I have something to say about that…

The evergreen web

You know those old browsers in TVs, exercise bikes, kiosks and the like that can’t browse the web anymore? Have you ever noticed how strange it is that they become dusty and increasingly hard to use, when the browsers in your mobile phone or laptop carry on very well?

It happens because no one keeps them up to date. As web technologies (and therefore, websites) evolve around them, they get further away from being able to handle what a site serves them. And as a result, they become increasingly less useful.

A black-and-white old browser with an error message: "Unable to load https://theguardian.com"
Photo from an exercise bike’s defunct browser, from Peter O’Shaughnessy of @samsunginternet

I’ve edited a finding with the W3C Technical Architecture Group about that.

In The Evergreen Web, we write:

Constant evolution is fundamental to the Web’s usefulness. Browsers that do not stay up-to-date place stress on the ecosystem. These products potentially fork the web, isolating their users and developers from the rest of the world.

Browsers are a part of the web and therefore they must be continually updated. Vendors that ship browsers hold the power to keep the web moving forwards as a platform, or to hold it back.