It’s worth taking a look at the browser statistics and their trends. In the table below you can see the market share of the main browsers in 2016 and 2017. On this link you can check the numbers from the former years, too. The current market share numbers are also interesting but I think the trends are even more interesting.
In 2003 Internet Explorer dominated the web browser market with a massive 88% market share. Since then it has continuously declined and reached the 4.6% in April 2017 (IE+Edge together). IE had very bad days, it used to be the most hated browser. But I think it has changed by now. IE, especially Edge now has a better reputation.
Firefox was on the top in 2009 with a 47.9% market share, and it was the most popular browser in the next 2 years. Then it started to decline and reached the 13.6% in April 2017. The decline seems to continue and I have a kinda feeling that it’s taking over the most hated browser role from IE. At least among developers and software engineers. Please read on and you will see what I mean.
Chrome has increased its market share from 3.1% to 75.7% in the 2008–2017 time frame. It’s a pretty significant achievement. It looks like many Firefox and IE users switched to Chrome. Chrome is currently the fastest browser, but it is also true that many users complain about the high RAM usage. Personally I have never had any problem with the high RAM usage.
Safari has a had a pretty stable 3–4% market share since 2009 and it doesn’t seem it will change. I think this number rather represents the Mac users, I don’t think that there are many users who use Safari on Windows.
Opera is kind of an odd one out. I think this is the most underrated browser considering its market share that has always been around 1–2%. A few weeks ago I gave it a try. It’s pretty fast (users claim that is faster than Chrome) and lightweight. I didn’t have a chance to use it for a longer time, but my first impressions were very positive. One day it might become a very popular browser.
Firefox through the eyes of a developer
Then my experiences were confirmed. I heard from several sources that Firefox caused a big headache for other developers, too, so it was not just me. I also saw a tweet from a software engineer “Firefox is the new IE”.
Firefox and my browser extensions
I created 2 browser extensions for Ninja. You can read the story in this blog post. One of the extensions is very simple, it just opens the Ninja Dashboard in a new tab, it gives the users a quick access to their bookmarks. The other extension is not that simple, it brings up the “Add to Ninja” dialog where you can select which Tab/Category you want to add the bookmark to or you can also add tags to the bookmark. I submitted both extensions to the Chrome web store and to the Firefox add-ons store, too. Then came another surprise. Firefox rejected my submission of the “simpler” extension. Just because it is too simple… Here’s the official explanation:
Since your add-on only opens a web page in a separate tab, it cannot be listed. You are welcome to upload a newer version with increased functionality.
Wow! Fortunately they offered another option. I can get my extension signed by Firefox and instead of having it in the Firefox add-ons store I can host it on my own website. This is what I did. But unfortunately this was again another disappointment with Firefox.