Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Google Chrome Drawbacks (for lazy developers)

If as a user and software engineer I am nothing less than aroused by Google Chrome release after reading the brilliant comic (Google Chrome Comic) they are using as presentation, as a mere nitty-gritty developer I am somewhat worried about the fact that we'll have to bitch with yet another browser in order to produce cross-browser web apps.

It might seems a little obtuse (or plain lazy) - but yet at the moment if you are developing a ASP.NET application and you set as a system requirement IE x - no one complains.
On the other end we all now that if you start requiring something different than IE (i.e. Firefox or Google Chrome now) complaints will flood back like crazy.

Hence you have two possible ways to go:

1) develop your ASP.NET web-app optmized for IE (short for 'we didn't even bother running it even once on Firefox or anything else, so if it breaks it is YOUR problem')
2) develop a cross-browser application (short for 'we developed it on Firefox and que serĂ  serĂ ')

Option 2 could now assume a hell of a new meaning (I am talking stuff like adding yet another 'if' to all your javascripts) - possibly nothing will change since the google guys are sound guys and the webkit blah blah blah and the new javascript virtual machine (V8 - that has a specific API which can be included by other browsers and so forth) hell yeah.

Anyway apart from complaining regardless (I am a developer - it's my nature), I am looking forward to put my hands on the thing and assist to a new chapter of Browser Wars (coming soon on your machines and portable devices).

kick it on DotNetKicks.com


Bart said...

I don't it has with people being "lazy". Its just another item add to the scope and adds another 2-3 weeks of development and 2-3 weeks of QA testing to the project timeline (depends on the project of course).

In rare specific scenarios (i.e SharePoint) for business users you could just focus on IE and be OK. Firefox is a must for compatibility for internet users. Chrome is going to bring cloud computing to the users and offer different feature way beyond just a browser. Problem is that once Chrome reaches...5-10% market you will not be able to avoid it as a developer and have to learn it and code for it.

This is why I think Web 3.0 with RIA technology will deprecate this cycle. Developers having to worry about plumbing code (JavaScript, HTML, CSS layouts) for different browsers is simply obsolete with RIA plugins like Silverlight/Flex. Let Microsoft/Adobe figure out how to get the plug-in to work in the browser and let me design the application.

Bart Czernicki

Anonymous said...

It's not lazy to design to one browser (e.g., IE) it's a matter understanding and building products to your target consumer. If you're on a controlled network it's one thing to build a product. If you're building a product for the Internet at large you need to build it for IE, Firefox, Opera, Webkit, and mobile browsers. Mobile browsers are on pace to becoming the #1 place people around the world surf the net.

I'll admit that making a site browser compliant can be a pain. I typically build it to proper CSS/xhtml which Firefox and Webkit render correctly and then do a conditional include for IE since it doesn't hold to the standards very well.

The reality of the matter is we live in a multibrowser world and when there was just one dominant browser the technology didn't go anywhere.

In this case you don't really have to add another rendering engine to the list to check. Webkit should already be there due to the iPhone, Safari, and Knoquor using it.

Johnny Idol said...

I basically agree with the above -what I am saying (in a hell of a lot of words) is that now developing cross-browser apps could eventually become significantly more complicated. Said so - we all like progress and Google Chrome looks like a killer app so far

Anonymous said...

If you're doing JavaScript try using jQuery, Prototype, Mootools, or some other library that does the cross browser compatibility for you.

Johnny Idol said...

Thanks for the suggestion - using dojo at the moment which is supposed to be cross-browser, but we all know it's not always like that