Notes from “Browser Wars III: The Platform Wins”

Darin Fisher, Charles McCathieNevile, Chris Wilson, Brendan Eich and Arun Ranganathan speaking at the 2009 SXSW Interactive festival.
Photo by magerleagues

Browser Wars III: The Platform Wins

We're doing so darn much with the Web platform these days, from cross-domain access mechanisms to new drawing and graphics tools. But in the end, we still have to deal with different web browsers. This discussion brings the leads from Mozilla (Firefox), Microsoft (IE), Google (Chrome) and Opera (Opera) together for yet another incendiary discussion about the future of the web.

Q: What’s in it for Google Chrome? Why join the “browser wars”?
A: Darin: Original goal was to make Firefox more successful. Then thought best way to move the platform forward was via competition.

No single majority browser engine at the moment. Where do we go from here? How do we cooperate? How do we compete?

Q: What's up with Silverlight?
A: Chris

Q: What's up with Opera? And comments on what Chris said?
A: There are scenarios where people will use Flash and Silverlight, but if you want to reach everyone, you have to really on standards.

If we continue going forward with standards, going to be as powerful as Flash and Silverlight.

Q: How are standards made? Standard itself is going to open source licensed.
A: Charles: Like sausages, you don’t want to know. Chris: Thinks it's a great idea for standard to have an OS license. Concerns about it getting forked.

[Open source model. Quote from license book]

Q: If there is a war, it's about JavaScript. Browsers competing here. JavaScript performance is a selling point. No longer a toy language.
A: Brendan: JavaScript panel trying to move quickly. Game plan is to get everyone cooperating on making material improvements. Fairly functional group. Biggest problem is writing spec.

Same as the CSS3 group, agree that different rendering engines are better for the Web.

Chris: IE 8 is taking JavaScript seriously. And not just JS, looking at performance holistically.

Darin: V8 derived benchmarks from types of programs they thought people would build.

Charles: For years Opera had fast JavaScript engine and no one cared. Now, people care. This is a really good thing. Massive improvement in the speed of JS.

Q: about:security. Why does IE do it's own thing? XSS and clickjacking.
A: Chris: Need to respond quickly; otherwise leaving your users out to dry. IE saw the problem of clickjacking and looked at where they were in the product cycle and decided couldn't wait an entire cycle to address the problem.

Willing to be interoperable.

Cross-domain request sharing access things now.

Q: Chrome also has some interesting security
A: Two parts to security. Web (identity) and the operating system. Sandboxing to protect OS. If use file:// URLs, new rendering engine created.

Why did Java fail?

The applet model and required higher-priced, higher-skilled programmers.

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