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This ain’t another article on Browser Wars. The Internet has come a long way and so has the industry of Internet Browsers. If you have ever used the Internet in your life then you have spent some time with Internet Browsers. From the designer’s and developer’s perspective the browsers of today have been an important tool that shape the Internet. Henceforth, in between all the browser debates we, the average Joe, starts to long for that ultimate browsing experience which is a dream as of now. A browsing experience which is free of memory over utilization pit falls and incompatibility of code. This article will dig into the thoughts of users, designers and developers in order to understand what is the ultimate browser feature that completes a browser.
Well, users are the key to everything. So, we will start by understanding the user’s perspective about the browser’s of today. This section will concentrate on the usability side of the browser features as that is the most important feature that users look for.
The most important issue for users who are using old machines. As of now almost every browser uses a separate process for every new tab opened in one window. This means that if you open one browser window and then open five tabs inside that window then you have indirectly opened five different browser windows. Now, these five different browser windows will use up equal amounts of memory and sooner or later you will see a resource crunch provided that you don’t have loads of memory to back you up.
This is another aspect of browsers that is a turn off for users. Browsers tend to over utilize the system resources especially when they are loading pages that require a high amount of CPU cycles. Like if you open multiple tabs with YouTube videos running in all of them then you will see a significant slowdown in performance. See, I don’t mean that this will happen in all machines. There are processors that can bear almost any load, but then not all of us have that sort of processing power. Right?
For such users it is very important that their Internet Browser does not over use the system resources.
Well, this one is a far-fetched dream but then we are kind of dreaming only right now. True? There is this notion that because Internet Browsers use a lot of system resources they end up consuming more battery power. This in turn degrades the battery life. I am not sure how, but there has to be a way that one can get rid of this issue that plagues almost every user, regardless of how good their computer is.
Nowadays the mobile browsing experience has gone to amazing heights and so has the lighter version of browsers that power these mobile phones. I am assuming that these light version of browsers will soon be available on desktops so that we don’t consume too much energy and save battery power.
Data synchronization between multiple platforms is an important factor that must be addressed by various browsers. I don’t like the fact that my browsing history is not always in sync between my mobile browser and that I have to follow a set of steps if I want to synchronize the same between two platforms. Although Firefox has been good enough when it comes to synchronizing data between two devices yet most of the other browsers are still catching up. We just hope that they do so quickly.
The Internet has emerged as a place where all over-the-top socially sound human beings connect with each other. Lately, Internet Browsers have started to integrate most of the social networking platforms in the browser itself which helps the users to stay connected throughout their browsing sessions. Still, the seamless sort of browser and social media integration is still missing from most of the browsers.
Designers look at the web from a totally different perspective. For them load time, memory issues and over usage of CPU just don’t matter. For designers it is all about the aesthetic looks of the website, the UX and the flows. Now, in such a scenario it was really difficult for me to figure out what could be the best browser feature from a designer’s perspective. Henceforth, I won’t squeeze in much from my side. As of now I can think of just one feature that designers will surely appreciate and let me push that for the readers.
Well, social media has become an integral part of the web. No website is complete without social media integration. It is so necessary that designers are forced to pick up space in their design and push social media apps in those spaces. The end result is that even though the design looks good some of the precious space is lost due to this necessary integration. If, somehow, browsers provide a sort of social media integration that is compatible with every website then designers will have the freedom to design websites without worrying about any sort of social media integration for that website. The code itself will interact with the browser and help the users connect to respective social media accounts of that website without even trying to worry about the social media buttons on the website.
Just image, you won’t have to think about leaving Facebook Like box and other similar stuff on a website. You can easily use that space for ads or much useful content. Helps remove the clutter.
Developers. Another important chunk of the web design industry that shapes the Internet. From their lens the Internet is something else. They don’t think like the daily Internet users and neither do they think like the designers. They think in code. They are someone who dreams about creating codes that will do every possible bit of work that users do. Crazy people I tell you.
If it wasn’t for the developers then cross-browser efficiency would never have been a topic of discussion. Let me try to dig into the requirements of the genius developers.
HTML5 has surely taken the web by storm but alongside its success has been this chunk of developers who have been left behind just because of its compatibility issues. A huge section of the Internet is using old browsers and somehow HTML5 might not be able to show its real firepower when used in older browsers. It is this incompatibility that is a turn-off for developers. HTML5 will be a treat for developers as soon as it starts working equally in all browsers, though such a day is far away, really.
Another compatibility issue that developers have to fight with on a day-to-day basis. Imagine the headache a developer has who has to make sure that a website displays the same in all sorts of browsers. This proves to be a headache as (like we know) most of the browsers have this sort of fight going on between them due to which they don’t pay much heed to compatibility issues.
Nothing will be possible till all the browser companies sit together and pledge to come up with one common platform where developers will get the freedom to create one code that works for all browsers. Till then, developers have to perform cross-browser checks over and over and over.
This is one browser feature that developers dream to have. Firefox add-ons like Firebug provide similar functionality where developers can edit the code on the fly, but then we are far from what we want. Browsers must have the on-the-fly editing tool which developers can use to edit code and experience changes right away. It isn’t difficult, is it? It is just the matter of time and sooner or later it will happen. The question is when will such a feature be built-in on all the browsers?
The list is huge and will continue to evolve with time. It is human nature to look for more than whatever he or she has. That is the reason why we have been evolving ever since we landed on this planet. I just hope that some of these features will be quickly implemented in all browsers and not just a few. Seamless compatibility is what I am talking about. Get it, anyone?
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Salman Siddiqui is an alpha geek, design guru and seasoned WordPress critic. Writing, for him, started out of ego but it has become the most luring and enlightening career option of his life. He is walking that extra mile for his freelancing dream.