Mozilla quietly announced the sudden end of support and updates for Firefox 4. Firefox 5 looks good and should be a great upgrade for lots of users. Except anyone that needs the old version. Like business customers. What about those who ‘just’ moved to the new version? Or those who have been planning a move for some time?
I spent nearly ten years going around the world talking about the browser market and helping business customers adopt new versions of Internet Explorer. Part of my presentation focused on the multi-year browser support offered by Microsoft, and it’s a big reason enterprise customers use their browser. It’s important to know the technology choice you made won’t go away too fast when making a ‘big bet’ on software used every day and exposed to routine threats from the Internet. Everyone likes knowing there is a group standing behind a product in the event you need help. People love getting a warranty … it makes them feel, well, supported. Best Buy made a business along these lines to help guard against you picking a technology that’s no longer what you want to have.
Supporting old web browsers is hard and expensive. Threats evolve and old application paradigms just weren’t meant for today’s Internet. Most of the time, the updates to older browsers are security updates, not new feature releases. When browser vendors want to adopt new innovations or new features, it’s just more logical to release a new version. I see where Mozilla is trying to go, and think they are doing the right thing for their product.
The problem is that they are not matching the pace of change in business customers. Asa Dotzler was pretty clear that Mozilla isn’t focused on enterprise customers – even if enterprises want to use Firefox. Part of the reason I started Browsium was because I believe there is a great deal of ‘whitespace’ in the browser market to control and manage browsers in ways that aren’t practical for the vendors to build themselves or don’t line up with internal objectives. What we’re doing with UniBrows is a perfect example of how we are positioned to help both sides win here.
We’re seeing an increasing number of business customers using Firefox (not always their primary browser, but at least available on the corporate desktop image). Posts like this one make it clear that more and more business customers are looking to adopt Firefox. I’d like to tell John, and others like him, that we’re here to help with their quagmire. We can give you the confidence you need to plan and adopt browser technology on your schedule, and not worry about compromising security while you’re at it.
Our Web Application Continuity approach is built around containment. Using this approach we’re able to help customers safely isolate legacy browser code while adopting the latest technology. While UniBrows is focused on Internet Explorer today, we have plans to use our patent pending technology with Firefox and Chrome.
The Browsium team is actively working on our 2nd generation technology to better support additional browser engines and browsers. I would invite anyone stuck in the ‘deployment dilemma’ to download and evaluate UniBrows to see how we can help you take control of browsers in your environment.
The first thing an up-and-coming product manager learns is the art of the great demo. Whether it’s delivered one-on-one with a single customer or on www in a huge keynote, nothing communicates a product’s value proposition better than a great demo.
At Browsium we deliver demos to customers virtually every day, quite often remotely using online meeting software. Showing a customer a web application that’s broken in IE8, and then fixing it by setting a simple UniBrows Rule to use the IE6 engine inside IE8, has an amazing impact. By doing these remotely, we can reach out and touch customers all over the world multiple times each day.
We’d love to meet with every customer who has IE6-dependent applications, but there are millions of you. (If you thought you were the only one stuck on IE6, trust us, you’re are NOT ALONE.) To help you see what UniBrows can do for you, we’ve begun recording demo videos so you can see the product in action today. Hop over to our Demos and Resources page and check out the first two installments in our demo video series — Creating your first rule with UniBrows and Running multiple versions of Java side-by-side. We’re already working on the next set, so check back often to see what’s new.
If you have questions about our products, or suggestions for other videos you’d like to see, leave a comment here or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll get right back to you.
We received a phone call today from a software vendor (we’ll call them Vendor X) who sells a new online application to enterprises. Like many modern web applications, Vendor X’s software is written for modern browsers and doesn’t work at all in IE6. Vendor X has a client who is evaluating UniBrows so they can upgrade their Windows XP PCs to IE8 to access this new application while maintaining compatibility with their legacy IE6-dependent line-of-business applications. Vendor X wanted to be sure that running the IE6 engine inside IE8, next to a tab running Vendor X’s web app, would not cause any issues. Hence the phone call.
Of course the answer is that it will work just fine. That’s because UniBrows uses process isolation to keep each tab from stepping on any other tab. So the IE6 engine can run side-by-side with the IE8 engine. Similarly, Java 1.4 (or any other version) can run side-by-side with Java 1.6, and Flash 9 can run side-by-side with Flash 10. We talked a bit about this a few posts ago when we wrote about IE6 containment and eradication.
This story is one more example of a growing trend — modern web applications have stopped supporting IE6 and that puts enterprises between a rock and a hard place. Vendor X joins the likes of Google, 37signals, and even Microsoft (SharePoint 2010) in building web software that does not function in IE6. Web developers love this as it saves them time and money when building new sites. But IT professionals tear their hair out because they are truly stuck. How do they keep their legacy IE6-dependent apps running and deploy these new web applications at the same time, in a single browser? There really is only one way – UniBrows.