Browser Wars forever

Remember the dark days of the Browser Wars? I remember making whole Netscape versions of pages as well as IE versions – Yeh, we did that.

Those days are behind us, but I wonder what techniques we’ll laugh at in another ten years.

Perhaps we’ll laugh at how we made native iOS apps in addition to mobile sites. Or perhaps the other way around – Facebook changed their mind twice – I seriously have no idea which direction that whole thing is going.

Perhaps we’ll laugh at our obsession with having a single site for all devices, regardless of screen size or device capabilities. It looks like we’ve got a good thing going on with adaptive design, but something has to ruin that before long.

But at least every major browser supports HTML5 now, so the Browser Wars are over, right? 

Even if you ignore all non-current browsers, the writing of vendor-specific code is secure for the foreseeable future. Despite IE10’s HTML5 support, it has a completely different touch event model to that found on iOS and Android.

But the extra coding isn’t the most important part about this fact. IE10’s event model is different for a reason – because the whole operating system revolves around the principle that it can be a touch device one minute and a Desktop the next. This blows the lid off some common adaptive design mistakes assumptions. (The screen is large, so the user has a mouse. The screen is small, so they’re using their finger)

I’m not saying that Windows 8 is a huge paradigm shift, or that it’s to blame for anything, but it reminds me that the Browser Wars are not over. The rules can be easily broken by new devices and new operating systems as they strive to out-do their competition. We’ll continue to be stuck in the middle and we’ll continue to deal with it.


Your move, Internet!