Sauce Labs, an Internet software testing and development company, specializes in automated testing for mobile and Web applications by delivering a test environment that accommodates over 150 browsers, operating systems, and device platforms. In the course of all that testing they've gotten to know which ones break the most and which ones break the least. Now, for the second time, Sauce is revealing which browsers can stand the test of the Web and which ones buckle under the strain.
Sauce has kept records of every Web browser failure for all the tests that ever ran on their service—all 50 million of them. For the purposes of the report Sauce only analyzed browser versions for which the company had at least 1,000 jobs in the last two years. This means that the most recent versions of some browsers aren't represented in the report.
Taken all-in-all, the bottom of the barrel Web browser family was Internet Explorer (IE). But, that's not the entire story.
True, with a 0.25 percent error rate, IE was the worst Web browser, but each browser has many different versions and a close look reveals that Microsoft's Web browsers have greatly improved since IE 7 first appeared in 2006. As for IE 6, let's not even talk about it!
While IE 7 has an error rate of .29 percent, the latest version, IE 10, has "an impressive 0.05 percent error rate." Sauce has found that Microsoft has gotten much better at "squashing their historically error rates."
So, if IE has been significantly improved, which browser has the "honor" of being the poorest program? That regrettable position, of currently deployed and supported Web browsers, goes to Apple's Safari 6.
The best browser, in terms of the fewest number of defects, is Firefox 22—followed by Chrome 27, IE10, Opera 12, and Safari 6. According to Sauce, "Most versions of Chrome have error rates low enough that they didn't show up on the graph. Neither do later versions of Firefox. That means that Chrome and Firefox are solid in terms of performance. For the tech savvy that isn't too surprisingly."
All-in-all, compared to the last Sauce evaluation of browsers in 2011, the company found that "Half of the browser versions we analyzed had error rates lower than 0.07-percent. That's pretty low, and suggests that browsers are getting more reliable as more versions come out."
- Firefox 22 available, promises real-time comms and 3D gaming
- Chrome 28 released, new rich notifications for web apps and extensions
- Opera goes WebKit: It's all about performance
- Microsoft delivers final version of IE 10 for Windows 7
- Apple's latest Safari updates add site-by-site Java plugin controls