Google Saved My Life

Hearing programmers enthuse about Chrome, probably sounds sad!

ie_is_not_dead_thumbLike petrol heads asking about ‘torque’. Who cares, as long as the car goes !

What many may not realise is, Microsoft’s monopoly of the web browser between 2001 and 2007, led to many web developers stopping writing code for websites altogether.

ie7bugThe plethora of bugs in Internet Explorer (v6, v7) led to programmers having to write endless lines of code fixes for the simplest of tasks.

In 2003, I too had had my fill of bug fixes. I didn’t like the limitations of code generation packages like FrontPage or Dreamweaver, so I stopped creating websites. I didn’t return until 2008.

Breaking IE’s Monopoly

In 2008, Mozilla Firefox took 15% of the market, previously held by Internet Explorer. Up until recently, an estimated 98% of browser usage had been via Internet Explorer! Mozilla keenly embraced the innovations pioneered by minority browser ‘Opera’ 10 years earlier that Microsoft had failed to adopt. So what’s that got to do with Google ?

Old Grudges

In the 1990’s Netscape Navigator was the first commercial browser and Internet Explorer’s only competitor. Whilst free to individuals, it was paid for by businesses. Netscape lost the first browser war to Microsoft.

Firefox rose from the ashes of Netscape Navigator. This time around, to compete, Firefox had to be free like Internet Explorer. So they became a non-profit making organisation but they still needed to generate revenue from somewhere to cover their costs.

That’s where Google stepped in.

They offered to pay Firefox every time someone used their search engine via a Firefox browser. Although Google soon launched their own very successful browser Chrome, they still support Firefox to this day.

Setting the Standards

browser-warsIn a radical move of cooperation, Firefox, Chrome and Apple’s ever present Safari got together to agree web standards once and for all.

Microsoft were invited to the party, however I guess they couldn’t see any money in it, so failed to show up.

A Quite Revolution

This move was a game changer in web design. For the first time these 3 browsers (who share 55% of the UK market) had an agreed standard and no longer required additional fixes. Cutting development time down significantly, it made hand coding cost effective again.

The slow kid

Unfortunately Internet Explorer is still around. So there are still fixes to write for all the new coding innovations it doesn’t know about.

However, the developments of it’s smarter competitors has meant IE has had to tidy up it’s act. The last version, IE9 is a significant improvement on those when it dominated the market.

So now we can focus more on innovations and less on browser repair work.

God bless Google.

2017-04-27T12:04:30+00:00 Mar 27, 2012|Digital Affordance|