WebKit Takes an Acid3 Trip

10 03 2008

Writer Matt Rosenhein explains WebKits latest endeavors to pass the Acid3 test.

A mock up of what the Acid3 render should look like

The Acid web standards test has just gone into its third itineration, and the WebKit team is already racing to make their engine as compliant as possible. The Acid3 test builds upon many of the goals that were presented in the much praised Acid2 test, which served as one of the best indicators as to the CSS compatibility of browsers. Safari was the first major browser to pass the test, followed immediately by Konqueror (whose engine provided the code base for WebKit), iCab (the current version now uses WebKit) and Opera. Firefox and Internet Explorer, the two most widely used browsers, have yet to publish a stable release that passes the Acid2, though both teams have demonstrated betas and nightlies that pass and will be released in their next major releases (Firefox 3 and Internet Explorer 8).

Acid3 is a compilation of a hundred “sub-tests” that demonstrate a browser’s ability to render several new cutting edge web standards. Some of the things required to get a passing grade on the test include support for downloadable fonts, CSS 3 text shadows, Scalable Vector Graphics, ECMAScript and DOM Level 2. As of right now, there are no browsers able to properly render the Acid3 test, but the WebKit team has announced their commitment to getting their engine to pass the test, and has released a nightly that scores a 90/100, in comparison to Safari’s current score of a 39/100. In a posting at the Surfin’ Safari blog, x explains the difficulty in getting a browser up to specification for the Acid 3:

Acid 3 on Safari

“You can think of the Acid 3 test as consisting of 100 individual test suites. In order for a browser engine to claim one of these precious 100 points, it has to pass a whole battery of tests around a specific standard. In other words it’s like the browser is being asked to take 100 separate exams and score an A+ on each test in order to get any credit at all.”

As of yet, no other software developer has demonstrated as much promise as the WebKit team in getting a passing grade on the Acid3 test. It appears likely that in the not so distant future, Safari will be solidifying its position as the industry leader in web standards compliance.



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