Return of the Browser Warfirefox vs IE

War, what is it good for? Well despite my title sounding like the title to a new episode of Flash Gordon, browser wars are a little less dramatic. I have been developing websites for over ten years now. Back in the mid nineties Netscape was king of the web. Then Microsoft launched IE 4.0 and bundled it with Windows 95. With each browser containing its own way of rendering your code, as well as custom HTML it made a web designers life that little more difficult. Things actually got much simpler when Netscape finally died and IE took over. By IE 6.0 Netscape’s market share was almost non-existent and for a short while there was piece in the web world and programmers had an easy time of it.

The piece was short lived though. In December 2005 Microsoft stopped shipping internet explorer to the Mac platform to be replace by Apple Safari. The lack of competition on Windows though meant Microsofts development seemed to grind to a halt. It was around this time Firefox, which appeared in around 2002 began to gain popularity. Appearing out of the ashes of Netscape it provided a real alternative to Internet Explorer. So in what seemed no time at all we had gone from one browser up to three.

It the last 12 months the market has got even more congested. Losing market share Microsoft has again put their weight again behind browser development. Internet Explorer 7.0 was released around 2 years ago and Internet Explorer 8.0 is just around the corner. Google in a surprise move has also just released a new browser called Chrome for Windows. With IE 6.0 still having over 20% market share and IE7.0 soon to be upgradable to IE8.0 we’ll soon be faced with needing to program for six browsers for Windows and two for Mac. That’s eight web browsers in total all with their own idiosyncrasies. Even with the so called ‘move towards web standards’ we still come across many interpretations to these standards in each new browser.

With a higher demand than ever for sophisticated online graphics and an expectation of a pixel perfect facsimile of your website on every browser, it seems for a long time to come programming websites is not going to get any easier. Luckily us and other web design agencies have some very talented programmers.

 

( image couresty of http://www.grafhp.ch/  )