The Older Browser – Worth the SaaS Development Effort?
Changes in browser versions has always, in the past, posed its own problems for those developing web sites and applications, trying to ensure that all bases are covered and that no existing users are left short-changed just because they’ve chosen to upgrade or, indeed, not to upgrade. For companies like 37signals that produce web based products that work as software as a service applications, this can cause huge development headaches.
Today’s web environments, however, have alleviated many of those problems, with the introduction of Chrome seeing automatic updating of browsers, allowing users to keep with the development curve without even needing to know what version they are on!
Other browsers that have followed the Chrome suit in providing automatic updates is Firefox and Safari.
37signals reports that more than forty percent of Basecamp users are using Chrome and, further, that a total of ninety-seven percent are distributed over three different versions. Firefox has a third of Basecamp users with Safari representing the third largest browser for Basecamp users, having around thirteen percent of the user base. In fact, Internet Explorer has only eleven percent of Basecamp users, but these users are spread across a range of different versions of the browser, with a large number of this percentage still working on IE7, a browser that is over five years old.
The remaining percentage of Basecamp users are on what 37signals would call ‘undesirables’ in terms of browser type and version and these take a significant amount of development and support effort!
With this in mind, 37signals have decided to set a higher bar for browsers for Basecamp Next, to include:
- Chrome 7 and later
- Firefox 4 and later
- Safari 4 and later
- Internet Explorer 9 and later
So, the seven percent of Basecamp users that are using the ‘undesirables’ will need to upgrade their browser to be able to make use of Basecamp Next, allowing 37signals to phase out support for the older browsers and focus their development efforts in making Basecamp offer the best interface, functionality and usability that it can. Of course, the classic version of Basecamp will continue to operate and be available to those users that simply can’t upgrade their browser.
More on Basecamp
Basecamp is an online project management application that is delivered as a subscription based, on demand, service to help project teams work in a collaborative and centralized way. With functionality covering task and milestone management, reporting, resource allocation, centralized document storage, writeboards, to name but a few, Basecamp offers a complete solution for both large and small organizations and is well worth sampling through its free trial.