Tuesday, April 22nd, 2008

Now your mobile phones get to take some Acid

Category: Mobile, Standards

Dominique Hazaël-Massieux, co-chair of the Mobile Web Test Suites Working Group at the W3C, has published a test in the spirit of the ACID tests: Web Compatibility Test for Mobile Browsers:

That test, in the same spirit as the ACID tests, combines in a single page tests for 12 Web technologies, ranging from well-deployed (but often poorly implemented on mobile devices) technologies such as HTTPS and PNG, to technologies we believe will matter in a year or two (like SVG animation and CSS Media Queries).

Tests are visualized by squares, sorted roughly in order of difficulty (first line, well-deployed technologies, second line, technologies increasingly used today, third line, technologies for tomorrow), and a browser needs to render each square in the same tone of green to pass completely the test – which as far as I know, no currently released browser (on mobile devices or elsewhere) does.

The test covers:

1. CSS2 min-width
Fluid page widths, defined in percent of the screen width, often depend on the min-width and max-width properties to avoid turning unreadable on small screens. The former property is tested here.
2. Transparent PNG
PNG, a bitmap image format, supports transparency and alpha channels, that are useful in building appealing visual effects
3. GZIP support
The HTTP protocol allows data to be sent gzip-compressed when the client advertizes its capability to uncompress them (through the Accept-Encoding header), thus saving bandwith.
4. HTTPS
The HTTPS protocol is used to establish secure and encrypted connections on the Web.
5. iframe inclusing of XHTML-served-as-XML content
Tests if the UA supports XML content-types by loading an XHTML document with the content-type application/xhtml+xml.
6. Static SVG
SVG allows authors to define vector-based graphics, that can be scaled up and down, fitting well the needs of mobile devices
7. XMLHTTPRequest
XMLHTTPRequest is at the core of AJAX, allowing to update a subset of an HTML page without requesting a new full content transfer
8. CSS Media Queries
CSS Media Queries allow authors to contrain CSS rules apply in specific context, for instance so that they only apply to screens of a given maximum width. The min-width feature is tested here.
9. Dynamic SVG
SVG also supports animations, that can be used to create very appealing interfaces
10. The canvas element
The canvas element defined in HTML5 offers a Javascript graphics API
11. contenteditable
The contenteditable attribute makes rich text editing of any element possible. Support for this attribute is tested.
12. CSS3 selectors
CSS3 introduces a number of new selectors, allowing more fine-grained styling, leading to better layouts. The nth-child() selector is tested here.

Here are some of the browsers running the actual test:

Mobile Browser ACID

The team is looking for other tests, so leave a comment with your thoughts!

Posted by Dion Almaer at 1:20 am
3 Comments

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3.6 rating from 13 votes

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Not surprisingly, WM6 IE only partially gets 2, 3, and 4.

Comment by johndyer — April 22, 2008

The new Opera Mobile 9.5 beta build 405 rocks this test — and with even better results than FF3b5! 9.5b .405 only fails on Canvas and half-passes PNG… although I bet we can expect full PNG support by the final. 10 of 12 solid green squares surpasses all the other browsers’ results above.
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Most of you may not have seen the new Opera Mobile — it is the first serious competitor to iPhone webkit, surpassing all other mobile browsers. Fast Pan and Zoom along with standards support make regular webpages very useable. It can be found on the XDA Developers Forum, if you look around a bit.
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Mobile Browsers are finally getting serious, thanks to the new MID (Mobile Internet Device) buzzword. In this sector, Opera reigns and IE has no chance, thank goodness!

Comment by doublerebel — April 22, 2008

That test is not basic enough. There should be tests like:

-external CSS style sheets supported
-lists with bullets (and proper indent)
-tables
-css float
-background images
-http caching (without crashing)

I’ve seen all of the above and more fail miserably on default browsers on Nokias, Motorollas and Ericsons. A __lot__ of the devices out there run with homebrewn browsers by the handset producers themselves, only a tiny minority runs Opera & co.

Comment by pyalot — April 22, 2008

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