The Age of Evergreen Web Browsers

Less Worry About Cross Browser Support!


The toughest question a developer always has to face during and after developing a website is “Does it work in all the browsers?”. More often than not most websites are built with a few hacks to make them work in all the browsers, especially the big four and in some cases, it’s important to mention on the website that older browsers are not supported. In the near future (which has already started now), this will no longer be an issue because of the rise of evergreen web browsers!

So what is an evergreen web browser? This is a web browser that automatically updates itself to the latest stable version without any human intervention. Yep, that’s it. It’s that simple. Firefox, Chrome, Safari and IE10 browsers all have the ability to update themselves. Let’s consider the Chrome browser. If you use Chrome, chances are, you don’t even know what version you’re running. That’s because Chrome (and Firefox, Safari and IE10) is an Evergreen Browser. That means it always keeps itself up to date with the latest stable release. You don’t need to do anything to make that happen.

This development significantly changes front-end web development. Essentially, it means that when targeting Evergreen Browsers, you can be pretty confident that if your code runs on your browser, it’s going to run on your customer’s browser too. This means that it no longer becomes important to inject conditional code based on “user agent sniffing” code or other mechanisms of determining a browser’s version. Instead, use feature detection…or just use a polyfill for whatever feature you want. Then, when the browser updates itself the native implementation will take over in place of your shim code.

Now I must admit that we are still quite afar from from achieving ‘nirvana’ as far as this issue is concerned, as a browser like Chrome updates itself on average once a month, while on the other extreme side a browser like IE, updates itself much less frequently . . .at worst, once a year. However with the introduction of the Microsoft Edge browser, this update frequency issue has received the much needed attention. Hence as Microsoft Edge gets rolled out around the world in the next year or two we should see Microsoft becoming less of a headache for developers around the world


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