This year, we evaluated six browsers on several different platforms. Testing was officially completed on May 6th. Our recommendations for support are as follows:Internet Explorer: IE 6 remains at the forefront of browsers on the PC platform, due in part to its familiarity and ubiquitous presence on Windows PCs. It also scored highly on most tests. Even though it remains our suggestion for supported and recommended status on the PC, it is beginning to show its age when compared to newcomers like Mozilla, particularly in the area of desired features, such as pop-up blocking and tabbed browsing. IE is also known to have security issues. Still, it remains a popular choice among users. On the Mac, however, IE has been left behind and has not been developed as much as it has for the PC. We suggest that IE is neither recommended nor supported for the Mac, except for OS 9.2.x, where there are few viable alternatives and we suggest that it maintains a recommended and supported status.
Mozilla: Mozilla is, in some ways, a superior browser to Internet Explorer. It includes features that Internet Explorer lacks and has matured greatly since its introduction. However, the team is concerned about its relatively young age. From a technical standpoint, Mozilla scored highly on most tests and appears to be a contender for recommended status after the 2005 evaluation. One of the distinct advantages of choosing Mozilla as a supported browser is its ability to seamlessly replace Netscape on all platforms. Upon installation, it directly accesses the user's profile and removes the need to manually import information across the browsers. This includes bookmarks, email settings and address book information. For this year, we suggest that Mozilla has a supported status on both PC and Mac (OS X). Mozilla 1.7 is on track to be released in time for the fall, so we are suggesting 1.6 for the summer.Netscape: Netscape was a supported browser for the previous year, but it has fallen behind others due to a lack of active progress and updates for the browser. It's slower than the browsers we suggest for support and isn't as stable. The browser is also known for bloat. Other browsers, such as Mozilla, have surpassed the quality of Netscape and we feel it is no longer necessary to support it. For these reasons, the team suggests that Netscape is not supported or recommended for the coming year, except for Mac OS 9.x, where a lack of alternatives necessitates support for Netscape 7.0.2. We would suggest that current Netscape users on other platforms consider upgrading to Mozilla so as to take advantage of browser similarities and make for an easy transition.
Opera: Opera is an interesting browser that seems to be fast and stable. However, it has a weakness in its help system as well as some compatibility issues with plug-ins. The largest point against Opera, however, is that it's not a free browser. Some use Opera as a preferred browser, however, and it may be worth including it in future evaluations. The team suggests that Opera not be supported or recommended for the coming year.Safari: Safari is a free, fast browser for the Mac that includes some nice functionality. It scored highly on most tests and includes desired functionality, such as pop-up blocking, that the former recommended and supported browsers for the Mac do not. It seems to be a stable and secure browser. The team suggests that Safari 1.0 be recommended and supported for OS X.2.x and Safari 1.2 be recommended and supported for OS X.3.x.
Firefox: Firefox is a small, lightweight browser that is still in a beta release. It appears to show promise for the future, but is not nearly mature enough to be considered stable or fully functional. The team suggests that Firefox not be supported or recommended for the coming year, but some team members liked it enough that we would suggest taking another look at it during future evaluations.