The “bad old days” of the Internet have long passed. Remember them? When the browser landscape was deeply fragmented, and rife with proprietary elements, like ActiveX, Flash, and Silverlight?
Thank God they’re over. In 2017, with open standards, there’s literally no reason for proprietary lock-ins, where websites only work on certain browsers and on certain operating systems. This is good because monopolies are almost never good for the end-user. Competition is what makes the web so vibrant and exciting.
So, why am I banging on about this? Because Airbnb.
Someone tweeted the homesharing company about an issue with the website. Apparently, it’s impossible to make a reservation in Safari 9.1 The astute members of the audience know what the issue is here. That particular version of Safari came out in March, 2016. At the time of writing, the most current version of Safari is 11.0.1.
Instead of telling the user to update his browser (which is reasonable), Airbnb told him to install Chrome instead, as the site was “optimized” for it. This clearly annoyed one Chrome developer, Jeffrey Yasskin, who said: “Ugh. As a member of the Chrome team, please don’t do this.”
Ugh. As a member of the Chrome team, please don't do this.
— Jeffrey Yasskin (@jyasskin) November 27, 2017
Another company that’s openly telling users to use Chrome rather than any modern competing browser — like Firefox, Safari, and Opera — is Groupon.
Hi Larry, we apologize for the frustration. Groupon is optimized to be used on a Google Chrome browser, and while you are definitely able to use Firefox or another browser if you'd like, there can be delays when Groupon is not used through Google Chrome.
— Groupon Help U.S. (@GrouponHelpUS) November 26, 2017
Obviously, developers aren’t really impressed with this, and Groupon attracted some snark.
Ugh. As a member of the Chrome team, please don't build sites for just Chrome.
— Jeffrey Yasskin (@jyasskin) November 28, 2017
This response best viewed in 800×600 resolution and in 1995. pic.twitter.com/yrIJYZfath
— Jake Cohen (@jacobc) November 27, 2017
Building and testing your site for just one browser?
How 90s of you.
— Caspy7 (@Caspy7) November 27, 2017
This is really not acceptable. Web devs, you can do better. Develop for the *web*, not one browser. Otherwise you are screwing over your users. https://t.co/QWVtnlYp1B
— Jen Simmons (@jensimmons) November 27, 2017
In a world of open standards, there’s literally no reason why a site like Airbnb should favor one browser over another. Yes, browsers admittedly differ in how much of the HTML5 spec they’ve implemented, but by-and-large, we’re past all this proprietary bullshit.
So, let’s act like it, okay?