June 13, 2006
Or, What Would World Wide Web Developers Do?
To get an idea of what web developers are using -- as compared to typical web users -- take a look at the comprehensive w3schools browser statistics, picking up from mid-2004 when the Google statistics end:
Quite a difference from the other browser market share statistics; IE 6.0 is dominant, but not overwhelmingly dominant to the tune of 95% market share at its peak in late 2004. It's also interesting that despite being five years old and generally reviled by most serious web developers, IE 6 usage has only dipped ten percent from its historical peak on w3schools.
The other statistics from w3schools are also quite interesting:
- More than 80 percent of web developers have true color displays. This has increased by about 10 percent every year.
- Only 17 percent of web developers are using resolutions greater than 1024x768. Only 57 percent are even at 1024x768-- the remainder are using resolutions below that!
- 74 percent of web developers are using Windows XP. That's an increase of 10 percent over this time last year.
I'm not sure how much we can conclude from a single source of data. But it's still a little discouraging that even on a developer-oriented site, the rate of new hardware and software adoption is so slow.
Posted by Jeff Atwood
The only problem with so many devs being on 800x600 is the exact opposite of the ones who were on 1280x1024 back in the 90's: They design tiny inflexible one or two column sites that are just painful to read on any larger resolution, like a single infinitely long newspaper column. Salon.com was a major offender in this respect for a long time.
Simple answer: If it's working well on old hardware with low resolution, it will work with better hardware as well.
Just MVHO - perhaps W3Schools is for "beginner" devs, as opposed to "professional" devs?
Would be interesting to see stats from sites such as A List Apart, 456 Berea Street, Mezzoblue etc.
W3Schools is just as much for beginners as the experienced. Maybe the experienced user would use it less, but definitely still use it...
I agree with PJ in that I'd like to see stats from more "advanced" sites.
However, how many of the devs are simply using what their clients use? The typical web-surfer at home is most likely using IE 6 / WinXP at a rez around 1024x768. Since that's my target audience, that's what I'm going to use too to test the online experience I'm delivering to them.
Actually, I use NoScript and turn on JS on a per site basis. Works better than all off / all on.
There are tools to do the same in IE6, but it's not as easy to do. If IE7 had a little bit better plugin support, I'd write one for it as well.
"Simple answer: If it's working well on old hardware with low resolution, it will work with better hardware as well."
Unfortunately that's not true at all. As Foxyshadis said, text with a fixed size that's designed for low-res displays is damn near unreadable on a hi-res screen.
However, that way of thinking certainly explains why so many sites use ridiculously tiny fonts, forcing me to use the accessibility options on IE6 or the zoom mode on Opera if I want to read any stretch of text. :(
Surely if you are a web developer, you are more likely to have several browsers installed.
And its possible that web developers run at lower resolutions to ensure that their sites look good for the lowesat common denominator.
Well it sounded plausible to me :-)
It's also worth noting that some (thankfully not all) of the Try-It-Yourself pages require IE. I myself use IETab but as far as the stats go, it still thinks I'm an IE user. (if I'm not mistaken)
I agree with Dave Craggs above. As a web developer, I have four different web browsers installed on my machine (IE 6, Firefox 1.0.5, Netscape 6, and Opera 5). This is done in order to test the appearance of my sites in the three or four most popular browsers. As for my own personal browsing, most of the time I use FF, until the "multiple tab causes memory leak" problem crops up (the number one reason why I still use IE at all). I only use IE when I really, really, really have to -- and even then most of the time via FF's "View Page in IE" Extension.
I am a web developer who writes mainly internal apps for companies big enough to afford consulting rates. That by no means makes me special, but I wonder how many coders like me are w3schools users?
In the bulk of my corporate experience, MS owns the platform and in turn the browser. Now I could certainly install Firefox on my work machine, but since the only browser I'm coding for is IE, I choose to get chummy with it. And I use it when I reference something on W3S. So, its not that I'm an IE proponent, it just happens to pay the bills, and I'll bet that for quite a few web devs, that is the case.
As far as W3Schools not servicing advanced users, I think it was Einstein who said something like: I don't need to know every fact in the encyclopedia, because I know how to use an encyclopedia (I’m sure I butchered that, but you get the point). Not memorizing every style, property, attribute, or event available and relying on a reference website to look them up, does not make you any-less of an advanced user.
I was wondering if you've been tracking the browser usage statistics over time for visitors to this site? Just wondering.