Summary:

No mobile browser has passed through the first two hurdles in the Ringmark test, a tool created by Facebook that checks for a wide range of HTML5 support. That is, no mobile browser until now. The most recent beta of Dolphin Browser for Android just did.

ringmark-dolphin

Among the leading mobile browsers for Google Android, only the newest Dolphin Browser beta has passed through the second of three hurdles in a test designed by Facebook. Called Ringmark, the test checks support for various HTML5 features and not even Google’s own Chrome browser has surpassed the first ring. Dolphin Browser hasn’t been able to move beyond the first ring, but its still a big step forward for the team behind the app, as well as for developers that build, or plan to build, mobile HTML5 apps.

Here’s what the Ringmark test checks for, according to a blog post from the Dolphin Browser team, as well as a video showing proof of the passed test. Note: Browser tests are far more interesting to talk about than watch; you’ve been warned!

  • Ring 0: Base functionality that most smartphones have today.
  • Ring 1: Functionality needed to unlock the most common apps that developers want to build, including 2D games, music and video apps, and camera apps.
  • Ring 2: Features that will unlock the next generation of mobile Web apps, based on developer necessity. For example, we expect Ring 2 to include upcoming technology like WebRTC and WebGL.

So how does the Dolphin Browser accomplish getting past Ring 1? For starters, the browser has its own engine comprised of “an improved webkit version with extensive canvas enhancement”, per the company. And the team added support for various HTML5 features such as border-images, HTML5 forms, and Web Workers to name a few. Also of note is partial support for WebRTC, which could power  online audio and video communication in a browser.

Alhough it’s good to see Dolphin Browser advance the feature set of the browser and prepare for HTML5, It’s almost ironic to me that Facebook has a standard HTML5 test at all.

I’ve noted before that performance of the Facebook app, which is written with HTML5 and other web technologies, has gradually declined to the point where I won’t use it on any of my devices. Instead, I’m often using a browser for Facebook now, so I’ll have to take the new Dolphin Browser Beta for a spin on Facebook. I’ve long used Dolphin and only recently switched away from it for Google Chrome on Android. Maybe it’s time to switch back?

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