State of the Browsers

A veritable flood of improvements have been implemented in the OnlineTesting 2 System since its release last August. Some of those were bugfixes, others new features, still others were cutting-edge technologies that only the latest browsers would see. One of these is the implementation of Full-Screen mode for the Chrome and Firefox browsers.

Chrome 15+ and Firefox 5+ had implemented a full-screen API that allows test takers upon clicking “Launch Test” to be brought into a single full-screen testing display that hides tabs, the address bar, and anything else that may distract the test-taker from the test at hand. By default, all users who are using browsers that support this have it enabled.

Another major feature we’ve implemented is MathJax. MathJax allows us to show math equations elegantly and clearly to users of any modern browser. However, during QA testing we were unable to fix some lingering issues with the last bastion of antiquity that we support: IE6. We obviously can’t just withdraw support for IE6 right this instant, so we’ve held off on converting our tests to all use MathJax until we officially knock IE6 off the supported-browsers list.

However, I was curious as to the usage of IE6 among our clients. I did some analytics on our testing system’s browser data since Jan 1, 2012, and this is what I found:

Browser spread

This is fantastic news! This chart is generated based on the number of instances of each browser in each of our accounts (typically denoting a client). A client can contribute to multiple segments if they have used multiple browsers this year in our testing system. Many clients are IE7/8, and almost all of the IE6 clients are exclusively IE6. This makes perfect sense – companies typically would only continue supporting IE6 if absolutely necessary for a critical internal application.

Unfortunately, that 5% is still 43 clients. Cutting 43 clients off from our Online Testing System is completely unacceptable, so we’ll still wait a little bit, but the news is trending in a promising direction.

As a side note, the non-IE segment consists of a wide variety of browsers, including Firefox, Chrome, iPad, iPhone, Opera, Safari, Droid X2, LG Optimus M, and ATRIX 2 MB865. Obviously we don’t support any of those except Firefox and Chrome, but if you can get the system to work on those systems, more power to you.