Today the browser Internet Explorer is retired by Microsoft after 27 years of service. At the time when I stopped using it in 2003, Internet Explorer had reached it’s peak with 95% of the users.
A lifespan of almost three decades is unfathomable long in the world of software. Internet Explorer is even older than some of my colleagues.
For many people back then, Internet Explorer was synonymous with the Internet (clever naming there, Microsoft). Since it was bundled with Windows, a lot of users didn’t even know that there were an option with other browsers. This was also a time before anybody used web browsers on a mobile phone.
But even though it was the most widespread browser, version 6 became quite unpopular as it disregarded web standards and developers had to use several hacks to get web applications to work cross-platform. An even bigger issue for the general public was the increased problems with security.
An early incarnation of Firefox appeared about twenty years ago, faster and safer than Internet Explorer. Especially the extension Firebug was revolutionary for web development. Google Chrome appeared soon enough, with its Developer Tools mimicking Firebug. In June 2022, the most popular browser is Chrome at 64%, followed by Safari at 19% (sigh) with Firefox and Edge at the far bottom of the list.
Where will we be in the next 27 years? How much can the tech stack and infrastructure change? Will the dominant browser be whatever software is installed in new Tesla cars?