If you find that your web browsing experience is not all that you remember it to be, or the pages you are visiting appear to be falling apart, it might be a good time to retire your current browser.
Like all things in the digital domain, if you do not evolve and develop at a rapid pace, you are dying – digital obsolescence is a real issue today with product lifespans being shorter than ever. Generally speaking, the term ‘Browser Wars’ does not get thrown around so much these days, but that doesn’t mean that the competition between browser publishers has lessened – it remains a incredibly competitive marketplace with updated versions touting features, bug and security fixes being released all the time (nightly, if running latest beta version is your thing).
To give you some idea, Firefox has seen five major releases since the start of the year, with another three more versions scheduled for release before the end of November! In addition to that, minor version revisions are released every few weeks.
So as a general rule – if you can’t remember the last time you updated your browser, chances are it is out of date…and even if you do remember the last time you updated your browser, it could still be out of date.
As web developers, we try to cover as many platforms, devices, browsers and browser versions as budgets and time allows for. Our goal is always to produce a stable platform for our client to communicate to their target markets. But it’s also our job to keep our clients looking innovative and fresh, so we like to adopt the latest stable technology in our designs.
Usually, we develop with the latest versions of Internet Explorer and Firefox in mind. These sites are later checked in other browsers for any issues. Fixing a site to work seamlessly on an older platform can take many hours so it’s defiantly a balancing act between innovation and compatibility. Ultimately compromises have to be made. This sometimes means that our newest can’t always look pixel perfect in browsers like IE7 (released 2006!) and IE8 (released 2009!). For sites that have stricter requirement to work correctly, we always display a message letting the user know.
Thankfully the process of updating your browser is relatively painless these days, and can be done in under two minutes with just a couple of mouse-clicks. I remember the days of running down to the local news agency and installing the latest browser from a PC magazine cover CD.