WWW of Browsers

, posted: 12-Jun-2010 12:47

At present I am busy testing my website that is due to launch in a couple of weeks.  It just occurred to me. Why are there so many different browsers just to surf the web?  Surely, one particular browser can incorporate all of the technology and functionality of Firefox, Safari, IE and Chrome?

In my "real" day-to-day grind I call work, I am responsible for training as well as ensuring web applications are in good working order. In user testing, I am required to test something not once, but multiple times.  First IE7, IE8, then Firefox, then Safari, and finally Chrome.  With the huge fuss over the iPad, now everything should be compatible with that too according to the boss.

I wonder how long it will take the world to realise, working collaboratively is not only more efficient but also less daunting for web developers.  It comes down the dollars and choices I suppose.  I can see some browsers dying off (IE please!  But doubt it) and some joining forces in the future. 

Oh wait, and there are plenty of mobile browsers too!

What do you guys think will happen in the future with web browsers?  Will more crop up, or they will finally decide to collaborate?

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Comment by Hamish MacEwan, on 12-Jun-2010 16:18

I hope, and am pretty sure, they won't "collaborate" in the sense of eliminating choice and aggregating into one uber-browser that will rule them all. I think that's what you mean as it would resolve the issue of testing sites against more than a few web browsers.

Better browsers should observe standards, but that's as likely as the uber-browser.

On an open WWW, the one that succeeded so wildly and so fast, closing it down to a single solution would cripple it, or turn it into the iWWW, which of course Jobs is trying to do.

Comment by stuzzo, on 12-Jun-2010 22:31

I can appreciate the frustration of having to test and allow for multiple browsers. Having one browser is unlikely to be more efficient ,though , unless we get really lucky.

When one browser ruled the roost, IE, we weren't happy either as there was no incentive to innovate.

Comment by Buttonmash, on 13-Jun-2010 00:39

@Hamish: iWWW?  By removing support for proprietary Adobe 'standards' and pushing HTML5?   iPhone/iPad appliance development has nothing to do with browsers or web standards.

Comment by lotech, on 13-Jun-2010 15:28

I suppose in some ways theres really only 4 browsers anyway by the fact that Webkit is used in Chrome & Safari.
One things for sure there needs to be at least 3 browsers to give us some sembilance of competition - if there was just one we'd be all using IE6 and in a much worse place.

Also I agree with Buttonmash - people should move on from villifying Apple over the whole Flash thing - its not like they're saying 'Don't use Flash, use our solution' they're saying 'Don't use flash - use a standard we can all use and contribute to and one that isn't tied to one company'. Sure Flash was important (and still will be for a while longer) but its good to have someone drawing a line the sand.
Want Flash? Don't buy an Apple mobile device and instead buy something else and blog about how awesome it is to have flash.

Comment by oxnsox, on 14-Jun-2010 12:17

There will only be one browser choice when we all drive exactly the same car to travel down the highway.

Comment by jonb, on 14-Jun-2010 13:02

Buttonmash and lotech: check out this story for interesting example of apples idea of a html 'open' standard:

Comment by lotech, on 14-Jun-2010 17:41

@jonb - As Apple do make one of the browsers available of course they're going to showcase their product ahead of others. The fact is Safari supports some elements of HTML5 that aren't supported elsewhere yet is a fair reason why they push Safari on their own site.
Theres plenty of other showcases that will work on most HTML5 supporting browsers - http://html5gallery.com/ is a good one.

Comment by LukeChandler, on 17-Jun-2010 13:15

All you would need is http://browsershots.org/ it takes screenshots in every browser so you can see whats happening

heavenlywild's profile

New Zealand

A kiwi currently on an OE in Australia, working full-time.  

I love technology and everything about it, although I am not a whiz in programming.  

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