There is a move towards preferring the Firefox browser, especially by programmers and those in the know, because of Chrome’s increasingly anti-privacy choices, but is Firefox keeping up with the modern web?
As a developer forced by circumstance to use many of the “latest” web dev features, I am particular sensitive to what works and what doesn’t. Recently I have come to the conclusion that in a multitude of small ways Chrome is ahead of Firefox. Of course, it isn’t easy to be objective as finding out what browser supports what advanced feature isn’t easy. Firefox 69 is the latest release and its list of new features also focuses the mind on what hasn’t made it into the code just yet – if ever.
The addition of the Resize Observer API is good news and it lets you hook into changes in the size of an element’s content or border box. Good news, but Chrome has supported it since version 64 at the start of 2018.
There are lots of examples where Chrome has the latest and Firefox is catching up. In some cases there is even no info on when the feature might appear. The most important is probably the lack of support for 2D graphics in OffscreenCanvas – Firefox seems to support it but only in WebGL mode. It is this sort of lag that means you are likely to see “works best in Chrome”.
After the moan, it is good to see that the developer tools are getting better. Firefox now supports remote debugging, event listener breakpoints and stepping though async functions.
Why is Firefox lagging? Is it just the number of developers that Google can throw at Chrome? Could Mozilla spend its resources better by concentrating on supporting core standards rather than implementing user interface tweaks, forcing Pocket integration on users, making recommendations based on usage and so on. Target the developers or the devs will stop targeting you.
Firefox’s market share is going down and, to paraphrase Steve Balmer, it needs developers, developers, developers…