Evergreen Browsers

…Exponential growth is seductive, starting out slowly and virtually unnoticeably, but beyond the knee of the curve it turns explosive and profoundly transformative. The future is widely misunderstood…

Today, we anticipate continuous technological progress and the social repercussions that follow. But the future will be far more surprising than most people realize, because few observers have truly internalized the implications of the fact that the rate of change itself is accelerating.

—Ray Kurzweil, The Singularity Is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology

I am privileged in two ways that are very rewarding for me:

If you’re like me, when you’re developing a new web application, you put features into mental buckets. There’s the “works in IE7” bucket, the “works in IE8” bucket, “(I think) works in IE9,” and of course, “works in MobileSafari.”

The one bucket I don’t have is the “works in Chrome” bucket. That’s too much mental overhead. Instead, if I want to test whether something works in Chrome, I just pop open a new JS Bin and try it out. I don’t worry about which version they’re on—I assume that by the time my code makes it to production, my users will be on more-or-less the same version as me.

What would the web platform look like if every browser with significant market share updated itself at the same pace—and lack of user intervention—as Chrome?

The good news is that both Internet Explorer and Firefox have adopted this strategy, and now we just have to wait for the last generation of non-evergreen browsers to die out. But even that is happening more rapidly than you might think.

There are, of course, some sticking points. On mobile devices, old versions of Android’s pitiful browser continue to linger. But now that Chrome for Android is ascendant, this too should soon be no more than a painful memory. The only large entity still casting a shadow, from where I sit, is Apple. But given the adoption rates of new iOS versions, we’ll just have to hope that the competitive pressure from Chrome for Android will force them into once again being good citizens of the web.

I am excited to be a web developer. Not only is the pace of innovation increasing, so too is the pace of delivering new features to the end user. My advice: start preparing for the future. It will be here sooner than you think.


Open Source, Thick Skin

January 24th, 2013

Yesterday, Heather Arthur posted a well-written and sad account of how she felt after the open ridicule of one of the projects she had made available on GitHub.


San Francisco, I Love You But You’re Bringing Me Down

July 8th, 2013

It’s impossible to argue that San Francisco hasn’t changed my life dramatically. When I moved to the Bay Area four years ago, I was an inexperienced kid who was working at a Genius Bar in an Apple Store. I didn’t know JavaScript at all—hell, I could barely program and my useless liberal arts degree was doing nothing for me.