Browsers - can't we all get along?
05 Aug 2011 James Ing
Browser wars, first there were none, then one, now many.
Can't we all just play together nicely like our mums told us to?
The web has a long history of browsers competing for market share. Many of us will remember the old Netscape vs IE browser war. Early web pages were often designed to look correctly in one or the other, rarely both.
The solution to solving webpages looking different across browsers was to implement industry standards for how browsers should display/render HTML and CSS. Unfortunately many of these standards were not finalized by the time IE6 was released in 2001. Leading to some of today's biggest cross browser headaches.
Lack of competition during IE6's life-cycle allowed it to dominate the market share of browsers. This started to change in 2004 with the release of Mozilla's browser Firefox. This heralded the next round of the browser wars (which is ongoing). This new competitor in the browser market prompted Microsoft to update their browser, releasing IE7, IE8, and most recently IE9.
Mozilla and Microsoft aren't the only players in the modern browser market. The modern web landscape is viewed by a multitude of browsers such as the previously mentioned Firefox and IE, but also includes browsers such as Chrome, Safari, and Opera.
The web is constantly evolving and currently the industry is finalizing the next set of standards for HTML5, and CSS3. All major browsers are going through and implementing these standards, with vendors preferring to prioritize between getting more of the standards implemented, rather than waiting till the standards are completely finalized before adding them to their browsers.
What does this mean for the future web developers and web users?
With stronger adherence to standards it means web developers will spend less time working on getting webpages to look and work correctly across multiple browsers, and focus more on pushing the boundaries of what's possible with the web.
Ultimately it means getting the best experience from the web regardless of what browser you're using. No longer will some users miss out on content and functionality from website simply because they use one browser over another.
So who will win the browser wars? Besides rendering the pages correctly, browsers will still complete for speed and extra functionality that adds to the user experience
In the end, if all browsers render webpages exactly the same as each other, isn't that a win for all of us?
If you want to learn more or want to have a chat about something in this blog, drop a comment or contact us through the website and we can have a good ole chit-chat (fish and chips not guaranteed, though likely).