More than a decade ago, browser version numbers were changing slowly. For example, Mozilla Firefox 3.0 was released on the 17th of June 2008. Then many security and stability updates were released, and the last version of the 3.0.x product line was 3.0.19, which became publicly available in March 2010. But those days, Google Chrome was born. Chrome’s developers treated each release as major, incrementing the first digit of the version every few months. Later, other browsers decided to follow that way, and very soon, version 100 of Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, and Microsoft Edge will be released. Below we’ll tell you what might happen soon.
Experienced IT specialists know about “the year 2000 bug”. Many software used only two last digits of the year for date calculations, so 2000 was treated as 1900. That could cause incorrect calculations. The issue was discovered a few years before 2000, so there was time for pre-emptive actions. The world encountered only minor issues.
About ten years ago, browsers reached version 10, which caused some issues on the websites that were using browser sniffing to serve version-specific content and scripts. So, the browsers with version 10 were detected as browsers with version 1, thus recognized as unsupported.
Now version number of all of the most-widespread browsers is nearing 100, and some issues are expected again. However, there is still some time to avoid this. The browsers have a special flag that can be enabled to test their sites for compatibility. But even if that’s not done, there are still backup plans. For example, Google is going to implement another flag in the settings to freeze the major version at 99. In Firefox, the strategy will depend on how important the breakage is. One of the possible fixes is also sending version 99 instead.