Browser Caging

“Your browser is unsupported” has become a modern-day stigma to label the non-conformists.

I’ve been a happy Maxthon browser user for probably more than ten years from when it was just a nice-looking Internet Explorer shell to when it is a browser in itself packing a lot of powerful features. But despite millions of users, Maxthon has never managed to get recognition some of its rivals are slowly getting. I might have gone to try and move to another browser experience, even one from the major league, if not for the unique Maxthon feature of dragging a link to be opened in a separate tab (instead of a clicking through the menu hassle). So, for now, I am still sticking to Maxthon.

However, sometimes it is difficult to remain loyal because a number of websites and web-services might throw a your-browser-is-not-supported line at you without even giving you a chance to explore them at your own risk in your favourite browser. It is one thing when you open a web page and receive a pop-up notification that you can close and continue browsing happily. It is yet a dramatically different experience when instead of some content you are being slapped in the face with a blank page with familiar Major-5 icons and suggestion to change your browser.

Whether you are on an alternative browser that is being constantly updated or you can change the User Agent notice to make your browser pretend that it is one of the supported ones doesn’t help. What is even more disconcerting and infuriating is that the same web page opens perfectly well in an old (to say the least) version of a supported browser on another computer. This leads to the conclusion that such picky services and pages do not really care about their user experience but keep up appearances of sticking to the bullies.

I certainly understand that web-services do all sorts of coding and programming to work primarily on major browsers. But I see no reason whatsoever for them to deny or restrict access via alternative browsers. Aren’t all browsers using one of the two or three rendering engines anyway?

Why should people be packed into five cages when there is a choice? Indeed, we aren’t being made to choose between only five brands of cars or smartphones. After all, dozens of various car models use the same engines and dozens of smartphones run on just three operating systems. Though, OSs is a bad example since a lot of services simply do not offer dedicated apps for all of them.

Back to the browsers. The user in me sometimes cringes and sighs “It is time to move on to one of the Major-5”. But then the non-conformist in me screams “Screw the sites and services that screw you by screwing your browser!”



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