A Tale of Browser Woes from One Developer, to the World.

Have you ever been on a website, and just thought to yourself this just looks rubbish? There could be things all over the place, items not lining up how you would expect them to, or they just downright dont work? Well, either the sites designers and developers have an interesting eye on user interface & user experience or your browser could be out of date.

We come across this problem time and time again, with panicked calls about a broken site, and 9 times out of 10, its to do with an out of date browser. Yes, as a techie I am going to enlighten you with some browser facts, statistics and a few other interesting points along the way. Grab a coffee, and have a read.

So statistics wise, were looking at the following:

Google Chrome is dominating the market with a whopping 69% of the market. Firefox coming in second with a not too lousy 18.6%. Internet Explorer with 6.2%. Safari has 3.7% and Opera with 1.3% (accurate as of Feb 2016*)

What do we recommend?

Good question, let me help you with that. The answer is simple; for the standard user I would recommend Google Chrome. Why? Its light weight, fast, has its own release cycle independent of your operating system, it can tie in with your Google accounts (because lets face it, we all have pretty much bowed down to the mighty force of which Google is) and if not most importantly – it is easy to use.

So why not Internet Explorer (IE), Safari or Opera? Well for starters Opera is a micro browser; I remember seeing this first on mobiles where polyphonic ringtones where the real deal and bluetoothing everything to your friends using your Sony Ericsson T610 was a hobby, and seeing as its the least popular looking at the stats, I would personally leave this where it is: forgotten about in the back of your mind.

Internet Explorer – now this is an interesting subject, but I’m sure if you were to do a search you would hear developers and designers like myself endlessly winning about how bad it is. This is because generally speaking it is really, really bad. I mean really bad.

So where did it all go wrong for IE? Microsoft integrated IE into their operating system making it a required component, which made it difficult to uninstall and to use a different browser; following this, Microsoft released IE6 and then ultimately just stopped trying – they had 95% of the market using it and subsequently ended up not doing anything for 5 years yes 5 years! Firefox was released during this time and yet there was no upgrade, nor improvement.

Another major issue which us Developers faced was that Internet Explorer processed website in a way that did not follow web standards. The release of Firefox and Webkit browsers (Safari and Chrome) which processes websites according to standards, meant that IE became an absolute nightmare for web developers – having to redo things in a certain way just to get it to function properly proved difficult and ultimately a complete waste of time. This wasn’t a problem when IE held the majority of the market.

More? Yes more because IE did not update security holes, crashing exploits became more and more popular with this browser heres an example:

<script>for(x in document.write){document.write(x);}</script>

This would crash IE6 and would render it useless. So they upgraded and along came IE7 and IE8 but this was too little too late, with most Web Developers moving to Firefox and Google Chrome and this now just made websites need to be compliant with IE8, IE7 and IE6 so it made even more work. IE8 was a huge improvement don’t get me wrong, but if you join a race that’s already half finished you’re going to need to do something incredible which it didn’t. There is an improvement now with IE10 and IE11 proving to keep alongside its fellow browsers but with its track record, I would still avoid it.

Onto Safari, Apples browser. Like IE it is released with the machine, albeit an Apple Machine, however it still isn’t great. Its support and release cycle is based around the release of its Operating System, this means that for a bug or security risk they will release it with an update to the whole of the Operating system rather than downloading it and updating it like you would expect. Also, Safari hasn’t supported windows since Safari 5. Apple is now on Safari 9. Speaks for itself. Great browser if you have a Mac, but for all round experience, I’d again leave this as a last resort.

Firefox is my browser of choice when it comes to development. Stable, fast, vast amounts of plugins available – superb. But at home, I still use Chrome.

Ultimately why have I written this out for you? You may think its to persuade you into downloading a decent browser so you can experience all the lovely websites we at Huga Digital Marketing build in all their glory, but its not OK it kind of is but that’s not the point. It’s about what browsers we support, and we now support the following:

  • Google Chrome,
  • Firefox
  • Safari (Apple Mac only)
  • Internet Explorer 10 and 11

If you decide to not upgrade your browser then

Smiley face

End of Line.

W3 School How to Geek