Pushing the Web Forward

Those of us who have spent any amount of time on the web surely realize that the modest browser – be it Chrome, Firefox, Safari, IE, Opera, or what have you – is the key to how we view the internet.  Changes in browser technology and web standards have given birth to the modern Web, which allows devices of all shapes, sizes, and forms to render beautiful websites for us.

That’s awesome.

Outdated browsers are not.

Anyone with web coding experience will tell you that trying to support older browsers is a headache.  But it’s more than that, really – accommodating old browsers holds us back.  It preempts good design.  It stifles creativity.  And by and large, older browsers are less secure and less user-friendly to boot.

The benefit of modern browsers is their ability to incorporate updates on the fly – Chrome and Firefox, for example, auto-update themselves and relieve end users of the chore of locating the most recent version and installing it.  However, we’re still dealing with a slew of users on outdated browers (we’re looking at you, IE).  Here’s a great graph from W3Counter to illustrate the point.  IE8 is #6 in terms of worldwide usage, and it’s a five-year old browser!  Now, the percentage may not be that high, but 5% of worldwide internet users is still a big number.

One of the best ways to keep the web moving forward is to give everyone the best browsing experience – and that means keeping browsers up to date.  Here are two plugins you can use to check which browsers your visitors are using, and to encourage them to upgrade:

PHP Browser Detection performs a browser check using PHP and then lets you assign specific directions with your own code.  If you like PHP, this is the plugin for you.

Advanced Browser Check prompts users to update their browsers based on minimum conditions you specify in the plugin’s control panel.  For example, you can specify that any version of Internet Explorer below IE10 will be shown a popup prompting them to update their browser.  The popup includes accompanying text that you can specify.

And sysadmins, this is especially important for you.  Deploying browsers on an enterprise level can be time-consuming, but if you move to Chrome or Firefox, you get the benefit of automatic updates and the security of modern browsing software.  That helps your users enjoy the web’s full features, and keeps them more secure at the same time.

Let’s keep the web moving forward together.  Let’s keep our browsers up to date.

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