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Firefox On the Brink? – Slashdot



An anonymous reader shares a report: A somewhat obscure guideline for developers of U.S. government websites may be about to accelerate the long, sad decline of Mozilla’s Firefox browser. There already are plenty of large entities, both public and private, whose websites lack proper support for Firefox; and that will get only worse in the near future, because the ‘fox’s auburn paws are perilously close to the lip of the proverbial slippery slope. The U.S. Web Design System (USWDS) provides a comprehensive set of standards which guide those who build the U.S. government’s many websites. Its documentation for developers borrows a “2% rule” from its British counterpart: “… we officially support any browser above 2% usage as observed by” (Firefox’s market share was 2.2%, per the traffic for the previous ninety days.)

[…] “So what?” you may wonder. “That’s just for web developers in the U.S. government. It doesn’t affect any other web devs.” Actually, it very well could. Here’s how I envision the dominoes falling:

1. Once Firefox slips below the 2% threshold in the government’s visitor analytics, USWDS tells government web devs they don’t have to support Firefox anymore.
2. When that word gets out, it spreads quickly to not only the front-end dev community but also the corporate IT departments for whom some web devs work. Many corporations do a lot of business with the government and, thus, whatever the government does from an IT standpoint is going to influence what corporations do.
3. Corporations see this change as an opportunity to lower dev costs and delivery times, in that it provides an excuse to remove some testing (and, in rare cases, specific coding) from their development workflow.

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