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.”
Another company that’s openly telling users to use Chrome rather than any modern competing browser — like Firefox, Safari, and Opera — is Groupon.
Obviously, developers aren’t really impressed with this, and Groupon attracted some snark.
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?