[BrowserWatch (c) 1996 - Internet.com]

A Word To Developers
BrowserWatch News By Dave Garaffa: August 25th, 1995

Well since I'm going on a little vacation (in 8 short hours!) I thought I would clean up the BW DB's that I keep the browser info in (the data you see when you hit the home page).

Anyway, after my ritual of removing the 'hacked' Mozilla version numbers (thats a real pain and I wish those people would grow up!) I was really suprised to see how many people were using very old, very very old! browsers!

Examples? well MacMosaicB6 has been used (in the last 2 months) to visit BW almost 40 times! Heck thats one of (if not their) first release ever! Now lets talk about Netscape for a second, Mozilla versions older than v1.0? Were talking 0.9, 0.94, 0.96 (all platforms) hit the BrowserWatch home page well over 400 times!

Whats wrong with this? lots of things; Do you really want people to think thats your best work?, Do webmasters have to continue to handicap their pages to support those old versions?

I'm sure I could think of more but you get the idea...

What to do about it? Good question! Here are a few ideas I would like to offer to all the browser developers... "on the house" =-)

Expire dates in betas:

Netscape started doing this and its a good idea. But has its problems if you are not sure just how long the beta version will last.
Simple Browser Version Control:
This idea is a rip-off of a fantastic service that's being put to use in the Macintosh net.apps world! Full credit for "Simple Internet Version Control" (thats the real name) goes to Chris Johnson at UTexas (I am pretty sure he is the person who developed it, his home page is down). Its quite simple really, every X months (or when the users selects a menu option to check version) the net.software will contact a server on the internet and get the latest version information on said software; if newer, the user would be told (how) to get the latest version. In a browser it should be quite easy to just offer up a the URL. This IMHO is the better idea (for non-beta releases) I still like the expired software idea when it comes to beta.
Well I'm not sure if anyone else cares about this, I know I do. I have a feeling if you are trying to keep your web site looking its best to as many visitors as you can you will too. And, (as a developer) I'm sure you don't want old software to be kept alive when you have much better code available.

And to the people who just like to browse the web, Keep up with your browsers latest version! And I can think of no better way than to drop in on BrowserWatch every now and again to read the latest news! ;-)


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