There are a lot of reasons to be excited about web development in 2015, but the most important change in recent years has been the shift toward browsers updating themselves automatically.
No longer are we developing against a huge swath of antiquated standards and quirks from the late 1900’s. Now, we can safely develop with the knowledge users will be running code against the quirks of today. These self-updating browsers are frequently referred to as evergreen.
But is it working? Is Google really pushing out new and better versions of Chrome? Are people getting the latest stable Firefox releases from Mozilla?
Using RJMetrics, I analyzed our application’s traffic stats to see for myself. Each color represents a new version number for a particular web browser.
Incredible. It takes less than one month after release for a version of Chrome to be the most popular version.
It appears Firefox has a longer, but more consistent release schedule. I’m surprised at how predictable it is.
Safari’s release schedule is irregular and version usage lingers, even after new releases.
Not surprisingly, Apple and Microsoft lag behind on the success of their browser release schedules, but I expect both to improve as they deprecate their older releases.
The takeaway from these charts should be obvious.
- Don’t waste time testing on old versions of Chrome and Firefox.
- If you’re supporting old versions of Safari and IE, be ready to support them for a while.
The charts don’t reveal anything revelatory to most web developers, but the visual regularity of evergreen browsers is beautiful.