Sad day today.
Recently in my project I worked on a feature that was about adding different colour on the application. After releasing it and moved it to test, it came back because the hexadecimal codes were wrong. I used DigitalColor Meter (OSX software) but the tester used Eye Dropper, a Chrome extension.
Another feature another failed test. This time it was because the scroll bar was overlapping a video. But it did not on Safari, neither on Firefox. Again the tester was using Chrome.
Today in the office I am looking at the screen of my colleagues all working with Chrome. For the first day of many years, I suddenly realize how sad I am.
According to Wikipedia browser market share page, in 2016 Chrome is always more than 46,42% and Firefox is always less than 15,43%. It's not new that Chrome is number one. It's just that today I took 10 seconds to think about it. And it made me sad.
There was a time when Firefox was popular around developers back in 2007 (when I started to code for the web). It was a time when Internet Explorer was the leading browser because it was installed by default in Windows. According to the frictionless law (completely invented law which states that people will do the least effort), people used it instead of installing a new one. But developers adopted Firefox because :
- We were writing more and more web applications
- We started to think that a web browser should be more respectful of the W3C standards, which IE didn't do very well (remember differences between IE6, IE7, IE8 ?)
- Firebug started in 2006 and was an incredible tool to develop web applications
- It was highly customizable and extensible thanks to plugins
- Rendering was faster than IE
But Firefox didn't manage to get rid of IE because IE was pre installed in every Windows version. Enterprises wanted IE support.
We had to wait until end of 2009 to have the ballot screen which let users choose their web browser when they open their Windows session the first time. But Chrome was already here. The ballot screen didn't really profit to Firefox but to Chrome. All the features that were the strengths of Firefox Chrome took them and made them its own strength in a context where people were now ready to change. Firefox opened the door, Google went through it with maestria.
Chrome had three killer features :
- Rendering was faster than any other mainstream web browser
- UI was minimalist (e.g. merge of address bar and search bar)
- Short cycle updates
To achieve the supremacy, Google pre installed the browser in Android and they were good to go.
Apart from short cycle updates (that Firefox does now), Firefox always rendered web pages fast enough for me (even today) and interface is minimalist (compare two fresh installations of Firefox and Chrome and see. Ok one search bar and 3 buttons more for Firefox but come on, this is minimalist too).
Chrome is not open source. And don't say a word about Chromium, please. Firefox is not totally 100% open source but it tries to be as open source as possible. Open source should be the default. Open source is collaboration. Open source is transparency. Open source is interoperability. Open source is learning. And it is much more than that.
Firefox, I love you, and I'll never let you down.