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Is the web becoming fragmented? [Aug. 31st, 2010|02:43 pm]
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Peteris Krumins writes:

So I participated in the 48 hour Node.js Knockout competition together with James Halliday and Joshua Holbrook. Our team was called Dark Knights and we created an online chess application called Node Chess.

Oh, and it works only [on] Chrome. Ancient-browsers-please-be-gone!

My question is: how can you call Firefox, whose latest stable release was on the 23 of July this year and which has perfectly usable and nightly builds ancient?

It is highly possible that due to the recent hype surrounding HTML 5 and its mutually partial implementation by the different browsers, that we are entering a situation where many sites or demos will only work on particular browsers. This didn't start with Peteris' post - naturally. Previously, someone from the Israeli Internet Society referred me to some demos that said required a WebKit-based browser, and during a presentation about HTML 5 in an "Alphageeks" meeting, the presenter had to use three different browsers, because all the features he wanted to demonstrate did not work on all of them. And this is without taking the account Apple's block of non-"Apple Safari" browsers from its HTML 5 demos and the fact that www.spice-space.org obnoxiously redirects you to "This site requires JavaScript" page if JavaScript is disabled, and many other sites do not function properly without JavaScript enabled.

And as a commenter on Reddit for a web demo said, while the demoscene people have been trying to produce demos that utilise the most out of the computer's resources, the web demos have come to waste a lot of resources in creating anachronistic demos, whose only selling point is that they run inside a browser. As Joel on Software notes: Combined with the speed and responsiveness from Ajax, FogBugz has almost reached the level of speed and fluidity of my dry cleaner's DOS 2.0 character mode database application. And that's pretty darn responsive for a web app.

Are we headed into another "Best viewed with Netscape 2.0", "Best viewed with Internet Explorer 4.0", etc. era of web fragmentation, because we opened the Pandora box of HTML 5? As for me, if I were a judge on that competition that Peteris took part of, I would fail his project due to not being capable of running on my ancient browser.