Therefore Strategic Technology Services

Saturday, 12 January 2013

The Browser Wars

The Therefore BPM product set has been written to be accessible via any Internet standards based web Browser. Making sure that a site renders acceptably across the vast array of browsers marked is no mean feat, as it has meant that testing has to be done using a host of Browsers.

Our experience has been that practicality dictates that you select the key Browsers and optimize accordingly.

The Therefore BPM product set has been optimized for use with the Internet Explorer (7+), Mozilla Firefox (8+), Google Chrome (16+) and Safari (5+) browsers.

We continually track the “Browser Wars” to make sure that we are still testing using the correct Browsers.

Data Service Providers

The most workable statistic for Browser utilization is provided by NetMarketshare and StatCounter.

As a complicating factor, NetMarketshare and StatCounter have different methodologies for collecting and analysing Browser usage data. The NetMarketshare index from NetApplications uses a metric that looks at the unique visitors to the websites it tracks and then weights it according to the number of Internet users in a country. The StatCounter statistic uses the raw page-views on the sites it tracks to determine market share.


Over the course of 2012, NetMarketshare shows that Chrome and Firefox were neck-and-neck, but while Google’s browser came close, it was not able to overtake Firefox.

Internet Explorer remained the dominant browser throughout the year.


StatCounter’s data paints a vastly different picture, with Chrome actually overtaking Microsoft Internet Explorer and leaving Firefox in the dust, having overtaken it at the end of 2011.

According to StatCounter, both Firefox and Internet Explorer have been in steady decline throughout the year, while NetMarketshare suggests the opposite.

Both Explorer and Firefox had higher percentages in November than they had in January while Chrome lost ground over the course of 2012.

In Comparison

When comparing the two data sets it becomes apparent that although there are more individual users of Internet Explorer, users of Chrome, Firefox and Safari browse more web pages. Unfortunately this can’t be said with certainty as the two companies gather and analyse data from different sites. The data is however highly suggestive.

For Developers

It remains clear that Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox and Safari Browsers remain the material browsers to track.

From the perspective of testing web based applications, the smart money remains on applying 50% of your resource to the Internet Explorer browser, while the Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox Browsers take 20% a piece and Safari is allocated the remaining 10% of testing resource.

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