Rapid updates for Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox to hundreds
Software

Rapid updates for Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox to hundreds of versions can break many websites

Versions of Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge and Mozilla Firefox will appear under number 100 very soon – this will be the first three-digit number that can break some websites. Upgrading to version 100 in the coming weeks may cause bugs and compatibility issues with some network resources not willing to read the 3-digit user-agent number. Google, Mozilla and Microsoft try to prevent the negative consequences of serious problems.

Image source: gettotext.com

Image source: gettotext.com

Browser manufacturers have been warning users for months about the upcoming version 100 release, which will come in March for Chrome and Edge and in May for Firefox. Google and Mozilla actively test websites and occasionally report bugs. Fortunately, the list of problems is now quite small. The most notable issues are with HBO Go, Bethesda, and Yahoo.

“When browsers first reached version 10 about 12 years ago, many problems with the user-agent parsing libraries were discovered as the major version number began to contain two digits instead of one.”, explains the Firefox development team on the Mozilla blog. Like the infamous Y2K bug when many computers thought 1900 was after 1999, browsers that switch to version 100 can bring unforeseen problems. Some parsing libraries may have hard-coded options that don’t honor the 3-digit browser version numbers.

To ensure a smooth transition to the 100th version, Google, Microsoft and Mozilla have added a special flag to the current versions of their proprietary browsers that developers can enable to tell Chrome, Edge and Firefox version number 100 and help with website testing . Additionally, browser makers have a backup plan in case problems spread. Mozilla says it will either fix affected websites or temporarily freeze the major version of Firefox at 99 if the outages are massive and unmanageable. Google plans to add a flag to Chrome 100 that will allow the browser to report user-agent 99 to sites. Microsoft has not yet commented on how it will handle potential problems.

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About the author

Robbie Elmers

Robbie Elmers is a staff writer for Tech News Space, covering software, applications and services.

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