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Discussion on: DISCUSS: How would the ideal browser for devs be like?

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foresthoffman profile image
Forest Hoffman
  1. For personal use, I use Firefox & DuckDuckGo. Likewise, for my current work, I use Chrome. I already have a significant number of Google products, so I want to limit the amount of data they are collecting about my searches. I use Chrome for work because my corp is a mix of desktop platforms internally, so there isn't much need for us to have wide support beyond the Big 3: Chrome, Safari, and Firefox.

  2. Three years ago, when I was still doing freelance full-stack web development, I used Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Opera, Safari & Chrome for iOS, and Chrome & Firefox for Android. I had this wide spread because I had to account for my client's product being used on a slew of mobile and desktop devices.

I would have to switch between browsers as I was developing, which meant that I could use the best features provided by each. Even though new browsers are coming out all the time, they all have a focus. DuckDuckGo's focus is privacy. Mozilla's focus is accessibility and competing with Chrome. Google's focus is harvesting data and syncing with other Google products.

The kicker is, no matter how good Firefox or DuckDuckGo, or whatever other focused browers you can think of, provide features to developers or hobbyists. They can't possibly surpass the spread of Chrome or Safari. And, those two frequently implement experimental features that aren't remotely close to the W3C's standards. If every big browser did conform to the standards, we as developers would be able to pick our favorite browser and be confident that it would look the same in every other one.

Unless a browser is already in use by consumers, there's no room for developers to use it. That's because our market is consumer focused. Consumers are the product. Developers are an after thought and have to scurry around to support whatever will get the most eyes on a product. It's sad to think about, but the fun part is we get to put our thumbs in a whole lot of pies! 😆

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naseki profile image
Naseki Author • Edited

Thank you for the thoughts! :)

I think perhaps you may have to think a little more outside of the box. For example, you had to switch around between browsers to see if your project worked consistently across all of them. In an ideal world, there would be a browser that has all possible browsers in one place for testing, so you don't need to have 4 windows open at the same time, and a phone with another 3 apps open. Not feasible at all of course, but it does sound like a dream!

Even if we were to be more realistic, I can't say I agree with your assessment that we should only use the browsers used by consumers. There are plenty of possibilities with Chromium-based browsers and since these would all use Blink, the site's result is basically in line with Chrome's. However, beyond what the layout engine is capable of you can add as many features as you like to the browser itself.

For example, I personally use Vivaldi as my main browser for both work and personal use. Vivaldi is a Chromium-based browser making the sites themselves identical to what you would see on Chrome. However, Vivaldi has a few built-in features that can be useful for devs, such as a CSS debugger, a hover detector, a greyscale filter to test contrast and hierarchy, and so on. Polypane is a Chromium-based browser as well where I could say the exact same thing as Vivaldi (but with a ton more dev-oriented features of course, haha).

Thinking about it, perhaps my question was a little unclear? 😳 Just edited the article a little hoping that might clarify what I'm thinking of. I thought mentioning Polypane and the feature examples would be clear enough haha!