Thursday, September 30, 2004

The future of browsers

The importance of browsers to bloggers should be pretty obvious. Not only do you use your browser to create and maintain your blog, you also have to take into account what browsers your users might be using.

I think we're all familiar with the problems with standards compliance that Internet Explorer exhibits. Has anyone thought about why this has come to pass? Why has Microsoft allowed IE to slip behind everyone else? The fact is, Microsoft has not come out with a major upgrade to IE since August of 2001. In computer age terms, that is about like saying nothing has been done since the depression.

Microsoft has made it pretty clear that it will not be coming out with any standalone browsers in the future. It looks like the next version of Windows will have the browser built in --take it or leave it.

At the heart of the controversy is Microsoft's longtime insistence that the browser isn't a standalone piece of software, as it is most commonly thought of, but merely a feature of the Windows operating system. In future releases of Windows, starting with the long-awaited Longhorn, Web browsing functionality will be embedded deeply within applications, reaffirming the Windows interface rather than the browser as the center of the computing experience. --ZDNet

Let's not forget that Microsoft completely dropped support for the Mac version of Internet Explorer. If Google gets into developing standalone browsers, maybe we can actually look forward to more browser wars like we had with Netscape v. IE.