Browser Wars Today

In the 1990s, pioneer web developers had problems—the leading browsers rendered websites differently. To even check the renderings, you needed both Macs and PCs. It’s was expensive and time consuming and frustrating.

But developers like me did our best.

Early on we had three key browsers to test: Netscape, Internet Explorer and (god help us) the AOL browser.

Most of us loved Netscape. It was extensible (you could easily add capabilities using 3rd party plugins) and had a tag to center content! We hated the AOL browser because our clients used it and it couldn’t even render tables. And we detested Internet Explorer which did everything its own way and required constant work to accommodate.

Fast forward a few decades.

Now we have Google’s Chrome, Mozilla’s Firefox and Apple’s Safari along with Microsoft’s successor to Internet Explorer, called Edge. Like a zombie, the discontinued Internet Explorer continues in a number of incompatible versions. This one dead browser along with the mysterious Edge (who’s running it, and will it achieve popularity?) gives current day web developers sleepless nights.

But we should simply say “no” to browser wars. It is the responsibility of the browser developers to provide a solid web browsing experience and competent rendering of websites. That’s their job. As long as web developers work to compensate for the deficiencies of these browsers, we provide them cover.

Fortunately, millions of websites fail to make up for the deficiencies of the various versions of IE. And Internet Explorer users do, in fact, have a pretty bad browsing experience despite the efforts of many web development professionals to cover for them.

I say let’s bury old and bad web browsers. Let them die. They are, in fact, failing anyway. Finally. When there’s a bad product and a free good alternative, then the bad must be junked and the good adopted. It’s long past time.

I think this is all about good work—what’s good for working web developers, what’s good for customers and, ultimately, what’s good for browser developers as well. They can and should do better.