence around I was almost glad when I found one single bug: IE9 doesn’t handle white-space: pre-line right. This bug will be fixed, though. It’s typically a minor point that crops up in a beta and is removed from the final product.
By the way, if you want IE9 to be an excellent browser, do what Kangax and I did and test it. Then write up the results, and point out bugs or possible improvements. The IE team needs this feedback, and I know from experience that they do read this kind of posts and try to improve their product.
If you know of another series of tests that somebody has put IE9 through, pleae leave a comment.
CSS3 selectors are now fully supported by all browsers but Opera. Not that Opera’s sins are manifold: there are two bugs the Opera team will have to solve in order to join the fully-compliant browsers:
Both are relatively minor issues, although both have been plaguing Opera for ages now. All other browsers have had similar
nth-child problems, but they have been solved fully.
I already talked about the support for the background module. There’s no question here: IE9 has the best support; Firefox the worst.
I added :nth-last-child() and :nth-last-of-type() and :first-of-type, :last-of-type, and :only-of-type tests, this being the only CSS3 selectors I did not test yet. All browsers support them fine.
We can also welcome a whole new slew of values for list-style-type. Binary, lower- and upper-hexadecimal, lower- and upper-norwegian, and octal are now supported by Safari 5 and Chrome 5. I’m not sure if these values are terribly important, but
binary lists will look cool on any nerd-type of site.
I also added test pages for border-radius, box-shadow, gradient, text-shadow, and text-stroke. These properties are more of a mixed bag; the first two are universally supported; the last three are not supported by IE9, while Firefox lacks text-stroke.
All in all this was time well spent. CSS3 is really coming on strong, and there’s no more excuse not to try your hand at it.
I’ll be around at the following conferences:
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